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Researchers find troubling flaw with automatic braking systems

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2022 | Car Accidents

Technological advancements in automobiles are supposed to make the roads safer. In Virginia and throughout the nation, the statistics are suggesting that despite new vehicles with advanced safety technology installed, the fatality rates are on the rise. Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable members of society and the problems with the new safety features are impacting them greatly.

The most recent numbers show that nearly 7,500 pedestrians died in 2021. This is the worst total in 4 decades. Automatic brakes were meant to reduce that number. Unfortunately, they do not always work. When there is an auto accident and people are injured or lose a loved one, knowing why it happened is crucial. If there was an issue with Automatic Emergency Braking technology, the public should be aware because it could be a key part of deciding how to proceed with a legal claim.

Automatic Emergency Brakes (AEBs) were found to lose effectiveness at night

AEBs were the subject of a recent report from an investigative news team. Crash test dummies were used to gauge how well AEB systems worked at night. This was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). IIHS has its test lab in Virginia. While the objective of AEBs is to stop automatically before crashing, it had its problems with pedestrians after dark.

The speeds were limited to between 12 and 25 mph. Two trucks were used in one part of the study. In one instance, the truck did not stop at all and collided with the dummy. In its best showing, it stopped right before a crash with the dummy. The lack of consistency with the AEBs can be problematic for drivers who are expecting to have enhanced safety features. It is certainly a negative for pedestrians as they cross at night—a time when they are exceedingly vulnerable anyway.

According to IIHS, daytime hours were far better for AEBs than at night. There was a 32% reduction in the chance of a crash during the day. Where there was no light, the AEBs made no difference whatsoever in helping pedestrians remain safe. IIHS is trying to get carmakers to work on the technology’s flaws. Since this is such a relatively new development, it may take time to get it to work consistently.

Experts are forming theories as to why there is such a disparity between the systems working well in the day vs. at night. Headlights were mentioned as a possible reason. Since there is not a baseline requirement for AEBs and other safety features, it is still a great deal of trial and error, fixing problems as they arise. Unfortunately, some of those problems may include an automobile hitting a person because that driver was not paying attention.

Experienced and caring advice can help after a motor vehicle accident

People should not fear for their lives when they go for a walk or jog at night. Many might have been confident that the safety features in new automobiles would help them even if drivers fail to see them crossing. This research concludes the opposite and gives a warning that they are not as safe as they thought they were.

After an accident, there can be catastrophic injuries that are costly in every conceivable way. Medical expenses will be enormous, there may be trouble returning to work, caring for a family can be hindered and the long-term repercussions are extensive. When there is a fatality, these challenges are exponentially worse for the family left behind.

Considering all available options includes having experienced and professional help that understands the community and wants to provide quality service and a good outcome. Calling for advice after motor vehicle accidents is a first step toward holding the driver and the car company accountable and recovering compensation.