As more new vehicles roll off the manufacturing floor equipped with features touted to keep people safer, Louisiana residents should learn the facts about just how well these features really work.

Across the United States and in Louisiana, pedestrian deaths have increased in recent years, sparking conversations and concerns about how to reverse this trend.

Pedestrian fatalities in Louisiana

In looking at data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a sad picture emerges when it comes to pedestrian safety. In 2009, foot traffic made up 13% of all vehicular fatalities across the state. In 2018, the last full year for which data is available, pedestrians accounted for more than 21% of the state’s overall vehicular fatalities.

In this 10-year span, the number of pedestrians killed in Louisiana jumped while the number of total accident deaths declined. In 2009, 824 people died in vehicle crashes, 108 of which were pedestrians. Fast forward 10 years and the state recorded a total of 768 vehicular fatalities, 164 of which were pedestrians.

Advanced safety features not full effective

According to a report from The Verge, AAA conducted a study of several vehicles equipped with automatic braking and pedestrian detection systems. Tests conducted in dark or night conditions returned results that led AAA to deem these systems completely ineffective. The NHTSA indicates that three out of four pedestrian fatalities occur at night.

The tests conducted in daylight hours still returned poor results, the best of which included pedestrian dummies being hit 60% of the time. In some scenarios, vehicles hit the dummies 100% of the time.