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Are Electric and Hybrid Cars Dangerous to Pedestrians?

Torem & Associates

Many of the features of hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) appeal to drivers. One of the most appealing features for many drivers is the environmentally friendly aspect of hybrid and electric vehicles. Unfortunately, these eco-friendly vehicles can be a safety hazard for pedestrians because these vehicles are much quieter than other motor vehicles, especially at lower speeds. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recognized the danger to pedestrians by issuing a new sound requirement for all EVs and hybrid vehicles.

New Sound Requirements for Electric Vehicles and Hybrids

Beginning September 1, 2019, the NHTSA will require EVs and hybrid vehicles to be equipped with an audible warning whenever the vehicle is traveling backward or forward at speeds under 20 miles per hour. According to the announcement by the NHTSA, tires and the wind create enough noise at speeds above 19 miles per hour to make a warning sound unnecessary.

The new sound requirement applies to all EVs and hybrids that weigh under 10,000 pounds and have four wheels. About half of all new hybrids and EVs must comply with the new sound requirement by September 1, 2018, with full compliance required by September 1, 2019.

Pedestrian Safety

The new sound requirement for hybrids and EVs is expected to reduce pedestrian accidents by 2,400. Pedestrian deaths in 2014 totaled 4,884 and 65,000 pedestrians were injured. Pedestrian injuries had been on the decline for almost two decades; however, injuries increased in 2012 and remained steady. The exact reasons for the increase in pedestrian injuries are unknown, but it could be a combination of several reasons.

Drivers have more distractions today than two decades ago. Furthermore, a higher number of people are walking as a way of maintaining physical health or saving money on transportation costs. Whatever the reason, pedestrians must take steps to protect themselves from being injured by a motor vehicle.

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center provides several safety tips for pedestrians including:

  • Always walk on the sidewalk and cross at intersections
  • Wear light colored or brightly colored clothing to increase visibility
  • Remain alert – avoid wearing headphones or reading while walking
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road to ensure they see you
  • Avoid walking when impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Cross streets in well-lit areas
  • Look all ways before crossing the street and continuing to look for vehicles while crossing the street
  • Obey all traffic signals and road signs
  • Walk in groups whenever possible

You can get more information about pedestrian safety from the Centers for Disease Control and Safe Kids Worldwide.

Call A Fresno Pedestrian Attorney for A Free Consultation

If a driver injures you, you have the right to file a claim for compensation for your injuries. Depending on the facts of your case, you may receive compensation for damages including lost wages, medical bills, emotional suffering, property damage, and physical pain. You must act quickly – time is limited for filing an accident claim.

Our Fresno pedestrian attorneys represent accident victims throughout Fresno, CA and the surrounding Central California Valley area. Please call Torem & Associates at (888) 500-5000 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation or get more information.


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