Thousands of pedestrians lose their lives and tens of thousands are injured in pedestrian accidents every year. In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes and about 70,000 suffered injuries on our nation’s roads, according to the recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
While automakers have improved vehicles over the past two decades to help reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries, redesigning the bumper, hood, windshield, and pillars to be more flexible in the event of a pedestrian crash can only do so much when it comes to pedestrian safety. This is why Volvo and other automakers have developed pedestrian collision mitigation systems that help detect pedestrians in front of moving motor vehicles.
The Benefits of Pedestrian Detection Systems
The system warns the driver with an audible sound and red light, and if the driver doesn’t apply the brakes or react, the system will brake automatically. Although the system might not be able to completely avoid all impacts with pedestrians due to a vehicle’s speed, reducing the speed upon impact will in turn reduce the severity of a pedestrian’s injuries. This is great news since pedestrian injuries and fatalities in the U.S. have been increasing dramatically, perhaps due to driver and pedestrian distractions and/or driver and pedestrian impairment (as we discuss elsewhere.)
The Future of Pedestrian Safety
Other automakers (including Toyota, Ford, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz) have since unveiled similar pedestrian detection systems. Although the technology is new and there are some limitations to the system, vehicles that are equipped with pedestrian detection systems should do a lot to help reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries. In fact, Volvo estimates this new safety feature could reduce pedestrian fatalities in frontal crashes by 24%, if the technology was adopted universally.
In addition to Volvo’s study, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center conducted a study to determine the effectiveness of pedestrian crash avoidance systems. Researchers found that this new technology can reduce up to 5,000 vehicle-pedestrian accidents and 810 fatal vehicle-pedestrian crashes per year.
However, because this new technology isn’t likely to be standard in the near future—as it is currently an optional feature—we urge people to consider this safety feature when shopping for a new car, as it can help save lives. Please share this blog on your favorite social media site to let others in your circle know about the benefits of pedestrian detections systems.