Effects of automatic emergency braking systems on pedestrian crash risk

Cicchino, Jessica B.
Accident Analysis & Prevention
May 2022

Objective: Automatic emergency braking (AEB) that detects pedestrians has great potential to reduce pedestrian crashes. The objective of this study was to examine its effects on real-world police-reported crashes.
Methods: Two methods were used to assess the effects of pedestrian-detecting AEB on pedestrian crash risk. Vehicles with and without the system were examined on models where it was an optional feature. Poisson regression was used to estimate the effects of AEB on pedestrian crash rates per insured vehicle year, and quasi- induced exposure using logistic regression compared involvement in pedestrian crashes to a system-irrelevant crash type.
Results: AEB with pedestrian detection was associated with signi cant reductions of 25%-27% in pedestrian crash risk and 29%-30% in pedestrian injury crash risk. However, there was not evidence that that the system was effective in dark conditions without street lighting, at speed limits of 50 mph or greater, or while the AEB- equipped vehicle was turning.
Conclusions: Pedestrian-detecting AEB is reducing pedestrian crashes, but its effectiveness could be even greater. For the system to make meaningful reductions in pedestrian fatalities, it is crucial for it to work well in dark and high-speed conditions. Other proven interventions to reduce pedestrian crashes under challenging circumstances, such as improved headlights and roadway-based countermeasures, should continue to be implemented in conjunction with use of AEB to prevent pedestrian crashes most effectively.