According to AAA and other safety experts, we're headed in the right direction, but right now all these new "pedestrian detection systems" designed to keep you from hitting people in crosswalks and elsewhere are iffy.

In an article released last week by the Detroit Free Press, AAA officials say independent testing shows these automated systems only work about 50% of the time, and generally don't work at night.

The systems are designed to detect a person in front of the vehicle, and automatically deploy enough brake to help the driver safety stop or avoid. However, in four models, the crash test dummies got slammed anyway.

According to AAA, the study found:

Here are findings from the AAA testing on the four sedans:

  • "When encountering a child darting from between two cars, with the vehicle traveling at 20 mph, a collision occurred 89% of the time.
  • Immediately following a right-hand turn, all of the test vehicles collided with the adult pedestrian.
  • When approaching two adults standing alongside the road, with the vehicle traveling at 20 mph, a collision occurred 80% of the time.
  • In general, the systems were ineffective in all scenarios where the vehicle was traveling at 30 mph.
  • At night, none of the systems detected or reacted to the adult pedestrian."

To find out more about this study, click on the button below.