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Automakers push to reduce pedestrian deaths and serious injuries

The Garden State has had its fair share of auto vs. pedestrian accidents over the years. In fact, a review of statistics going back to 2004 shows that car accidents involving pedestrians have annually resulted in the deaths of about 150 pedestrians throughout New Jersey since that time. Those numbers are quite alarming when you also consider that fatal pedestrian accidents involving vehicles represent greater than 25 percent of the total traffic fatalities recorded throughout the state.

Fortunately, some automakers are now incorporating recent advances in technology into their vehicles in their efforts to reduce auto-pedestrian accidents. Two carmakers in particular, Ford and Honda, are now rolling out pedestrian detection systems in some of their vehicles. The carmakers are hoping to use cameras and radars to detect potential pedestrian hazards and then signal the cars' braking systems to engage prior to collision.

Other manufacturers also feature similar technology in some of their cars. Lexis, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Volvo have also placed an emphasis on increasing pedestrian safety features within their vehicles.

Ford's system is making its debut this year in a vehicle they call the Ford Mondeo. It features a monocular camera mounted at the top of the windshield and radar set within the vehicle's grille. The sensors allow the vehicle to determine the distance to an object in front of it and decrease the vehicle's overall speed if that distance rapidly decreases. Ideally, the technology would prevent a collision but even simply reducing the vehicle speed prior to a collision could potentially save lives.

New Jersey residents should know that despite these monumental technological advances, the reality is that auto-pedestrian accidents will still be around for many years to come. New Jersey laws allow pedestrian injured by vehicles to sue those responsible for their injuries. Depending on the circumstances, injured pedestrians can recover compensation for medical costs as well as lost salaries due to their inability to work.

Source: Extreme Tech, "Ford and Honda stop collisions before they happen with pedestrian detection" Bill Howard, accessed Mar. 19, 2015

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