American research has shown that electric and hybrid cars which run very quietly at slow speeds are twice as likely to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian as traditional fuel-powered motor cars. Some road safety experts are concerned that the introduction of more electric cars in the UK will result in an increase in the number of accidents on our roads.
Studies by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration in the US have revealed that both hybrid and electric cars are too quiet at slow speeds for pedestrians to hear, and are consequently a potential danger to members of the public. The research showed that there was an increased risk of hitting pedestrians and cyclists of 37% and 66% respectively when driving a hybrid or electric car, as opposed to when driving a traditional car.
The Guardian recently ran an opinion poll to find out what readers thought. When asked the question “Does being so quiet make electric vehicles a road safety menace?”, 49% of people answered yes and 51% answered no. So, public opinion is split down the middle, but what do top road traffic accident claims company Accident Advice Helpline think the outcome of this escalating debate will be?
A representative of the company commented: “The new hybrid and electric cars have many economic and environmental benefits, but there is potentially an increased risk for pedestrians, particularly those who are sight-impaired. The answer might be for manufacturers to ensure their cars make a little more noise at slower speeds, which would be a useful compromise.”
The European Parliament has recently voted in favour of introducing Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems that help blind and partially-sighted pedestrians to negotiate the roads safely. This has helped to appease road safety groups, and also charities for the blind and sight-impaired.
Road Traffic Accident Claims
Accident Advice Helpline are leading UK auto accident claim procurers who deal with a wide range of accident compensation cases in addition to RTA claims. Our website offers a useful compensation claims calculator and our free helpline number is 0800 689 0500.
Date Published: October 16, 2013
Author: David Brown