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Is smart technology really keeping pedestrians safe?

| Oct 18, 2019 | Car Accidents

Most car makers are adding more smart technologies to our cars to help make them safer for everyone on the road.

The ultimate goal of these technologies, such as automatic emergency braking technology (AEB), is to reduce fatal traffic accidents. However, like all new technology, there are some glitches and improvements that must be made for it to be truly effective. And according to a new study, some of these ineffective glitches are placing pedestrians at the highest risk of an accident.

Many vehicles are not “seeing” pedestrians

A recent study conducted by AAA found that smart detection systems and AEB technologies have quite a ways to go before they are truly effective. 

These technologies are supposed to detect other vehicles and pedestrians and alert the driver if they do not see the hazard for themselves. Or, they stop the car if the driver does not react in time. Most of the vehicles can “see” other cars, but the study determined that these vehicles rarely “see” most pedestrians, especially when:

  • Pedestrians cross the street at night
  • Pedestrians walking on poorly lit roads
  • Children dart out into the road
  • Pedestrians cross after the vehicle makes a right turn

The most worrisome finding in all of the tests was the technology’s ineffectiveness at night. Nighttime is the most dangerous for pedestrians, with nearly 75% of pedestrian fatalities happening at night. And yet, that is when this technology was the least helpful.

Preventing these accidents is not only up to pedestrians

Consumer Reports says the AAA study provides a list of helpful tips that pedestrians can use to stay safe. There is no doubt that these tips are valuable. Pedestrians in Baltimore and around Maryland are more vulnerable in an accident, so they must ensure that they follow all traffic rules and take caution. 

However, drivers also have an increased responsibility to be aware of pedestrians. And they cannot simply rely on smart technologies to be alert for them. Regardless of whether or not a vehicle has these technologies, drivers can make a difference and help keep pedestrians safe by:

  • Always practicing defensive driving-especially at night
  • Slowing down at crosswalks and following traffic signs
  • Avoiding speeding in residential areas and cities
  • Understanding a pedestrian’s right-of-way (Maryland Code, Transportation §21-502)

Hopefully, these technologies will be more effective in the future. But for now, when pedestrians take great care, and drivers do their part to keep pedestrians safer, then together, we can decrease the alarmingly high rate of these accidents and fatalities.

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