Pedestrians are twice as likely to be hit by electric cars than by gasoline cars

Pedestrians are twice as likely to be hit by electric cars than by gasoline cars
Pedestrians are twice as likely to be hit by electric cars than by gasoline cars

WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Many people have been surprised when an electric car gently and quietly approaches them while they were walking.

But such an accident can pose a very serious risk to life and limb, and pedestrians could be twice as likely to be hit by an electric or hybrid car as by a gasoline-powered vehicle, researchers reported in the May 21 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

It’s even riskier in urban areas, with people more than three times more likely to be hit by an electric car compared to a gasoline model, the researchers found.

“Drivers of electric or hybrid-electric cars should be wary of pedestrians who may not hear them approaching and may take to the road thinking it is safe to do so, particularly in towns and cities,” said the team led by Phil Edwards, epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“The increased risk to pedestrian safety posed by electric or hybrid-electric cars should be mitigated as governments move to phase out gasoline and diesel cars,” the researchers wrote.

Traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among children and youth, the researchers said, adding that pedestrians account for 1 in 4 traffic deaths.

To study the potential added risk of electric vehicles, researchers analyzed UK data from 2013 to 2017 on pedestrian deaths and the types of vehicles involved in these types of accidents.

During that period, more than 120,000 British pedestrians were killed in a traffic collision, and more than 96,000 were hit by a car or taxi.

Three-quarters of pedestrians (74 percent) had been hit by a gasoline vehicle, compared to just 2 percent of electric or hybrid cars, which is not surprising, given that gasoline vehicles are still very common. More popular.

But after taking into account the number of miles driven, the researchers found that electric and hybrid cars posed a much greater risk to pedestrians than gasoline-powered vehicles.

Average annual pedestrian casualty rates were more than 5 deaths per 100 million miles of road travel for electric cars, compared to just under 2 and a half deaths per 100 million miles for electric cars. gasoline.

That means collisions with pedestrians are twice as likely for electric cars as for gasoline cars, the researchers concluded.

“More pedestrians are injured in Britain by petrol and diesel cars than by electric cars, but compared to petrol and diesel cars, electric cars pose a greater risk to pedestrians and the risk is greater in environments urban,” the team wrote.

The results also did not show an increased risk in rural areas from electric cars, but a tripled risk in urban areas.

“A plausible explanation for our results is that background ambient noise levels differ between urban and rural areas, making EVs less audible to pedestrians in urban areas,” the researchers suggested in a statement. magazine press.

“From a public health perspective, our results should not discourage health-beneficial active forms of transportation, such as walking and cycling,” the team concluded. “Rather, they can be used to ensure that any potential increased risks of road traffic injury are understood and protected against.”

More information

The Governors Highway Safety Association has more information about pedestrian traffic deaths in the United States.

SOURCE: BMJ, press release, May 21, 2024

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