New cars may soon come with a new safety rating. This one won’t judge how safe the car is going to keep the motorist in an accident, but how well it can prevent pedestrian accidents. A new report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims that automakers are working on a new technology that can detect the presence of pedestrians while the car is in motion and can react, even if the driver doesn’t, to prevent pedestrian accidents in Chicago and elsewhere in the nation.
The Institute estimates that nearly 1.2 million accidents, including almost 900 fatalities, could be prevented each year if vehicles were already equipped with the preventive technology. Until then, our Chicago personal injury lawyers urge motorists to use extra caution and do your part to prevent pedestrian accidents — especially now that spring is in full swing.
Edmunds.com reports that automakers began responding to the alarming number of pedestrian fatalities years ago by focusing on exterior features. Small modifications that have been made on passenger vehicles with pedestrian safety in mind include embedded hood ornaments, recessed door handles and spring mounted exterior mirrors.
The Institute doesn’t plan on stopping there. Engineers are examining the bumpers on passenger cars. Advocates would like U.S. bumpers to meet the standards of those in Europe and Asia. Those are designed with larger crush space and with different supports for the plastic bumper cover in order to reduce leg injury. Other, high-tech features are also in development: If your car had the ability to detect a pedestrian and react before you did, there would be less of a need for these cushioned bumpers anyway.
“Understanding [vehicle-pedestrian collisions] is very complex. Every time we do a study, we learn 10 other side things we never expected. Those things in turn raise even more questions, requiring more research,” said Douglas Longhitano, a senior engineer at Honda R&D Americas, Inc.
Until passenger vehicles and pedestrians can safely occupy the same roadways without physical interaction, it is up to individuals to keep safety as a priority. By staying aware, and practicing safe driving habits, Illinois motorists could have saved some of the 900 lives lost in 2009 because of motor-vehicle accidents.
If you or a love one has been injured in a traffic collision, contact the Chicago accident lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free case evaluation. Call (602) 819-5191 and speak to an attorney today.