March 01, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Silent hybrid cars pose threat to pedestrians
Article provided by Bart Durham Injury Law
Visit us at http://www.bartdurham.com
Many drivers enjoy the benefits of hybrid and electric cars. Better gas mileage with hybrids, a lower carbon footprint and a quieter ride are a couple of reasons why these remain popular among motorists.
However, for pedestrians, these vehicles may pose an extra risk. At speeds under 18 mph these cars do not use gasoline, making for a very quiet ride. While nice for the driver, nearby pedestrians may not be alerted to the usual sounds of traffic nearby. Sight-impaired and blind pedestrians who may think it safe to cross the road are especially at risk.
That is why the U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed minimum sound standards for new hybrid cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come up with 14 different possible sounds carmakers could use to improve sound. While the sound is not yet finalized, the NHTSA has determined that any sound chosen would need to be able to break through ambient street noise. While carmakers would not have to settle for one sound, each make and model vehicle would need to have the same noise. As the vehicle accelerates the sound would raise in pitch and lower as it decelerates. The sound requirements would also be required in reverse.
The DOT was tasked with creating noise standards for hybrid cars after the passage of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010. The NHTSA estimates noise enhancements for hybrids and electric cars could potentially reduce pedestrian injuries, including bicyclists, by 2,800.
The NHTSA has good reason to be concerned with pedestrian safety. NHTSA data shows that 4,280 pedestrians died in 2010, the most recent year data is available, amounting to 13 percent of total traffic fatalities. Thousands more pedestrians are injured every year; nationwide, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic accident every eight minutes.
Many factors play a role in the high number of pedestrian fatalities. According to the NHTSA, alcohol is involved in nearly 50 percent of pedestrian traffic accidents. Elderly and children pedestrians are especially at risk, accounting for a significant percentage of injuries in 2010. Of all pedestrian fatalities, children aged five through nine accounted for 20 percent.
An attorney can help
Reducing pedestrian injuries is an important goal. While efforts to improve safety such as by increasing the noise of otherwise silent and dangerous cars may help, numerous factors play a role in pedestrian safety. Pedestrians injured through the negligence of a driver may be able to obtain lost wages and medical expenses to help in their recovery. The families of lost loved ones may be able to recover damages and obtain justice for their tragedy. Injured pedestrians should not hesitate to contact a skilled personal injury attorney to discuss their case.---
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