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Published on Apr 07, 2011 by Edgar Snyder

New Vehicles Include Technology to Protect Pedestrian Safety

crash avoidance technology

Safety features in new vehicles are moving beyond protecting only those inside the car. Automakers are now considering the safety of those on the outside as well, designing systems aimed at reducing pedestrian injuries and deaths.

Over 4,000 people were killed in pedestrian/vehicle accidents in 2009, and 59,000 pedestrians were injured. The growing popularity of hybrids only increases the danger – a study by the University of California Riverside found that hybrids traveling at low speeds must be 40 percent closer to pedestrians than traditional vehicles before they make enough noise to be detected.

A number of different pedestrian safety features are in the works or have already been implemented. Among them are:

  • The first hybrid standard audible pedestrian warning system in the new 2012 Infiniti M35h Hybrid.
  • Features like American Honda's collapsible hood hinges and breakaway windshield wiper pivots intended to reduce severe head injuries, which account for 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
  • Toyota's addition of high-density foam behind plastic bumper covers to reduce leg injuries.
  • Volvo's new pedestrian detection system that combines radar with a camera to help avoid collisions. If someone steps in front of the car, it sends an audible warning to the driver. If the driver doesn't react, the system automatically applies the brakes. According to Volvo, the system can prevent accidents at speeds up to 20 mph and reduce their severity at higher speeds.
"Making vehicles safer for pedestrians." AAA Motorist. March 2011.
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