Back to Top

Pedestrian Safety Through Vehicle Design

According to the World Health Organization, more than 270,000 pedestrians are killed on roads each year. Florida, in particular, has one of the highest rates of pedestrian death. While there are a few things we can do as pedestrians to promote our own safety, we are ultimately not in control of the vehicles around us. To account for driver error, many vehicle manufacturers are developing new and innovative ways to make the cars they put on the road safer, specifically for accidents involving pedestrians.

Redesigns

Naturally, manufacturers started by eliminating the most obvious hazards. Most pedestrians are hit by the front of a vehicle, so protruding hood ornaments, like the one found on a Jaguar, were the first to be reevaluated. Now, hood ornaments are safely embedded in the grill of the vehicle or designed to be fully collapsible on impact. Even exterior mirrors are now mounted on springs or able to fold upon impact. More recently, bumpers and windshields were redesigned to be “softer,” meaning they can absorb energy without affecting the structural integrity of the car. Instead of sending a pedestrian flying into the air, the front of a car will collapse, absorbing the brunt of the impact. To minimize head and lower-limb trauma, the most common injuries in a pedestrian accident, some vehicles even have foam and plastic “bonnets” that will deploy when a collision with a pedestrian is sensed. In addition to crash test ratings, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety now provides ratings for pedestrian crash prevention. Honda, Subaru, Toyota, and Volvo currently hold the highest ratings.

Research

The goal of protecting pedestrians from cars while also protecting the car’s occupants from other vehicles is not an easy one. Still, experts in the automotive and medical field continue their search for solutions and engage in extensive study of vehicle-pedestrian collisions. Honda is a leader in this field and has developed a special dummy, called POLAR-II, that is the only one of its kind that can measure pedestrian impact. While its safety claims are questionable, Tesla has developed an “Autopilot” feature that senses and attempts to avoid crashes of all types. In the future, we can expect new technologies to play a large part in pedestrian safety.

Safety Not Guaranteed

No matter how many redesigns and how much research automakers and experts pursue, car-pedestrian accidents will still be dangerous. While being surrounded by safer cars and using pedestrian safety strategies can reduce your chance of injury, that risk is not eliminated.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, our attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon, & Beason, P.A. are here to help. We have extensive experience handling complex personal injury cases and are dedicated to helping you move forward. Call us at (941) 960-7225 and schedule your free initial consultation today!

Categories