Pedestrians must always exercise a high degree of caution when navigating streets and parking lots to avoid getting hit by a vehicle. The inherent lack of protection around a pedestrian does put them at a disadvantage in these situations.

Today, many vehicle manufacturers incorporate technologies in their new models designed to prevent pedestrian accidents or reduce the impact of accidents should they occur. Some data and tests, however, show that these efforts have a long way to go to be successful.

Pedestrian fatalities in Ohio

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that pedestrians accounted for just over 8% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities in 2014. That jumped to almost 12% in 2018. The realities in Butler County paint an even more tragic picture. There, foot traffic represented less than 7% of all people killed in auto accidents in 2014. In sharp contrast, pedestrian fatalities accounted for a whopping 23% of the county’s vehicular deaths in 2018.

Vehicle technology fails in AAA study

The Verge reported on the outcomes of a AAA study that evaluated vehicles equipped with pedestrian detection systems and automatic braking systems. Test vehicles operating at 20 miles per hour in daylight conditions still hit adult-sized pedestrian dummies in six out of ten test scenarios. Tests using child-sized pedestrian dummies resulted in impacts nearly nine out of 10 times.

Additional tests conducted in dark conditions returned such poor results that AAA deemed the pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems to be completely ineffective. Despite good intentions, it seems that auto makers must refine their technologies to truly keep people safe.