Do Pedestrian Detection Systems Work at Night?

Bowie Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help People Seriously Injured in Pedestrian Accidents.

Pedestrian detection systems in automobiles are becoming more and more common. As every new year comes with new vehicles and new versions of older vehicles, the automobile industry focuses a lot of their time, money, and energy on making our national fleet of vehicles safer. Pedestrian detection systems are designed to detect pedestrians and bicycle riders, especially in lowlight conditions, and provide the driver with an audible or visual warning. The reason for this is the danger that pedestrians face every day from cars and trucks, especially in an area such as Washington DC where pedestrian traffic is high. Drivers in the area must be especially vigilant to avoid having a car accident with a pedestrian.

But do pedestrian detection systems work at night? There was a recent study performed on several of the different types of AEB systems under different traffic accident scenarios. The findings were somewhat shocking to industry experts because it definitively answers the question as to whether AEB systems work at night.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

Every year throughout the greater Washington DC region, there are over 3,000 pedestrian accidents. A pedestrian accident is where a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, who is a person either walking or riding a bicycle. And many of these accidents involved pedestrian fatalities. Over the past few years, owing to the pandemic restrictions, there was more pedestrian traffic and more pedestrian accidents and deaths. This is true in both Washington DC as well as nationally. Nationally, pedestrian fatalities per miles traveled increased by more than 20 percent between 2019 and 2020. Overall, 2020 saw the biggest traffic fatality spike in nearly 100 years.

In 2017, a total of 5,977 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the United States. This is approximately one death every 88 minutes. An estimated 137,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal crash-related injuries in 2017. These numbers have only gone up since 2017. Understandably, most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, at non-intersection locations, and at night. This is because urban areas have a higher percentage of automobiles traveling the roads and highways, especially at night, as compared with rural areas. But there is also a higher concentration of people in a smaller geographical area.

So, it is clear that pedestrian accidents and deaths are a major issue when driving on our roads and highways.

Types of Pedestrian Detection Systems

The systems that help protect pedestrians and avoid other collisions are called automatic emergency braking (AEB). The systems use infrared sensors, radars, cameras, and other devices and sensors to continuously look out for pedestrians and stop the vehicle before impact when the driver fails to do so in time.

Recent Study of the Effectiveness of AEB Systems at Night

A recent study performed by AAA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) looked at four vehicle types that had AEB systems on them. The researchers tested four 2019 model-year sedans, the Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Tesla Model 3, and Toyota Camry, all equipped with AEB and pedestrian detection. The study’s findings were quite alarming.

Ultimately, the AEB systems worked during the various testing scenarios that the vehicles were put through, but the numbers demonstrate that the technology has a long way to go to be effective overall. Here are some of the most alarming findings:

  • With adults crossing the road in daylight with the test vehicle traveling at 20 mph, the pedestrian was struck 60 percent of the time.
  • With children running into traffic from in between two cars, one of the most often scenarios where children are struck by vehicles, with the test vehicle traveling at 20 mph, a collision occurred 89 percent of the time; at 30 mph, none of the test vehicles avoided a collision.
  • When encountering two adults alongside the road with the test vehicle driving at 20 mph, a collision occurred 80 percent of the time.
  • The AEB systems were ineffective when encountering an adult crossing the road at night, where every test involved a pedestrian getting hit.

Therefore, it is clear that even though there is some efficacy of having an AEB system in your vehicle for daytime driving, it is a complete waste of money for nighttime driving. It will not prevent any pedestrian collisions at night when a vehicle approaches an intersection and someone is walking across the road, or when approaching people walking or riding a bicycle on the side of the road.

Obviously, the technology is insufficient at present. The test also was performed on clear days and nights and did not take into effect times where there is inclement weather such as heavy rainfall, snowfall, or fog cover. The question for people setting out to purchase new vehicles is whether it is worth the money to spend extra on vehicles that cost more because of the existence of the AEB systems.

Bowie Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help People Seriously Injured in Pedestrian Accidents

If you have been struck by a car or truck while a pedestrian and seriously injured, reach out to the Bowie car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced and compassionate team will gladly help you get the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.