Over the past few years, especially with the increasing use of cellphones to text, email and talk by drivers of moving cars, Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky has seen a drastic rise in the number of pedestrians who are struck by cars and seriously injured. This rise in pedestrian accidents throughout Florida, including Miami and Plantation, shows the immediate need for technological advances in vehicle systems which can save drivers from their own carelessness, and in turn save innocent pedestrians.
While nearly eighty percent of all vehicles sold in American over the past year have come equipped with some type of installed accident avoidance or notification systems, such as lane departure alarms and automatic braking on highway systems, that technology is really only designed to protect vehicle occupants from being injured in a car accident. Current systems are woefully inadequate at providing similar accident avoidance technology when it comes to pedestrians and bicycle riders. Thankfully, manufacturers are finally taking steps to equip cars and trucks with pedestrian accident avoidance systems too.
Although not yet in use in the United States, in Europe, where government regulation is more strict, certain manufacturers are already placing systems which can detect and brake for pedestrians and bike riders who a vehicle senses within 20 yards of a vehicle. The systems claim to be able to enact emergency car accident avoidance in less time than a human can blink his eyes.
Also, automakers are studying how to integrate vehicle safety systems with roadside equipment, such as cross-walk signs. The hope is that the signs will be able to emit signals notifying nearby vehicles of pedestrians being present, even in locations where a vehicle’s systems are unable to see. This interaction between moving and static systems will have an ability to map intersections in real-time to help vehicle notify vehicle and drivers of potential dangers. However, these type of systems will take decades to be able to work properly, as all vehicles and local municipalities will need be equipped with the necessary equipment.
Another area where advancements are being pursued is in making vehicle headlights brighter and more effective. Primarily due to antiquated regulations, vehicle manufacturers have not taken needed advances to install headlights which better control the direction of vehicle light beams so as to reduce glare and help motorists. Considering nearly 75% of pedestrian wrongful death happen in the evening, the need for advancements in vehicle headlights is needed sooner rather than later. While pedestrians are educated to wear light reflective clothing while walking at night to be more conspicuous, cars need better equipment to help drivers avoid pedestrians.
And while so-called autonomous driving vehicles are receiving significant publicity, recent car accidents involving self-driving cars in which pedestrians have been struck and killed shows the deadly limitations of these systems, and the need for greater oversight of the companies which are in a race to be the first to sell such vehicles to consumers. We as Miami personal injury law firm hope that the manufacturers and regulators place pedestrian safety above a rush to be the first to put fully self-driving vehicles on our roadways.