The Biden administration is requiring that all new cars and trucks come with vehicles and pedestrian-collision avoidance systems that include automatic emergency braking technology by the end of the decade.

This is nothing short of a revolution for pedestrians and we all welcome this announcement . However do not expect fatalities # to plummet immediately. The Transportation Department projects the rule could save 360 lives a year out of more than 40,000 people who die on U.S. road and prevent 24,000 injuries.

First the technology has to improve: according to an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety test of 2023 model year vehicles, just 11 percent of pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems “fully avoided the pedestrian mannequin in every test condition” 

Second, in a bizarre twist, the system does not need to work at more that 45mph and at less than 6 mph… So if the driver is truly crazy or really slow it is still Ok for them to kill you…

Third, as usual many are excluded : the new AEB rule doesn’t specifically include people who rely on equipment other than a car or truck to get around — including people on bikes, scooters, motorcycles, wheelchairs, and other assistive devices like walkers or canes, large trucks and heavy electric vehicles over 10,000 pounds …

So we have ways to go, but everyone acknowledges it is a very valuable first step. The urgency seems very much driven not only by the epidemic of pedestrians dying on the streets , but also by the specter of a different administration next year.

Read more from Kea Wilson

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