Electric Cars More Likely to Hit Pedestrians Than Other Vehicles

A study conducted over 32 billion miles traveled by battery-powered cars and 3 trillion miles by gasoline and diesel cars showed that electric and hybrid cars, mile for mile, were twice as likely to injure pedestrians compared to fossil fuel-powered cars.

According to the British newspaper “The Guardian,” it is not clear why eco-friendly cars are more dangerous, but researchers suspect several factors are responsible.

Electric car drivers tend to be younger and less experienced, and these vehicles are quieter than combustion engine cars, making them harder to hear, especially in towns and cities.

According to the study, road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among children and young people in the UK, with pedestrians accounting for a quarter of all road fatalities.

UK travel and road accident data from 2013 to 2017 showed 916,713 victims, including 120,197 pedestrians, and over 96,000 people hit by a taxi.

While most vehicles on the road ran on gasoline or diesel, involved in three-quarters of pedestrian collisions, battery-powered cars were more dangerous for the same distance traveled.

The average annual rate of pedestrian casualties per 100 million miles traveled was 5.16 for electric and hybrid cars compared to 2.4 for gasoline and diesel cars.

In 2017, a report from the US Department of Transportation found that electric and hybrid cars posed a 20% higher risk to pedestrians compared to gasoline and diesel cars, and a 50% higher risk during low-speed maneuvers, such as turning and reversing.

Since July 2019, all new hybrid and electric cars sold in Europe must have an acoustic vehicle alert system that emits a sound when the car is moving slowly, but there are hundreds of thousands of electric cars without these devices.

As a result, Nicola Christie, a professor of transport safety at the University of California, said, “People rely on sound to judge the presence, speed, and location of vehicles.”

The problem can be exacerbated for people with reduced visual acuity or for children who find it difficult to judge the speed and distance of vehicles.

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