Liability for Pedestrian Accident if Car Safety Technology Fails

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Nov 18, 2019 in Auto Accident

backup camera with person in backgroundMany newer cars are equipped with safety technology to help drivers avoid pedestrian accidents, including backup cameras and collision avoidance systems that can apply the brakes to avoid an accident. However, if this technology fails to function as intended and a pedestrian gets injured, who may be liable for his or her damages?

The experienced Portland car accident lawyers at Rizk Law are prepared to review the circumstances of your claim and determine if compensation may be available. The consultation is free of charge.

How Reliable are New Car Safety Technologies?

According to the NHTSA, there was a three percent increase in pedestrian deaths from traffic accidents in 2018. The total number of deaths (6,283) was the most in 28 years.

Data shows most of these accidents happen on weekends, at night when there is less visibility and outside of intersections in clear weather conditions.

While some of these accidents could have been avoided if drivers and pedestrians were paying more attention, some car safety features may help reduce the risk of these kinds of crashes.

Pedestrian detection technology consists of sensors to help identify when a vehicle is about to encounter a pedestrian. This technology sets off an alarm whenever a pedestrian is detected. Some new systems may also brake or slow the car down if the driver does not react quickly enough. While this technology can help save lives, recent research shows that there is still a lot of room for improvement.

AAA recently conducted a study on pedestrian detection systems in a variety of car models made by different manufacturers. All of the models were equipped with a pedestrian detection system. Researchers used a variety of scenarios to test this technology, including:

  • An adult walking out in front of a vehicle
  • A child darting out into the street from between two cars
  • A pedestrian crossing while the driver made a right-hand turn

The technologies studied had the following success rates:

  • 40 percent if one pedestrian crossed the road in daylight while the car was traveling 20 miles per hour.
  • 20 percent if two pedestrians crossed the road in daylight while the car was traveling 20 miles per hour.
  • 89 percent failure when a child darted into traffic between two vehicles while the vehicle was traveling 20 miles per hour.
  • 100 percent failure if a child darted into traffic between two vehicles going 30 miles per hour.
  • 100 percent failure of all systems tested when a pedestrian crossed the road while the driver was making a right-hand turn

Of particular concern is that none of the systems prevented accidents at night, when most pedestrian crashes occur.

Can a Car Company Share Liability for an Accident if Safety Technology Fails?

The driver in a car vs. pedestrian accident is often found at fault for the pedestrian’s damages. Safety technologies are widely marketed as “driver assist” options, meaning they are only intended to help the driver, not to be exclusively relied upon by consumers. Manufacturers warn drivers that they must be actively engaged in the driving process and that no technology is a suitable substitute for active and safe driving.

However, if this technology somehow malfunctioned, such as causing the vehicle to automatically accelerate and hit a pedestrian, there may be grounds for a product liability claim.

Contact Us for Help with Your Claim

Car accident cases can become very complex, particularly if car safety technology may have been involved in causing the accident. That is why it is important that you have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side who can make compelling legal arguments on your behalf.

The experienced lawyers at Rizk Law have the resources to thoroughly investigate accidents to determine the cause and the value of the damages suffered. The consultation with our attorneys is free of charge and there is no obligation to take legal action if you have a case. Call us today to set up your free case review.