Oh so quiet? Research on accidents involving hybrids

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Pedestrians are about twice as likely to get run over by hybrid cars than other types of automobiles, NPR points out, and, in part, this has been attributed to the fact that, when the cars are being powered by their electric engines, they are very quiet. Too quiet, in fact, according to researchers and even developers who have proposed making the cars noisier as a way to make them safer. Yet, according to a new analysis of National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data on more than 200,000 traffic-related deaths, lack of noise may not be what makes hybrids more dangerous for pedestrians. As NPR reports, the new inquiry reveals that many fatalities in which hybrids were involved took place at speeds of 35 miles per hour or faster—when hybrids are just as noisy as other cars.

The author of the new study, Amy Freeland from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says it’s not clear why hybrids are involved in more pedestrian deaths, but speculates that the high numbers of accidents involving the partial electric cars and pedestrians may be due to the fact that hybrid owners are more likely to live in cities, where there are more people on foot.

Read the full NPR story here.