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Study: Hybrids Hit More Pedestrians than Other Cars

Posted: Nov 09, 2009 09:35 a.m.

A government study recent concluded that hybrid-powered vehicles are more likely to hit pedestrians that gasoline powered cars.  The results may give added urgency to calls from some consumer advocates to require that hybrids make some noise to announce their presence.

Consumer Reports explains, “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)… looked at state-level crash files to compare crash rates on these two types of vehicles. Out of 8,387 hybrids 77 (or .9 percent) were involved in crashes with pedestrians. Out of 559,703 conventional vehicles studied, 3,578 (or .6 percent) were involved in crashes with pedestrians.”  Hybrids were also more likely to hit  bicyclists: .6 percent of bicycle crashes involved a hybrid vehicle, while .3 percent involved a gasoline-powered car.

Autoblog notes, “These statistics are not a complete representation of all accidents nationwide, and NHTSA is quick to point out that additional research is necessary before any final conclusions can be made.”

The NHTSA’s study summary concludes, “These results should serve as a guide when designing future HEV pedestrian and bicyclist crash prevention programs,” but offers no more specific conclusions.  Many safety advocates, however, have been pushing for federal legislation requiring that hybrids be designed to emit some sound announcing their presence, since they are often significantly quieter than gasoline-powered cars. 

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