Automatic Emergency Braking: Recent Tests Reveal Major Issues

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2019 | Car Accidents, Defective Products |

Each year, almost 6,000 people who lose their lives in traffic accidents are pedestrians, and that number—roughly 16%—has been on the rise since 2010. AAA’s new research regarding automatic emergency braking systems suggests that the machines we have been told to trust may be contributing to this problem.

Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations, explains that “current systems are far from perfect and still require an engaged driver behind the wheel.” The research demonstrated an inconsistency in the systems’ abilities to detect pedestrians. In the dark, they are entirely ineffective, which is particularly concerning because most pedestrian deaths occur at night. According to AAA’s research, vehicle speed also significantly impacts the braking systems’ performance.

These are the simulated scenarios and results:

  • An adult crossing in front of a vehicle traveling at 20mph
    • Collision occurred 60% of the time
  • A child running out in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph
    • Collision occurred 89% of the time
  • An adult crossing while a vehicle turns right onto an adjacent road
    • Collision occurred 100% of the time
  • Two adults standing while a vehicle approaches at 20 mph
    • Collision occurred 80% of the time
  • An adult crossing in front of a vehicle traveling at 25 mph at night
    • Collision occurred 100% of the time

When the vehicle traveled 10 mph faster, most systems were completely ineffective in all scenarios. This is an alarming discovery because pedestrians are at greater risk of serious injury or death at higher vehicle speeds. At 30mph, for instance, a vehicle is more than twice as likely to seriously injure or kill a pedestrian than at 20mph. Recent articles such as one written by the Wall Street Journal suggests that much more testing needs to be done until these pedestrian safety features are ready.

Ultimately, advanced vehicle technology is designed to lessen the likelihood of an accident—but while these issues persist, drivers should not rely on automatic braking systems completely. While the manufacturers’ goal is, of course, to improve the braking systems’ functionality and consistency, awareness of these risks is vital for the safety of drivers and pedestrians alike.

AAA recommends the following for drivers today:

  • Always stay fully engaged. The detection technology is meant solely as a backup.
  • Read the owner’s manual. Understanding how the system works will help you determine what will and will not trigger the automatic braking.
  • Exercise greater caution at night. Even with new headlights, pedestrian detection systems almost always fail.

Were You Injured Even Though a Driver (and Their Vehicle) Should Have Seen You?

At Pratt Clay, our lawyers have decades of experience representing victims of catastrophic accidents. Whether the cause of the accident was faulty technology, an unaware or even intoxicated driver, or any other negligent party, our law firm is ready to fight for your rights. With proper compensation, you will be better equipped to cover the costs of your treatment and recovery. Our goal is for you to rebuild your life as soon as possible.

Call Pratt Clay at 404-566-9460 or get in touch with us online. We are fully prepared to begin working on your case as soon as possible.