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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New emergency-braking technology that is supposed to help cars avoid pedestrian crashes is often ineffective, per AAA.

Why it matters: Pedestrian deaths are sharply higher, according to federal statistics, with nearly 6,000 fatalities a year, accounting for 16% of all traffic deaths. The technology has the potential to make the streets safer, but clearly needs more work, AAA said based on new test results.

By the numbers: AAA tested four 2019 mid-sized sedans equipped with pedestrian detection systems (Chevy Malibu, Honda Accord, Tesla Model 3 and Toyota Camry) with adult- and child-size dummies and found...

  • In daylight testing, the cars traveling 20 mph struck adults crossing the road 60% of the time.
  • At night, none of the systems detected or reacted to the adult pedestrian, an alarming result considering 75% of pedestrian fatalities occur after dark.
  • When turning right and into a crosswalk, the cars hit the adult pedestrian every time.
  • When encountering a child darting from between two cars, the test vehicle traveling at 20 mph hit the child 89% of the time.
  • At over 30 mph, the systems failed every test.

The bottom line: Like most assisted-driving technologies, pedestrian detection systems have not been perfected and drivers need to pay attention.

Go deeper

Cold December as safety nets expire

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Safety nets are likely to be yanked from underneath millions of vulnerable Americans in December, as the coronavirus surges.

Why it matters: Those most at risk are depending on one or more relief programs that are set to expire, right as the economic recovery becomes more fragile than it's been in months.

15 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

17 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

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