September 26, 2022

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After the automotive agency AAA conducted a study on four popular models of vehicles, they found that the automatic braking systems on many of them are ineffective. Specifically, the automated pedestrian detection systems that are supposed to keep those on foot safer, simply, do not. 

During the study, AAA put the Chevy Malibu, the Honda Accord, the Tesla Model 3, and the Toyota Camry to the test. All of these models were released in 2019. It was found that in all four vehicles, the pedestrian detection systems largely failed. All of them were rendered by AAA completely ineffective at night, while they also had a challenging time detecting children. 

Even under the best conditions — which were during the day and with the vehicles traveling only 20 miles per hour — these automated systems were only effective 40 percent of the time. When tested using the real-life conditions of a pedestrian crossing the street while a vehicle is turning right, the vehicles struck the pedestrian every time. 

When vehicles increased their speed to 30 miles per hour, the pedestrian detection systems also struck the pedestrians more times than they did not. Even when approaching a child that ran out in front of the vehicles from between two parked cars, the child was still stuck 89 percent of the time even though the vehicles during this phase of the test were still only traveling at 20 miles per hour.

“This recent study just shows how important it is for both motorists and pedestrians to remain diligent at all times when they are on the roads,” says Attorney Larry Nussbaum. “Automated systems may provide a convenient backup that can help keep pedestrians even safer, but drivers must remember they are the first line of defense between their vehicle and other people. Likewise, pedestrians must also remember that they have legal obligations as well, and be sure to live up to those.” 

AAA has stated that they are not trying to take automated systems out of the automotive industry. They are only trying to increase consumers’ awareness about the automatic safety features being included in more vehicles today, and show manufacturers where there is room for improvement. Clearly, the results of this recent study shows that there is a definitive need for both.