California residents should be able to walk through parking lots, in crosswalks, on jogging paths and more without fearing for their lives. Unfortunately, that level of security does not exist today.
In the 10 years from 2009 through 2018, pedestrian deaths increased notably in California and it seems that advancing vehicle technologies have yet to reach a point of being able to help.
Pedestrian death statistics in California
According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 567 pedestrians lost their lives on California roads in 2009. That year, pedestrians represented 18% of all vehicular fatalities statewide. By 2014, pedestrians represented 23% of all accident deaths. That increased in 2015 to 24% and held steady there through 2017 when 940 pedestrians were killed in accidents.
In 2018, the number of pedestrians declined to 893 but the overall number of vehicular deaths declined even further, pushing the percent of pedestrian deaths up to 25T5 of all vehicular fatalities.
AAA study finds serious gaps in vehicle safety features
In evaluating vehicles with automatic braking and pedestrian detection systems, AAA operated test vehicles at 30 miles per hour in clear daylight conditions. Adult-sized pedestrian dummies walked directly in front of the vehicles. Test vehicles hit the dummies in 60% of the test cases.
Nighttime test results yielded even worse outcomes, further highlighting the concerns about pedestrian safety as the majority of pedestrian fatalities result from collisions that happen in dark conditions. The results of these tests were so poor that AAA declared the features touted as improving pedestrian safety to be completely ineffective.