Hybrid Vehicles Continue To Pose Disproportionate Threat To Pedestrians & Cyclists

While there remains a greater likelihood of a Prius or other hybrid-electric vehicle being involved in a crash with a pedestrian or cyclist over a conventionally-powered vehicle, the incidence has decreased since 2009.

2 minute read

November 22, 2011, 5:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report was distributed by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. It was prepared to update the 2009 study. As with that study, "sound and frequency" may continue to be a major contributing factor. Incidence rates differ for pedestrian and cyclist crashes.

"In 2009 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the report "Incidence of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crashes by Hybrid Electric (HE) Passenger Vehicles" with the finding that an HE vehicle was two times more likely to be involved in a pedestrian crash than an Internal Combustion Vehicle (ICE) in situations involving low-speed maneuvers (Hanna, 2009)."

NHTSA released the new study on Oct. 1 to update these findings. The report (PDF) indicates that "(o)verall, the odds ratios indicate that the odds of an HE vehicle being in either a pedestrian or bicycle crash are greater, 35 percent and 57 percent respectively, than the odds of an ICE vehicle being in a similar crash."

From Conclusions And Discussions:
"The largest difference between the incidence rates of HE versus ICE vehicles in this study occurred in low-speed passenger vehicle maneuvers: those in which a vehicle is turning, slowing or stopping, backing up, or entering or leaving a parking space.

Similar to the results presented in NHTSA's previous study (Hanna, 2009), the odds of an HE vehicle being involved in a pedestrian crash was 1.66 times the odds of an ICE vehicle being involved in a similar crash. It is hypothesized that these low-speed vehicle maneuvers may provide the largest difference between the vehicle sounds, in terms of both sound level and
frequency, produced by the HE versus ICE vehicles, and this sound difference may further contribute to the crash rate difference between HE and ICE vehicles.

This similar finding also held in bicycle crashes but with a lower odds ratio of 1.33"

Thanks to TRB E-Newsletter

Saturday, October 1, 2011 in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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