The safety of hybrid cars has been called into question over the past few years, as studies determined that their quiet nature endangers pedestrians. Unlike noisy gas-only models, hybrids are so quiet that pedestrians can't hear them coming.
In fact, this hazard prompted Congress and President Obama to mandate that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) set noise mandates for hybrid vehicles, as part of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act.
Though these noise modifications have yet to go into effect, hybrid cars have recently been heralded by safety advocates as more structurally sound for drivers than their gas-only twins.
The Highway Loss Data Institute conducted a study in which motor vehicles which are available both in hybrid and gas-only models were examined in relation to their accident-related injury rates. Drivers of traditional models are 25 percent more likely to be injured in a crash than those driving hybrid models of the same vehicle.
The study attributed the lower injury rates for hybrid drivers to the fact that hybrid models are roughly 10 percent heavier than their gas-only twins. The added weight allows the hybrid models advantages against the destructive forces involved in a crash.
When the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act was signed into law in January, the NHTSA was given three years to develop noise mandates for hybrids, in order to better protect pedestrians. Once these mandates go into effect and the risk for pedestrians is reduced, the added weight of hybrid models could make them some of the safest vehicles on the road.
Unfortunately, no safety enhancement can ever make a vehicle completely secure. If you or a loved one has been involved in a vehicle accident, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney, who can advise you of your legal options.