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There are vehicles that pose a triple risk of running over pedestrians – Executive Summary

There are vehicles that pose a triple risk of running over pedestrians – Executive Summary

Pedestrians are twice as likely to be struck by electric or hybrid vehicles as by combustion vehicles, especially in urban environments, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Plans to phase out vehicles powered by fossil fuel combustion engines and replace them with electric and hybrid vehicles represent a historic step towards reducing air pollution and tackling the climate emergency. But all changes carry risks: There are concerns that trams are more dangerous for pedestrians because they are quieter.

The researchers looked at pedestrians injured by cars or taxis in Great Britain between 2013 and 2017: The study, coordinated by Phil J Edwards of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK, found that during the period under review, accident rates per 100 million The slope is as follows: 5.16 for electric and hybrid vehicles and 2.4 for petrol or diesel vehicles, which indicates a doubling of the collision probability.

After analyzing some 51.5 billion kilometers driven by zero-emission or electric cars, plus a further 4.8 billion kilometers driven by petrol and diesel cars, the conclusion is that electric car drivers are twice as likely to injure someone for every kilometer they travel (1.6). kilometers) compared to combustion cars – the risk in urban areas is tripled.

A report issued by the US Department of Transportation in 2017 already provided similar data: the risk of crashing with zero-emission passenger cars exceeds that of combustion cars by 20%, a figure that rises to 50% in low-speed maneuvers.

The dangerous silence of electric cars

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The study, published by the British newspaper The Guardian, analyzes several factors and concludes that the most important of them is that electric models are quieter at low speeds than gasoline or diesel models – as the lack of noise reduces the unconscious protection of pedestrians. Moreover, electric cars accelerate faster and, due to their higher weight, have slightly longer braking distances.

Phil Edwards, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (London) and lead author of the research, stresses the need for electric vehicle drivers to take special care. According to the study, 916,713 victims were recorded in traffic accidents in the United Kingdom between 2013 and 2017, of whom 120,197 were pedestrians.

Due to their greater presence in the vehicle fleet, diesel and petrol cars were involved in three out of every four accidents, but the relative figures provide another insight. The average crash rate for electric and hybrid vehicles is 5.16 per year per 100 million miles (160 million kilometers), compared to an average of 2.4 for fossil fuel vehicles.

This issue has been identified for years and, in fact, the study is based on data prior to the relevant European Commission decision approved in 2017. Since July 2021, all new hybrid and electric cars have been sold within the EU. It should have an audio warning system when driving at low speeds.

The device should sound when the vehicle is driven up to approximately 20 km/h and when reversing. This audio alert should make a whistle-like sound, between 56 and 75 decibels in volume.

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