Accidents on the rise despite automatic braking technology: USDOT

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The U.S. Department of Transportation said it is seeing a growing trend of pedestrian and vehicle accidents across the country, even though many newer car models now come with technology that can help prevent a pedestrian crash.

It’s called Automatic Emergency Braking and it kicks in when the driver doesn’t react quickly enough. But new tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety say much of that technology is in serious need of improvement when driving in the dark.

“A lot of these systems are camera-based, so they won’t work as well at night,” IIHS President David Harkey said.

Some vehicles that have radar-based systems that work well both day and night.

The Institute tested 23 midsize cars, SUVs and trucks, and more than half of them ended up with a basic credit score or no credit score.

They have a lot of work to do to catch up to the point where they can be in the higher categories of advanced or higher,” Harkey said.

That braking technology is important because we’re seeing a sharp increase in pedestrian crashes.

Last year in the triangle, CBS 17 reported many fatal pedestrian collisions at night.

It is a national problem.

The US Department of Transportation estimates that 7,342 pedestrians were killed in 2021 and three-quarters of those deaths occurred at night. That’s an 80 percent increase from 2009.

The institute said some vehicles like the Ford Mustang, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Camry and Highlander had superior emergency braking ratings both day and night.

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The IIHS said vehicles that failed overnight can be easily repaired.

“Most (automakers) are confident that they can accomplish what they need for our nightly tests simply by opening the aperture on the camera system,” Harkey said.

The institute said it will start adding automatic emergency braking system results with its 2023 Top Safety Pick awards, so automakers have some time to improve their night-time systems.

Here is the full list of rankings:





  • chevrolet malibu
  • Honda Pilot
  • nissan altima
  • toyota tacoma

*Vehicles with radar-only systems. The ratings for these vehicles were calculated based on their performance in the daylight evaluation.

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