Accidents Rise Despite Automatic Braking Technology: USDOT

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The U.S. Department of Transportation said it is seeing an upward trend in pedestrian and vehicular crashes nationwide, despite many newer car models being now equipped with technology that can help prevent a pedestrian accident.

It’s called automatic emergency braking and it kicks in when the driver doesn’t react fast enough. But new tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicate that much of this technology needs big improvements when driving in the dark.

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

Some vehicles are equipped with radar systems that work well day or night.

The Institute tested 23 midsize cars, SUVs and pickup trucks and more than half of them ended up with a basic credit score or none.

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

This braking technology is important because we are seeing a sharp increase in pedestrian accidents.

Last year in the Triangle, CBS 17 reported numerous fatal collisions involving pedestrians 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% increase since 2009.

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

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

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

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

Here is the full list of rankings:





  • Chevy Malibu
  • Honda driver
  • Nissan Altima
  • Toyota Tacoma

*Vehicles equipped with radar systems only. The ratings for these vehicles were calculated based on their performance when tested in daylight.

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