People in North Carolina who value their safety and the safety of others while on the road as a motorist, passenger or pedestrian can benefit by understanding how emerging technologies may be helping everyone be safer. 

Many new vehicles today offer advanced safety features like pedestrian detection systems and automatic braking systems. Sadly, these features do not always succeed in preventing pedestrian accidents. 

AAA study finds disturbing results 

According to Consumer Reports, a study conducted by AAA found that technology systems designed to prevent or reduce the impact of pedestrian crashes fail to do so more often than note. In dark conditions, when three out of four pedestrian fatalities occur, AAA rated the vehicles equipped with pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems as completely ineffective. 

The best results in the study involved an adult pedestrian dummy passing through a crosswalk in front of a test vehicle in broad daylight. The test vehicle ran at a mere 20 miles per hour yet still hit the pedestrian dummy six out of 10 times. 

North Carolina’s increasing pedestrian dangers 

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that pedestrians in North Carolina experience growing risks on area roads. In 2009, foot traffic accounted for just over 11% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities. In 2018, pedestrians represented almost 16% of all accident deaths. 

In 2009, the state recorded 149 pedestrian fatalities. That increased every year for the subsequent three years, reaching 200 pedestrian deaths in 2016. In 2017, only two fewer pedestrians died, but then 2018 saw the loss of 225 people on foot.