Electric cars twice as likely to hit pedestrians

May 24, 2024
Electric cars twice as likely to hit pedestrians
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Hybrid and electric cars are more likely to strike pedestrians than petrol or diesel vehicles, particularly in towns and cities, according to an analysis of British road traffic accidents.


The study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, used historical data from 32 billion miles of battery-powered car travel and 3 trillion miles of petrol and diesel journeys. 

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

The study also concluded that the higher accident rates for EVs could be down to the profile of drivers, with many being younger and less experienced. A further issue is very rapid acceleration of some EVs, which can often catch unsuspecting road crossing pedestrians out. 

Phil Edwards points out that pedestrians are used to navigating traffic situations based on sound. If this is absent then the drivers of quieter EVs need to be more cautious when pedestrians are close. 

The study showed that the average annual pedestrian casualty rate per 100 million miles travelled was 5.16 for electric and hybrid cars compared with 2.4 for petrol and diesel cars.
 
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