Insurance Institute Highway Safety testing nighttime safety for pedestrians

Insurance Institute Highway Safety testing nighttime safety for pedestrians
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 1:50 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A number of pedestrian deaths are still occurring nationwide. The Georgia Department of Transportation says so far in 2022 there are 209 reported pedestrian deaths in the state of Georgia alone.

WALB’s Jim Wallace spoke with David Harkey, President of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, to see what they’re doing to help this problem.

Harkey said his group is doing tests that help that, especially at nighttime. The test will look at pedestrian deaths with automatic emergency braking systems.

“So these are tests we are running at nighttime. We’ve been running other tests on these braking systems for a few years now and we are seeing vehicles that perform well,” he said. “They are able to detect pedestrians and either avoid the collision or greatly reduce the speed, reducing the likelihood of injury to the pedestrian.”

Harkey added that the tests are more impactful when done at nighttime.

“These are tests that are being run at nighttime because nighttime is when three-fourths of the pedestrian fatalities are occurring in the nation. That’s when they are happening,” he said.

The future of this kind of technology could help save a lot of lives, according to Harkey.

“We think it’s one part of the solution. One of the things that is really important to understand (is that) automatic emergency braking systems are one piece of technology on a vehicle that can help prevent the rising toll of pedestrian fatalities we see on our roadways,” he said.

While that may be the case, Harkey said other things must be done to improve the pedestrian fatality rate.

“At the same time, we have to continue to do other things. Like, improve vehicle headlights so that drivers can see further down the road, detect pedestrians sooner and be able to avoid crashes with pedestrians or other vulnerable occupants,” he said.

Drivers can also play a huge role in making sure pedestrians are safe in the community.

“We also have to get drivers to understand that they need to slow down. Particularly in areas where there are pedestrians to give themselves more time to act and respond to pedestrians who may do things that are not expected,” he said.

Harkey said pedestrians need to be educated to ensure their own safety.

“And then we also have to do more to educate pedestrians about the importance at nighttime to wear light colored clothing or clothing that has reflective materials,” he said. “They don’t often understand that drivers can not see them at a great distance. So we have to do all these things together at the same time. No single intervention is going to solve our problems.”