Home Tech Electric cars more likely to hit pedestrians than gasoline vehicles, study finds

Electric cars more likely to hit pedestrians than gasoline vehicles, study finds

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Electric cars more likely to hit pedestrians than gasoline vehicles, study finds

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

Data from 32 billion miles of trips in battery-powered cars and 3 trillion miles of trips in gasoline and diesel cars showed that electric and hybrid cars that went mile for mile were twice as likely to hit drivers. pedestrians than cars powered by fossil fuels, and three times more likely to hit pedestrians. do it in urban areas.

It’s unclear why green cars are more dangerous, but researchers suspect several factors are to blame. Electric car drivers they tend to be younger and less experienced, and the vehicles are much quieter than combustion engine cars, making them harder to hear, especially in towns and cities.

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

“If you’re opting for an electric car, remember it’s a new type of vehicle,” Edwards added. “They are much quieter than older cars and pedestrians have learned to navigate the streets by listening to the traffic. Drivers of these vehicles must be very careful.”

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

In 2017, a US Department of Transportation report found that electric and hybrid cars posed a 20% greater risk to pedestrians than gasoline and diesel cars, and a 50% greater risk during low-speed movements, such as turning, reversing, merging into traffic and stop.

Edwards and his colleagues studied travel and traffic accident data in the United Kingdom from 2013 to 2017. Due to an archiving issue, data from 2018 onwards is not available. Their analysis included 916,713 victims of which 120,197 were pedestrians. More than 96,000 people had been hit by a car or taxi.

The majority of vehicles on the roads are gasoline or diesel-powered and are involved in three-quarters of pedestrian collisions. But for the same distance traveled, battery-powered cars were more dangerous. The average annual pedestrian casualty rate per 100 million miles driven was 5.16 for electric and hybrid cars, compared to 2.4 for gasoline and diesel cars, according to the study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

In rural settings, battery-powered cars were no more dangerous than gasoline or diesel cars, but in towns and cities they were three times more 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 alert system that emits a sound when the car is traveling slowly, but there are hundreds of thousands of electric cars on the roads without these devices. “If the government made sure these systems were fitted to all electric vehicles and retrofitted to older electric cars, that would be a good start,” Edwards said, adding that the Green Cross Code also “probably needs an update.”

Nicola Christie, professor of transport safety at UCL, said people relied on sound to judge the presence, speed and location of vehicles. “When these signs are missing, this could be very problematic for people living in busy urban areas. The problem could be aggravated in people with poor visual acuity or in children who find it difficult to judge the speed and distance of vehicles,” she stated.

But the difficulty in hearing electric cars is not the only problem. Electric cars tend to accelerate quickly and tend to be much heavier; some weigh twice as much as their petrol equivalent, making for longer braking distances. “If the government plans to promote a transition to electric cars, that will bring some risk to pedestrians unless we deal with this,” Edwards said.

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