Hybrid vehicles are a danger to pedestrians
A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in America has found that hybrid vehicles are involved in more accidents with pedestrians and cyclists than regular petrol and diesel vehicles.
The study found that 0.9% of hybrid cars were involved in accidents with pedestrians compared to a 0.6% pedestrian accident figure for regular cars.
The NHTSA’s report may help support the need for fitting hybrid cars with noisemaking systems to alert pedestrians, cyclists and especially blind people. With no engine noise the hybrid vehicles can potentially put pedestrians and cyclists at significant risk.
In Japan, hybrid cars have become the country’s top selling vehicles. A transport ministry official said: “We have received opinions from automobile users and vision-impaired people that they feel hybrid vehicles are dangerous. Blind people depend on sounds when they walk, but there are no engine sounds from hybrid vehicles when running at low speed and on the electric motor.”
The ministry consulted with a panel of police, consumers, vision impaired groups, scholars and the automobile industry to discuss options. In the first meeting, it was decided to introduce a sound making function. The panel has not decided on what kind of sound should be used, only that it should induce a response of caution.