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Legal Review: New Pedestrian Safety Feature in Cars Fails in Deadly Situation

By Personal Injury Attorney Tyson Mutrux of Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers

Automatic braking systems are not living up to their name, according to a report by AAA.

Where pedestrian traffic deaths have continued to increase since 2010, the need for properly functioning automatic pedestrian-safety features is apparent. Fortunately for drivers and pedestrians, research and studies conducted by companies like AAA help shed light on the rapidly-growing driver assistance technology industry — and where improvements need to take place.

Previously, AAA research found that the faster a car is traveling, the more likely it is for pedestrians to experience severe injuries or death. Most recently, in a study by AAA and the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, four midsize sedans were tested in four closed-circuit scenarios. Again, speed played a role in the performance of the automatic braking systems.

Where the tested vehicles were traveling at 30 mph, the automatic braking system, in general, proved ineffective each time. Following a right-hand turn, all the vehicles collided with the simulated adult pedestrian. And, where the vehicles were tested at nighttime, the systems failed completely.

With such shaky performance results, there is no question a call for more testing is appropriate. Additionally, it appears that a driver’s reliance on the functionality of automatic braking systems is ill-placed.

Unfortunately, it seems that pedestrian accidents will continue to occur, although hopefully with a lessening degree, as automatic safety features continue to improve. When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, questions arise as to who is responsible for the accident — was it the vehicle’s driver, the manufacturer of the vehicle, the developer of the safety feature technology or the pedestrian?

Depending on the situation, liability may lie with all of the above. A pedestrian not abiding by their duties may find themselves at fault for the accident. A defective safety feature may result in the technology developer or the vehicle manufacturer being liable. Negligent conduct, such as driving too fast for conditions, may result in the driver being liable.

As the number of pedestrian accidents continues to climb, time is of the essence for technological advancements to prove reliable. However, practicing driver and pedestrian safety can never be replaced.

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