Pedestrian deaths are the highest they've been in three decades
In a world where cars are becoming safer than ever before, they are also being packed with a bunch of features that can cause drivers to become distracted. Bearing in mind that trucks and SUVs are more popular sedans, and this is turning into quite the recipe for disaster.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation, pedestrian deaths reach their highest number in three decades, with 6,283 people losing their lives. That is a staggering number of fatalities, but when you take into account the kinds of vehicles we're driving nowadays, it starts to make a lot of sense.
NHTSA is saying that cell phones are to blame for this issue, but automakers are also incorporating complex menu systems into their infotainment systems that can be very distracting to drivers. With luxury automakers moving buttons and switches into these screens, it makes features more difficult to access instead of the familiar feel of a button or switch. Add on the ridiculous features, like GM's Marketplace, and its no surprise that technology is at the center of this issue.
Today's latest safety features are also not the best when it comes to avoiding accidents in general. In Tempe, Arizona a woman was killed when a Volvo XC90 that was equipped with Uber's self-driving system failed to identify the woman as she crossed the road, but the latest development with this story was that the system was not programmed to detect jaywalkers.
When this accident occurred, I referred to it in my seminars as "The Perfect Storm", because this accident was a major issue for the developers of this type of technology. It's not that the system failed to avoid the accident, the system didn't know that an accident was going to occur at all.
So how do we make our vehicles safer? Do we start incorporating airbags that deploy on the outside of the car like Volvo did with the V40? Maybe. Electric cars have already been made safer with the noisemakers that have been equipped during low speed driving. As for the ever-growing number of SUVs? That's a difficult issue, because of how high these vehicles are off the ground, it is difficult to figure out how to make a crash safer for the pedestrians.
Automakers would have you believe that their safety features are the best of the best, but it doesn't take much effort to type "self driving car fails" into YouTube and watch the following video.
There's a lot of finger-pointing, but the main focus is that, despite cars being the safest they've ever been for the drivers, pedestrians are at more of a risk than ever before, with technology distracting pedestrians and drivers alike. Just because self-driving technology exists, doesn't that a vehicle is always going to operate without issues. Stay safe out there everyone, whether you're on the roads, or off of them.
How do you think we can make cars safer for pedestrians? Comment Below!