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Posts Tagged ‘pedestrian fatalities’

U.S. Traffic Fatalities Rise Again

Distracted driving issues offset improved vehicle safety.

by on Oct.09, 2017

Traffic fatalities in the U.S. rose in 2016 compared with 2015 numbers. The second year in a row the number has spiked.

More Americans died on U.S. roadways last year than in 2015 and the numbers hit a nine-year high, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Car accidents claimed the lives of 37,461 people in 2016, up 5.6% from the previous year. The agency pointed to the usual reasons for the fatalities: speeding and failing to wear seat belts. NHTSA also tagged the increase to a 5.1% jump in motorcycle deaths.

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The increase is the second year in a row that deaths have ticked upward. Prior to that, they had decreased six out of seven years between 2007 and 2014. The lowest tally recorded was 32,744 in 2014. The last year in which crash deaths were higher was 2007, when 41,259 were killed. (more…)

New Ford Crash System “May” Spare Pedestrians

Pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise in recent years.

by on Oct.23, 2014

Ford workers prepare a mannequin for testing the maker's new pedestrian alert system.

Ford Motor Co. will launch a new collision warning system that it says “may” prevent the pedestrian crashes that have become a growing problem on U.S. roads.

While overall highway fatalities have been on a sharp decline in recent years, the number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes actually has been on the increase over the last half decade, reaching more than 4,700 annual fatalities, according to federal data — and about one death every two minutes worldwide.

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Ford’s new pedestrian alert technology is part of an upgrade to the collision avoidance system it first introduced in 2009, and will be renamed “pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection.” It will first debut on the 2015 Ford Mondeo about to go on sale in Europe, but Ford plans to expand its use to other models, including those sold in the States – where a version of the Mondeo is sold as the midsize Fusion sedan.


Pedestrian Deaths Up – Experts Want Answers, Solutions

New regulations may follow.

by on Aug.07, 2012

Volvo's auto braking system can detect pedestrians in the road and bring the car to a quick stop.

After years of steady decline there are some disturbing signs that the downward trend in traffic fatalities may be over.  With reports already suggesting vehicle deaths were up for the first part of the year, a new study shows a sharp, 4% increase in pedestrian fatalities, as well.

The upturn in pedestrian deaths came in 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, but it marks the first increase since 2005 – a point at which all motor vehicle-related fatalities began to tumble sharply.

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A total of 4,280 pedestrians were killed in vehicle-related incidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, another 70,000 injured. In 2010, pedestrian deaths accounted for 13% of all traffic fatalities.  That compared with 11% between 2002 and 2007.  That reflects both the increase in pedestrian crashes as well as the decline in overall motor vehicle fatalities.


Wireless Detection System Could Save Pedestrians

GM explores system using new WiFi Direct technology.

by on Jul.26, 2012

A new pedestrian system using WiFi Direct technology is under study by GM.

You begin to make a turn around a downtown corner only to slam on your brakes as a runner jogs into the intersection.  If you’re lucky, everyone is okay – but pedestrian-car collisions account for thousands of fatalities and countless injuries each year.

New technologies are beginning to help, such as backup cameras and radar-based systems like Volvo’s CitySafety. But they can’t help if they can’t see a pedestrian. A new approach under study by General Motors would got a step further, using a technology called WiFi Direct to help spot pedestrians who are out of the line of sight for conventional warning systems.

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“This new wireless capability could warn drivers about pedestrians who might be stepping into the roadway from behind a parked vehicle, or bicyclists who are riding in the car’s blind spot,” said Nady Boules, GM Global R&D director of the Electrical and Control Systems Research Lab.


New Rules Will Require Quiet Battery Cars to Make More Noise

Automakers agree to proposal.

by on May.19, 2010

This Smart Brabus fortwo concept can be made to sound like a V8 or Jetsons-mobile.

Press the Start button on the Toyota Prius and you’re greeted with silence.  If you don’t notice the flashing lights on the instrument panel you might not even realize the hybrid is running until you shift into gear, and even then, about the only thing you’ll notice as you creep forward is the crunch of rubber on the road.

While many drivers like how quiet Prius and other battery-based vehicles operate when in electric vehicle mode, that very silence worries safety advocates, including the National Federation of the Blind.  The problem is that for pedestrians, near-silent vehicles can creep up and take you by deadly surprise.

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That’s led federal safety regulators to put together new rules that, if passed, would give the industry 18 months to set minimum vehicle sound levels.  In turn, the carmakers would have three years to phase in new methods to meet the rules.

How loud a car would need be is unclear, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants the “alert sound” to come on automatically.  And don’t expect to be able to download a ring tone.  The rules would require that manufacturers or dealers set the appropriate alert, not the customer.

With pedestrian collisions accounting for as much as 10% of the annual highway fatalities in the U.S., experts take the issue seriously; indeed, the industry has given the proposal its support.

But there have been some quirky proposals as to how to address the issues.  A prototype Brabus Smart fortwo has a switch that allows a driver to opt for either the sound of a revving V8 or sci-fi bleeps and boops may suitable for the fold-up car from the Jetsons cartoon.

The Senate will hold a hearing on the issue before a final version of the proposal goes up for vote.