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Greg Webb
Greg Webb
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Hybrid Cars, Safety, and Pedestrians

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In an article by Ashley Halsey, III, which appeared in The Washington Post, November 17, 2011, it was reported that people who purchase and drive hybrid vehicles are less likely to be injured in an accident. The reason? The hybrid’s battery makes the car 10 percent heavier than most cars. “The average hybrid is 10 percent heavier than a traditional car of the same size, and the extra weight reduces the odds of being hurt in a crash by 25 percent,” says Matt Moore of the Highway Loss Data Institute. The report also noted that early hybrid cars were smaller and lighter than those manufactured today. The Honda Accord transformed into a hybrid gains about 480 lbs. while the Toyota Highlander gains 330 lbs. according to Moore.

The statistics do not bode as well, however, for those on foot. The Highway Loss Data Institute compiled detailed claim findings of 25 different car models produced both as hybrids and traditional models (from 2003 to the present) that had been in at least one accident which resulted in an injury insurance claim. Examining the data, the Institute also found that hybrids are 20 percent more likely to hit a pedestrian than noisier, gas-powered automobiles (whose noise may provide some audible warning to pedestrians). Congress has given the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a challenge in the next three years to devise some sounds that the hybrid can make to warn pedestrians.