Many residents in Georgia with new vehicles purchased in the last few years may believe the advanced technologies in their vehicles provide enhanced safety for themselves, their passengers and others on the road. 

While some vehicle technologies may well improve safety, one AAA study found that pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems fail more than they succeed. 

AAA study findings 

AAA reviewed multiple 2019 vehicles equipped with systems to detect pedestrians and automatically stop vehicles to prevent collisions. According to a report by The Verge, test simulations conducted in dark conditions resulted in pedestrian dummy impacts in virtually every scenario, resulting in AAA’s declaration that the systems were totally ineffective in such conditions. 

Daylight tests conducted with adult pedestrian dummies in a crosswalk and test vehicles driving at 20 miles per hour resulted in pedestrian impacts in 60% of scenarios. 

Georgia’s pedestrian fatality realities 

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that pedestrian fatalities have jumped dramatically in Georgia over the decade spanning 2009 through 2018. In 2009, pedestrians accounted for 11.8% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities as 152 of the 1,292 automotive deaths that year were pedestrians. Fast forward 10 years to 2018 and the state recorded 1,504 total accident deaths, of which 261 were pedestrians. That year’s pedestrian deaths represented 17.4% of all accident fatalities. 

Another factor that highlights the dangers faced by pedestrians is the fact that the state’s total accident deaths actually declined from 2017 to 2018 while the state’s pedestrian deaths continued to climb. In 2017, pedestrians accounted for just over 16% of all people killed in vehicle accidents.