NHTSA: Pedestrian and Cyclists Crash Rates Higher For Hybrids

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
nhtsa pedestrian and cyclists crash rates higher for hybrids

An NHTSA report [ PDF] on the “Incidence of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crashes by Hybrid Electric Passenger Vehicles,” concludes that hybrid-electrics (HEVs) have a higher incidence rate of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes than do internal combustion-only (ICE) vehicles in certain scenarios. And based on the report’s conclusions, it looks like the relative silence of hybrids running in electric-only mode is to blame for the higher accident numbers.

. . . pedestrian and bicyclist crashes involving both HEVs and ICE vehicles commonly occurred on roadways, in zones with low speed limits, during daytime and in clear weather, with higher incidence rates for HEVs when compared to ICE vehicles. A variety of crash factors were examined to determine the relative incidence rates of HEVs versus ICE vehicles in a range of crash scenarios. For one group of scenarios, those in which a vehicle is slowing or stopping, backing up, or entering or leaving a parking space, a statistically significant effect was found due to engine type. The HEV was two times more likely to be involved in a pedestrian crash in these situations than was an ICE vehicle. Vehicle maneuvers such as slowing or stopping, backing up, or entering or leaving a parking space, were grouped in one category based on that these maneuvers are potentially have occurred at very low speeds where the difference between the sound levels produced by the hybrid versus ICE vehicle is the greatest.

At speeds above 35 MPH, the statistical differences between the percentage of hybrids and ICE vehicles involved in pedestrian and cyclist crashes are insignificant. Below those speeds, and while engaging in the maneuvers described above, the statistical difference becomes clear. What this indicates is that the silence of electric drive vehicles is, statistically speaking, a safety issue. Expect this study to figure into ongoing efforts to pass legislation, like H.R. 734, requiring sound standards for electric-drive vehicles.

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  • Dmrdano Dmrdano on Nov 11, 2009

    BomberPete, I apologize if it seemed I was implying it was the cyclists' fault for not riding single file in this picture. The pic was posted without context, that being a race and a drunk driver. I really was commenting on bikers in general, being one myself. They/I/we often contribute to accidents by riding all over the road carelessly. This does not absolve a careless and/or illegal driver, but it shows there are things we can do to protect ourselves from these people. Spanner77, you are right that holding drivers accountable for all accidents is unjust. However, like or not, public roads in the U.S. (not including freeways) are generally "shared space" according to the law. (To label it socialism is to demonstrate you do not understand socialism.) However, the wise cyclist picks his routes well to avoid the danger of high speed cars.

  • GS650G GS650G on Nov 11, 2009

    Even some ICE cars are so quiet they are sonically invisible until the idiot driving decides to pass on a blind turn while leaving no space between his fender and me.

  • Fred Remember when radios were an option? Do you know you can use your phone to listen to any radio station in the world? This is just a whole waste of time.
  • Pig_Iron ASTC 3.0 AM radio was successfully demonstrated at CES. It is a common standard shared with terrestrial television, so the audio equipment is commonized for broadcasters. And no royalty fees to pay, unlike HDRadio which has been a less than stellar success. 📻
  • Art Vandelay Crimes that are punished with fines encourage abuse by those enforcing them. If it is truly dangerous to the public, maybe jail or give the offenders community service. People’s time tends to be very valuable to them and a weeks lost work would certainly make a high earner think twice. If it isn’t a big danger why are police enforcing it (outside of raising money of course). Combine it with a points system. When your points are gone you do a week imitating Cool Hand Luke.
  • Cha65697928 High earners should pay less for tickets because they provide the tax revenue that funds the police. 2-3 free speeding tix per year should be fair.
  • Art Vandelay So the likely way to determine one’s income would be via the tax return. You guys are going to be real disappointed when some of the richest folks pay no speeding fine the same way they minimize their taxes