IIHS Study Recommends Pedestrian Detection Systems

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyers, who have strongly promoted greater use of technology to prevent pedestrian accidents, will be pleased by a new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  The study looks at how the use of technological aids, including forward collision warning systems that include pedestrian detection, can help prevent pedestrian accident fatalities. 

The Insurance Institute researched the most common kinds of pedestrian accidents, in an effort to understand what kinds of technologies would help prevent these accidents.  Research showed that the most common kinds of accidents occurred when a person was crossing the road and a car was coming straight ahead.  In these cases, there was nothing blocking the driver's view of the pedestrian.  Most of such accidents occurred in the daytime, while the fatal ones were more common at night.  The research pinpoints the accident prevention possibilities from cars that include forward collision warning systems that come with pedestrian detection.

One such system has been introduced by Volvo in its F9 sedan that was introduced in the United States last year.  Although forward collision warning systems have been available on automobiles for a couple of years now, those that come with pedestrian detection systems are fairly new.  Forward collision warning systems can detect an object in the automobile’s path, and alert the driver to the presence of the object, preventing an accident.  Pedestrian detection systems work in the same manner, but alert the driver to the presence of a pedestrian in its path.

However, a pedestrian detection system that warns the driver just when a pedestrian is right in front of the car may not be sufficient to prevent an accident.  The Insurance Institute report studied how countries in the European Union are dealing with this problem.  In the EU, automakers are experimenting with modifying the front of the vehicle so it causes fewer injuries to the pedestrian. 

In the U.S. however, efforts by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to push through similar requirements for automobiles in this country, have failed.  The NHTSA simply decided to stop pushing for such requirements, possibly because of a drop in pedestrian fatalities across the country.  Just because there has been a decline in pedestrian accident fatalities is no reason for the NHTSA to stop focusing on pedestrian safety, especially considering the seriousness of fatalities and debilitating injuries that occur in pedestrian accidents.


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