AAA: high-tech braking systems in new cars not very effective

Regular readers of our St. Louis personal injury blog might well recall a post we published about a month ago about a study that showed that high-tech safety features were helping drivers of new cars to avoid crashes, collisions and traffic accidents. We wrote that the research “shows that safety tech such as automatic emergency braking is doing exactly as it was designed to do: reduce motor vehicle crashes and keep drivers, passengers and pedestrians safer.”

However, even newer research from AAA states that pedestrian-detection systems on new vehicles are going little to protect the pedestrians they detect. The data indicates that pedestrian accidents were avoided less than half the time on the four tested vehicles.

According to a news report, the pedestrian-detection systems failed in AAA testing to stop pedestrian crashes involving children 89 percent of the time.

Business Insider reports that “automatic braking prevented a collision with an adult less than half of the time” and that collisions involving children were “avoided just 11 percent of the time at 20 mph.”

The nonprofit roadside-assistance organization tested four 2019 models: Toyota Camry, Tesla Model, Honda Accord and Chevrolet Malibu. Researchers drove test sedans at pedestrian-sized dummies moving across a closed street. Brakes were not applied by researchers until the vehicles made contact with the fake pedestrians.

Researchers said the safety features were even less reliable in low-light conditions.

AAA’s report did state that “each test vehicle provided visual notification of an impending collision during each test run conducted at 20 mph.” The vehicles were able to reduce impact on the dummies by lowering vehicle speed by about 6 mph before impact.

That good news disappeared when the vehicles were driven round corners, however. None of the test vehicles reduced speed or minimized impact in those conditions, AAA said.

The bottom line, according to the researchers is that drivers should “never rely on pedestrian detection systems to avoid a collision.” The systems are only useful as back-ups, not the primary means of avoiding pedestrian crashes.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in a pedestrian accident, contact a St. Louis attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.