Study finds that hybrids are safer in accidents but more dangerous to pedestrians

A recent study has shown that drivers behind the wheel of hybrid vehicles are 25% less likely to get injured in a crash then those driving conventional vehicles. The study was conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Data Institute’s VP Matt More says weight is the biggest contributing factor, as “Hybrids on average are 10 percent heavier than their standard counterparts. This extra mass gives them an advantage in crashes that their conventional twins don’t have.”

Included in the data are over 25 hybrid-conventional vehicle pairs released in 2003-2011 model years. Not included in the study are some of the most popular hybrid (or EV) models, such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Chevy Volt, Ford Focus Electric, and Nissan Leaf. The data institute recognized the variables in the study such as whom, how and when the vehicles are being driven. Not including the most popular hybrid models may have its justification in focusing only on vehicles that are not only sold as hybrids, but it would be interesting to see what the data would reveal if it were based on the most common hybrids on the road.

On the other side, the data institute also conducted a separate study finding hybrids may be 20 percent more likely to injure a pedestrian in a crash, versus the conventional models. This is attributed to pedestrians not being able to hear approaching vehicles operating on electric only. Japan currently requires the car have an alert, which will be a requirement in the states in the next three years. Nissan’s Leaf already comes equipped with the technology, and was not included in this study.

– By: Alexandra Koken

Source: Automotive News