The Swedish car maker best known for its high commitment to safety engineering has taken its features a step further to protect those outside the vehicle as well as inside it. Volvo's 2013 V40, currently on sale in Australia, has incorporated pedestrian airbags to protect anyone hit by the car while walking, according to recent industry reports.
Why Are Pedestrian Airbags Necessary?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that of all the auto-related fatalities in 2012, 16 percent involved people not inside the car such as pedestrians and bicyclists. Pedestrian injury is a very real problem for Americans, but it is also a large problem abroad where more people walk or ride a bicycle to their destinations. The European Union passed laws about ten years ago to address this problem and provide for pedestrian safety. Due to these laws, auto makers in Europe began examining ways to manufacture cars that could prevent a pedestrian accident or at least lessen the severity if one did occur.
What Do Pedestrian Airbags Do?
Jaguar began making vehicles that utilized a pedestrian contact "sensing system" that opens the car's hood if it senses a pedestrian impact. A Dutch car company, TNO, also designed a prototype airbag that would prevent bikers from being injured in a collision.
Volvo has taken these ideas and combined them. The pedestrian detection system on Volvo's new model uses sensors to determine if a collision is imminent and automatically slows the car down. These sensors operate from the grille of the car and the back of the rearview mirror. The sensor also alerts the driver with a warning signal and light if a pedestrian appears to be in danger. The car can brake itself completely at speeds less than 21 miles per hour and can slow down significantly at speeds over that level. The automatic braking system also works to prevent collisions with other vehicles, buildings, poles or any other obstruction.
If a human leg comes into contact with the bumper of the car, the hood of the car raises and an airbag deploys in less than one second. The resulting configuration shields the windshield and front area of the car, and the raised hood dents more easily to cushion impact.
Since most fatal pedestrian accidents are related to speed, the most significant factor of this system is actually the automatic braking feature. However, if there is an impact, the airbag is designed to deploy in the areas where most pedestrian injuries occur--the windshield and hood of the car.
What Can I Do If I Suffer Injuries In A Pedestrian Accident?
If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, it is very important that you protect your rights by consulting a pedestrian accident attorney. A pedestrian accident lawyer can explain your options and work with you to recover damages for your medical bills, your pain and suffering, and the other costs associated with your accident. It is crucial that you and your family protect yourselves from the long-term financial effects of an accident.