Research shows that electric cars hit pedestrians more often than petrol cars

Hybrid and electric cars are more likely to hit pedestrians than petrol or diesel vehicles, especially in cities, according to an analysis of UK road accidents.

Data from 20 billion miles of battery-powered car trips and 3 trillion miles of gasoline and diesel trips shows that from mile to mile, electric and hybrid cars are twice as likely to hit pedestrians than fossil fuel cars, and three times more likely to pedestrians than fossil fuel cars. do that in urban areas.

It is unclear why environmentally friendly cars are more dangerous, but researchers suspect that a number of factors are the cause. Drivers of electric cars tend to be younger and less experienced, and the vehicles are much quieter than cars with combustion engines, making them harder to hear, especially in towns and cities.

“Electric cars pose a danger to pedestrians because they are less likely to be heard than petrol or diesel cars,” said Phil Edwards, first author of the study and professor of epidemiology and statistics at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. “The government must limit these risks if it is going to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel cars.”

“If you’re switching to an electric car, remember it’s a new type of vehicle,” Edwards added. “They are much quieter than the old-fashioned cars, and pedestrians have learned how to navigate the road by listening to traffic. Drivers of these vehicles should be extra careful.”

Road accidents are the leading cause of death among children and young adults in Britain, with pedestrians accounting for a quarter of all road deaths.

In 2017, a U.S. Department of Transportation report found that electric and hybrid cars pose a 20% higher risk to pedestrians than gasoline and diesel cars, and a 50% higher risk during low-speed movements such as turning, reversing and get into traffic. and come to a stop.

Edwards and his colleagues studied British travel and road accident data from 2013 to 2017. Due to an archiving problem, data from 2018 onwards is unavailable. Their analysis included 916,713 victims, of which 120,197 were pedestrians. More than 96,000 people were hit by a car or taxi.

Most vehicles on the road run on petrol or diesel and these were involved in three quarters of pedestrian accidents. But for the same distance traveled, battery-powered cars were more dangerous. According to the study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the average annual number of pedestrian casualties per 100 million kilometers traveled was 5.16 for electric and hybrid cars, compared to 2.4 for petrol and diesel cars.

In rural environments, battery-powered cars were no more dangerous than petrol or diesel, but in towns and cities they were three times as likely to collide with pedestrians, the researchers found.

Since July 2019, all new hybrid and electric vehicles sold in Europe must have an acoustic vehicle warning system that emits sound when the car is driven slowly, but there are hundreds of thousands of electric cars on the road without the devices. “If the government were to ensure these systems were installed in all electric vehicles and retrofit them to older electric cars, that would be a good start,” Edwards said, adding that the Green Cross Code also “probably needs to be updated” .

Nicola Christie, professor of transport safety at UCL, said people were relying on sound to judge the presence, speed and location of vehicles. “If these signals are missing, it can be very problematic for people in busy urban areas. The problem could be exacerbated for people with poor visual acuity or for children who find it difficult to judge the speed and distance of vehicles,” she said.

But a difficulty hearing about electric cars isn’t the only problem. Electric cars typically have quick acceleration and are usually much heavier, with some cars weighing twice as much as petrol ones, increasing stopping distances. “If the government plans to promote the transition to electric cars, there will be some risk to pedestrians unless we take care of this,” Edwards said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *