The Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has recently conducted two different studies that were focused on exploring the safety capabilities of hybrid cars in the market. These studies used some of the car models that are available in hybrid and conventional gas-powered version. This simply means that the car models such as the Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius, and Honda Insight are excluded since these are offered as hybrid versions only.
The first study conducted by the data institute focused on the hybrid car’s capability to prevent its driver from incurring serious injuries in the event of collision. The study’s results revealed that about 25 percent of the hybrid car drivers would less likely obtain injuries during crashes compared to the driver of conventional vehicles.
Researchers have pointed out that the result simply implies that hybrid cars are safer compared to conventional vehicles in the event of collision since the hybrid models tested are usually 10 percent heavier than their conventional counterparts. The increased weight of the hybrid vehicle has improved its resilience to crashes and this could be considered as a greater advantage.
The second study conducted by the data institute focused on the probability of the same hybrid and conventional car models to be involved in pedestrian crashes. The results of the study revealed that 20 percent of the hybrids would most likely hit pedestrians and cause injuries to these individuals. The institute pointed out that a hybrid has a higher probability of hitting pedestrians since the vehicle becomes very silent when running in electric mode. Due to this, pedestrians usually don\’t hear these vehicles coming. So instead of stopping, the pedestrians would simply continue crossing the street and eventually got hit by hybrid cars passing by.
Based on the result of the second study, the data institute suggests that regulators should require hybrid car manufacturers to install devices on the vehicle that emit audible sounds when running on electric mode. By doing this, pedestrians would be more aware that a hybrid car approaches. So instead of crossing the street, they could stop for a while and allow the vehicle to pass by.