Automated braking has mixed results

In 2018, the nation suffered the highest number of pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents in over 30 years. But automated braking systems, which were designed to prevent these and other motor vehicle accidents had a mixed record.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 6,283 pedestrian deaths last year. This is the highest number of fatalities since 1990.

Experts hold many causes responsible for this increase. These include distracted driving, inadequate headlights and urbanization. There was also an increase in the number of sports utility vehicles which are more dangerous to pedestrians than smaller vehicles.

Automated braking systems have been advertised as helping prevent pedestrian collisions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranked most midsize cars as superior or advanced in preventing these accidents because they were able to avoid crashes or substantially slowed down in track tests.

However, the IIHS ranked three models as basic while three receive no credit for these systems. It gave the no credit ranking to the 2019-2020 Ford Fusion, the 2019 Hyundai Sonata and the 2019 Kia Optima. This revealed that drivers must continue to be engaged in driving because AEB systems may not be able to detect a pedestrian or another vehicle.

Driver attention is also required because the IIHS ranked AEB systems on their daytime performance. The AAA issued a separate report on their performance at night and concluded that AEB systems were totally ineffective after dark.

Almost three out of four pedestrian deaths take place at night. But the AAA still recommended that motorists purchase cars with AEB systems because it found that these systems lowered fatalities by 40 percent during daylight hours.

An attorney can advise auto accident victims on their rights and whether there is enough evidence to file a lawsuit for compensation. Their chances of success may be fairly evaluated.

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