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Posts Tagged ‘Traffic Accidents’

Hybrid Cars Will Need Audible Alert at 18 mph and Below

January 9th, 2013

Hybrids and Electric Cars Required to Make Noise Below 18 mph

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed a new set of rules for hybrid and electric cars that would require the whisper-quiet vehicles to make a constant audible noise at low speed, in order to better protect pedestrians and cyclists.

The NHTSA’s proposed solution to the very real problem of increased pedestrian/cyclist collisions and deaths due to ultra-quiet vehicles would require hybrid cars and EVs to emit sound at a pre-determined decibel level when traveling at under 18 mph, or when stationary or in reverse. Above that speed, wind and tire noises are sufficient to alert those nearby, the NHTSA says.

A Federal mandate in 2010 tasked the government traffic safety agency and automakers with agreeing upon a set of guidelines all hybrids and electrics must follow. It will be a while the plan comes to fruition, though; the requirement will be finalized in January 2014 and will likely take effect beginning in September 2015.

Collision data shows hybrids are 1.38 times as likely to be involved in collisions with pedestrians, and 1.33 times as likely with cyclists. Blind pedestrians are especially vulnerable, relying predominately on sound to determine if it is safe to cross.

Complying with the guidelines by installing “noisemakers” will only cost automakers around $35 per car, and will prevent an estimated 2,790 collisions and 35 deaths annually, the NHTSA says.

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Study Finds Hybrids Are Safer in Auto Accidents

November 28th, 2011

Hybrids Safer in Accidents

If you drive a hybrid, you are 25% less-likely to be injured in the event of a collision, a report from the Highway Loss Data Institute (an IIHS affiliate) shows. The Institute compared injury claim statistics from hybrid and standard versions of the same vehicle, like the Toyota Highlander and Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Per accident, hybrid drivers and passengers were 25% less likely to become injured.

The primary factor is weight. It’s not uncommon for a hybrid to weigh 500 lbs. more than its gas-only counterpart, with added heft helping protect occupants. The lighter the car, the greater disadvantage in the event of a crash, physics show.

[See more from the CarsDirect Hybrid Buying Guide.]

Other factors? Hybrid drivers are probably less likely to drive recklessly and therefore become involved in severe collisions. Also, hybrids traditionally come with a very high level of standard safety equipment missing or optional on cheaper gas-powered models.

On a down note, a separate HLDI study found that hybrids were 20% more likely to be involved in injury-causing pedestrian collisions than comparable non-hybrid counterparts.

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Women More Likely to Cause Traffic Accidents

July 8th, 2011

Do women cause more traffic accidents than men?

No doubt you’ve had this argument in your own car: who are better drivers, men or women? A study of data from 6.5 million traffic collisions conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute shows that women are involved in a disproportionately large number of traffic collisions relative to each mile they travel.

According to the study, men drive around 60% of total miles traveled while women drive around 40%. Accidents where both drivers were women appeared at statistically a much higher rate than lead researcher Michael Sivak and his team expected, while accidents involving two men appeared at a lower rate than pure miles-driven statistics would suggest.

Collisions involving both a man and a woman were mostly in line with expectations.

Accidents occurring at intersections were found especially likely to involve two female drivers. Listing clichés as to just what creates this disparity is something for another time, or another blog, but suffice to stay this is an interesting bit of fuel for the flames.

You can read the official U-Mich press release if you don’t believe us.

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