According to a recent study by the Highway Loss Data Institute in the US, hybrid drivers a 25 per cent less likely to be injured in a car accident compared with non-hybrid car drivers. Conversely, hybrid vehicles were found to be more dangerous to pedestrians than conventional cars.
External factors, such as the attitudes and driving habits of hybrid drivers may have contributed to the results, the study says, but the main element behind hybrid’s increased safety is the weight. Matt Moore, vice president of the Institute, said in a statement,
“Hybrids on average are 10 per cent heavier than their standard counterparts. This extra mass gives them an advantage in crashes that their conventional twins don’t have.”
The study analysed data from over 25 separate vehicle pairs – hybrid and non-hybrid versions of the same model – that were made between 2003 and 2011. Vehicles that are offered solely as a hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, were not included in the study. This way more accurate results could be calculated.
On the pedestrian side of things, hybrids were found to be more dangerous mainly due to pedestrians not being able to hear the car coming.
“When hybrids operate in electric-only mode, pedestrians can’t hear them approaching,” Mr Moore said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US is working on minimum noise regulations for hybrid and electric vehicles, and is investigating a number of sound-emitting solutions.