Given the prevalence of vehicle safety technologies, one might think that the number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States would have decreased along with the years. Surprisingly, this is not the case: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 4,432 pedestrians were killed in America in 2011 and an additional 69,000 were injured. As automakers are looking for new ways to decrease this unfortunate statistic, plans have been made to launch a production version of a Toyota Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian-Avoidance Steering Assist by 2015.
As a video demonstration on ToyotaEurope’s YouTube channel states, approximately 40 percent of all collisions cannot be prevented merely by braking. Given that statistic, Toyota’s PCS does more than just apply the brakes in the event of a potential collision. The vehicle’s on-board sensor detects the presence of pedestrians entering the vehicle’s path and issues a visual alert to notify the driver while searching for a collision avoidance space. If the alert is not heeded, the visual alert becomes red and an audible alarm sounds as the automatic brakes are applied.
If the Toyota’s sensors determine that brakes are not enough, Toyota’s PCS automatically steers itself into the previously-determined collision aversion space. Toyota previously incorporated PCS in the Lexus LS and, according to its press release, intends to decrease the cost of the system to accommodate a 2015 rollout that will encompass a larger portion of Toyota’s lineup. If the technology could save even one life and prevent another tragedy such as that of Oregon’s Joe Bell, who was struck down and killed while walking cross country in honor of his recently departed son, it will have been worth the effort.
We here at Cumberland Toyota in Cookeville, TN urge you to always be mindful whether driving, biking, or traveling by foot. Be cautious, be considerate, and don’t become a statistic.