Miami is a pedestrian’s nightmare. Whether the leading causes of pedestrian accidents is the removal of sidewalks(caused by endless construction-i.e. Brickell), lack of sidewalks in the first place, distracted driving, or distracted walking, Ford is employing a Pedestrian detection system which should help to reduce pedestrian and for that matter bicycle accidents.
While many automakers are beginning to employ autonomous driving features, Ford is the first to introduce a pedestrian safety feature. The system uses a combination of radars and cameras to sense pedestrians in or near the road ahead. This is helpful given the number of pedestrians that have to walk in the street because we do not have adequate sidewalks. As I previously noted, our office is located in the Brickell area, and the construction boom has led to removal of sidewalks throughout the area.
Once the car recognizes a pedestrian in its path, the system issues an audio and visual warning to the driver consisting of beeps and graphics in the instrument cluster. Then, if the driver still does not respond, the car preps the brakes by moving the brake pads closer to the discs to increase brake response. If the driver is still unresponsive at this point, the car automatically applies the brakes to avoid the collision. Now for the bad news, the system does not work at night, and only works in clear weather.
While the system has some limitations, this is a great first step. We hope all the other automakers will follow Ford’s lead, and install their own systems, especially given the fact that in Florida, thousands of pedestrians are injured every year and hundreds are killed. To that end, we recently settled a tragic case where a woman was was walking on the side of a street when she was struck and killed by a courier. The courier company’s insurance carrier denied coverage alleging that neither the driver nor car were listed on the insurance policy. We entered into a Coblentz Agreement with the courier company(agreement to enter a judgment for a certain dollar value and agreement to not execute on the judgment in exchange for assigning their rights against the insurance company). We were glad that we could assist our client with the loss of her mother, and turn a case of no insurance into a $585,000.00 recovery.