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Orlando is America’s Most Dangerous Place for Pedestrians

by on May.23, 2014

Despite recent efforts to improve safety, pedestrian deaths have risen for the past few years.

Disney World may be the “Happiest Place on Earth,” but walking the mean streets of the “Theme Park Capital of the World” may not be such a pleasant experience.

Walking in Orlando is almost akin to being on a theme park ride, but without the safety equipment or procedures, according the latest edition of the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI).

The Last Word!

“We are allowing an epidemic of pedestrian fatalities, brought on by streets designed for speed and not safety, to take nearly 5,000 lives a year; a number that increased six percent between 2011 and 2012,” said Roger Millar, director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. (more…)

New Toyota, Ford Systems Can Steer Clear of Pedestrians

Automakers turn to high-tech solutions to reduce pedestrian injuries.

by on Oct.11, 2013

Toyota and Ford are among the many makers working on systems designed to prevent pedeestrian collisions.

With pedestrian fatalities taking an unexpected rise in recent years, automakers are looking for ways to not only reduce the death toll but quite literally steer clear of pedestrians in the first place.

Both Toyota and Ford this week unveiled new high-tech systems designed to detect when someone might walk in front of a vehicle and take steps to prevent a collision, or at least mitigate the impact.

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The new Toyota Pre-collision System, or PCS, uses onboard sensors to scan the road ahead of the vehicle, issuing an alert if there’s a risk of a collision.  But, the maker says, “If the likelihood of a collision increases, the system issues an audio and visual alarm to encourage the driver to take evasive action, and the increased pre-collision braking force and automatic braking functions are activated.”

Ultimately, if the driver does not react in time, the vehicle will automatically attempt to steer away from the pedestrian.


Feds Want to Turn Up the Volume on Battery Cars

Hybrids and EVs have much higher rate of pedestrian collisions.

by on Jan.08, 2013

Battery cars like the Tesla Model S will soon have to emit noise to warn pedestrians and bicyclists.

Hit the Start button in the new Ford Focus Electric and you might think nothing has happened – not unless you notice the flash of lights and gauges on the instrument panel.  For many buyers, one of the big benefits is the way battery-based vehicles can operate almost silently.

But there are also a number of critics, notably including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who believe there’s a downside to electric propulsion, especially when operating in a crowded urban environment where pedestrians may not here the vehicle coming.

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Now, NHTSA is calling on carmakers to amp up the noise level.  The federal safety agency has proposed a new rule that would require such vehicles operating at speeds under 18 miles per hour make enough noise to be heard by pedestrians, especially those with impaired vision, over the normal din of a city street.


Volvo System Could Curb Road Kill

Next-generation City Safety system may prove kind to animals.

by on Oct.06, 2011

Volvo's City Safety can bring a car to a complete halt to avoid an accident. A variation may be able to spot animals on the road and avoid collisions.

It’s an unpleasant reality on the highway, but the folks at Volvo think they may have a way to cut back on the seemingly ever-present road kill using some of the same high-tech systems that the maker is using to curb inadvertent pedestrian collisions on city streets.

The new animal-friendly system is one way the now Chinese-owned Volvo hopes to build on its traditional reputation as an automotive safety leader.

Volvo has already won kudos for its latest active safety technologies, such as City Safety, which uses an infrared laser sensor attached to the windshield to monitor traffic in front of a vehicle.  At speeds ranging from 2 to 19 mph – typical on crowded urban and in rush hour traffic – the system will detect a potential collision.  If the driver doesn’t react by the time the two cars are 18 feet apart, it will automatically jam on the brakes.

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Another version of the system can detect pedestrians and can take steps to avoid an impact.  Such collisions make up a significant share of the roughly 35,000 Americans killed in roadway accidents each year.

Volvo engineers then began wondering about animals, who are killed in substantially larger numbers as the result of vehicle impacts each year.  And groups like PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, aren’t the only ones bothered by that toll.