New Technology Aims to Decrease Pedestrian Deaths in Cape Girardeau and Elsewhere in Southeast Missouri

Our Cape Girardeau car accident attorneys know that car/pedestrian collisions are often accompanied by devastating injuries: spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and severe trauma often result. Soon, there may be a new way to help reduce the risk of these accidents: engineers are currently developing technology that could help cars avoid pedestrians, just as there are other currently technologies that help cars avoid collisions with other cars and with road debris. This new system is designed to override driver instruction if the car approaches a pedestrian too closely, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"The best way to protect pedestrians is to separate them as much as possible from vehicle traffic," says David Zuby, the Institute's chief research officer. "But the paths of walkers and drivers inevitably are going to intersect at some point, and new warning systems, as well as vehicle design changes required in Europe, have the potential to make those meetings less deadly."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 4,000 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in the United States in 2009. Another 59,000 pedestrians suffered injuries in these accidents. These statistics average out to a pedestrian being killed every two hours (and one injured every nine minutes). Missouri saw nearly 100 pedestrian fatalities in 2009.

The technology is still being developed and engineers have several kinks to work out, but many drivers worry the technology will never be accurate enough.

"Pedestrians can change course quickly, so just as it can be hard for a driver to know what a person at the curb is going to do, it also can be tricky for a computer," Zuby says."It's important to get that right because too many false alarms could turn a warning system into an annoyance and make drivers reluctant to accept the new technology."

Until researchers create a product that will completely eliminate the risk of pedestrian accidents, which is not likely, drivers are asked to do their part in being cautious and alert for our local pedestrians. offers these tips to motorists to help them avoid a collision with a pedestrian:

-Be on the lookout for pedestrians everywhere at all times.

-Don't use your cell phone while driving.

-Look carefully behind and around your vehicle before putting it into reverse.

-For maximum visibility, keep your windshield clean and your headlights on.

-Keep a lookout on both sides of the road for pedestrians.

-Before making a turn, check (and double check) for any pedestrians that may be nearby.

-Yield to all pedestrians, even if you're at an intersection that does not assign their right of away. Always give a pedestrian the right of way.

-Do not allow your vehicle to block, or park, in any crosswalks.

-Obey speed limits and be sure to stop at all stop signs.

-Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for crossing pedestrians.

-Be extra careful when driving near children or along streets where older pedestrians may not see or hear you.

Forward collision warning systems are currently offered on 19 vehicle makes of 2011 models. It is one of many crash avoidance features that have been produced in recent years: the Institute estimates that more than 1 million accidents (including more than 800 fatal accidents) could be prevented yearly if all vehicles were equipped with this new warning system. Until then, we must take precautions, as drivers, to help keep our pedestrians safe.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident in Dexter, New Madrid, Perryville, or elsewhere in Southeast Missouri, contact the Cape Girardeau Personal Injury Lawyers at Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C. PC, for a free initial consultation. Call (573) 334-7959. Attorney meetings by appointment only.

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