In recent years, North Carolina has witnessed a tragic increase in pedestrian fatalities.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, pedestrian deaths in 2018 increased by 12.5% statewide compared to the prior year. The 225 pedestrians who died in 2018 represented more than 9% of North Carolina’s total vehicular fatalities that year.

A steady climb in pedestrian deaths

Data on PedBikeInfo.org shows that 176 pedestrians died on North Carolina roads in 2014 while another 199 experienced disabling injuries. In 2015, 192 pedestrians were killed and the same number experienced disabling injuries. The next year saw 209 pedestrian deaths and 219 pedestrians disabled due to their injuries.

Safety systems fail to keep pedestrians safe

From lane assistance technologies to automatic braking and more, numerous technology-powered features in new vehicles today aim to keep people safe from accidents or mitigate the impact of accidents. One study conducted by AAA found that some of these systems fail more often than they succeed.

The study utilized vehicles equipped with pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems. The best results from the tests were received from scenarios in daylight with good driver visibility and vehicles operating at 30 miles per hour. Pedestrian dummies of normal adult sizes walked in front of the vehicles. Test vehicles hit the dummies in six out of 10 tests.

Test scenarios in dark conditions returned such poor results that AAA declared the safety systems to be completely ineffective. Sadly, the majority of pedestrian deaths occur during night or dark conditions. Other tests with child-sized dummies fared far worse than those with the adult dummies.