Anyone in New Jersey who has shopped for a new car, truck or sport utility vehicle in the last several years knows how many advanced safety features vehicle manufacturers are developing. As these features become more standard in modern vehicles, one would assume that people would be safer. Some features aim to prevent accidents while other features aim to reduce the impact of an accident should it happen. Unfortunately, it seems that the features designed to help pedestrians are not working.
A report by The Verge indicates that 2018 saw a jump in pedestrian deaths from the prior year across the United States by 3.4%. That increase came at a time when overall vehicular fatalities declined in the same period by 2.4%. The number of people on foot killed in 2018 was the highest in nearly 30 years.
According to CNBC, the preference so many American consumers have with bigger vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks may well contribute to the problems facing pedestrians today. If a pedestrian is hit by a standard passenger sedan, the impact tends to be focused in the legs or hips. If a pedestrian is hit by an SUV, however, the impact is more likely to center on the torso where the heart and other vital organs are. The impact may also be directed at a person’s head depending on their height and the height of the vehicle. Being hit in the torso or head can be far more severe than being hit in the knees.
A study by AAA evaluated vehicles with both automatic braking and pedestrian detection features, only to find that in the majority of cases the cars still hit the pedestrian dummies.