Over 6,000 pedestrians lose their lives on freeways annually. Soon, current vehicles will have digital safety systems which can detect pedestrians and apply brakes automatically. Federal regulators in the U.S. are also looking to adopt advanced lighting systems in vehicles to avert tragedies.
Over the past decade, pedestrian fatalities have risen more than 50%. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in United States discovered that digital safety systems are ideal for tackling the problem. The institute has tested 11 different models of SUVs with the new braking system. Four out of these received a “superior” rating, while five were declared as “advanced”. So, the technology to integrate advanced digital systems exists today.
Federal regulators are looking at ways to improve the current lighting system in all vehicles. European cars integrate a technology known as Adaptive Driving Beams, which do not require drivers to switch between low and high beams. This technology masks some portion of the light to avoid blinding pedestrians. However, current regulations in the U.S. do not mandate the use of these lights.
Digital Solutions Alone may not Solve the Problem
The National Transportation Safety Board gathered a group of experts to find a solution to this crisis last September. The experts on the safety panel came with a number of issues plaguing highways in the U.S. These included 11 points in total comprising drug abuse, increased urbanization, and many others.
The safety panel concluded that there is no single universal solution to address all the challenges. The members recommended local authorities to evaluate safety proposals independently before accepting any new solutions.