EV’s Twice as Likely to Hit Pedestrian

Pedestrians are at higher risk from greener transportation or electric vehicles in cities, sparking calls for enhanced safety measures.

Pedestrians are at higher risk from greener transportation or electric vehicles in cities, sparking calls for enhanced safety measures.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, the research reveals that pedestrians are twice as likely to be struck by electric or hybrid vehicles than those powered by petrol or diesel, particularly in urban settings. The study analyzed road traffic data from 2013 to 2017, pointing to a need for urgent measures to address this risk amidst the phase-out of fossil-fuel vehicles.

The study focused on pedestrian casualty rates in Great Britain, comparing incidents involving electric/hybrid vehicles to those involving traditional petrol/diesel vehicles. Researchers used the Road Safety Data (STATS19) and estimated vehicle mileage from the National Travel Survey (NTS). They found that despite electric and hybrid vehicles accounting for a smaller portion of traffic, they were involved in a disproportionately higher rate of pedestrian collisions.

The analysis covered 32 billion miles driven by electric/hybrid vehicles and 3 trillion miles by petrol/diesel vehicles. Of the 916,713 casualties from reported road traffic collisions during the study period, 120,197 were pedestrians. Notably, a higher percentage of pedestrian collisions in urban areas involved electric or hybrid vehicles compared to rural settings.

The findings suggest that the quieter operation of electric vehicles, which makes them less audible against urban background noise, could be contributing to increased pedestrian risk. This issue presents a complex challenge as urban areas are the primary hubs for the adoption of these environmentally friendly vehicles.

The researchers stress that while the transition to electric and hybrid vehicles is critical for reducing air pollution and combating climate change, it should not compromise pedestrian safety. They call for strategies to enhance the audibility of electric vehicles in urban environments and improve road safety measures. Moreover, they emphasize that fostering safer interactions between electric vehicles and pedestrians is crucial as society moves towards more sustainable transportation options.

This study serves as a crucial reminder for policymakers and vehicle manufacturers to consider both environmental impact and public safety in the design and regulation of new technologies. As the shift away from petrol and diesel cars accelerates, ensuring that electric and hybrid vehicles are safe for all road users becomes increasingly important.

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