Quiet hybrid cars can pose a risk to pedestrians who may not hear them coming

Why Hybrid Cars Cause More Pedestrian Accidents

Hybrid cars may be healthier for the planet due to their reduced emissions, but research suggests that they are unhealthy for pedestrians.

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, hybrid vehicles are about 20 percent more likely to cause pedestrian accident injuries than conventional vehicles. They arrived at this conclusion by analyzing the frequency of bodily injury claims that were made without related collision or property damage, the assumption being that such claims are likely to result from pedestrian accidents. They reviewed a total of 25,382 claims filed for 17 hybrid and non-hybrid vehicles.

Their findings were in line with studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which found that in areas with speed limits of 35 mph or under, hybrid vehicles were 50 percent more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents than conventional vehicles. Additionally, the NHTSA found that situations where hybrid cars were slowing, stopping, backing up, or parking presented the highest risk to pedestrians, with hybrid cars twice as likely to be involved in accidents under these circumstances. There was no significant difference in crash rates when the cars were travelling straight down a road.

So what’s so dangerous about slow-moving hybrid vehicles?

Their silence.

When hybrids are operating at low speeds in electric-only mode, there is no engine noise and very little tire noise or wind noise. Pedestrians simply can’t hear them. This can lead to accidents. Pedestrians might step out in front of a car they don’t realize is coming or be unable to avoid being hit by a car that is backing up without looking.

Legislators have been trying to enact a solution to this problem since 2011. In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a rule that would require hybrid vehicles to make an engine-like noise while driving under 20 mph, as well as any time the vehicle is stopped but not in park. Manufacturers have until September 1 of 2019 to comply with this rule.

Have You Been Injured in a Pedestrian Accident?

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident that was not your fault, you deserve compensation. At The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, we can help you secure this compensation. As southern California’s #1 car accident law firm, we’ve helped countless clients with all kinds of traffic accident claims, and we know the best strategies to employ to give you the best possible chance of securing maximum compensation for your injuries. To learn more, call us at 800-333-0000 for a free initial consultation with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney.