Quiet Hybrid Cars Put Pedestrians at Risk
Hear that noise? No? Then you could be in big trouble.
One of the unique features of electric and hybrid cars is that they are quiet - too quiet, sometimes. When these cars are traveling at low speeds, pedestrians are in danger because they cannot hear the vehicles approaching.
After years of delays, the U.S. Department of Transportation is finally requiring electric and hybrid vehicles traveling at less than 18.6 miles per hour to sound an alarm through a speaker to caution nearby pedestrians and others, according to a report by carbuzz.com. The sound alert is not necessary at higher speeds because tire and wind noise provide an audible warning.
"We all depend on our senses to alert us to possible danger," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a report by The Associated Press. "With more, quieter hybrid and electrical cars on the road, the ability for all pedestrians to hear as well as see the cars becomes an important factor of reducing the risk of possible crashes and improving safety."
New regulations will take years to go into effect
While protecting people is a noble objective, automakers still have until 2020 to fully comply with the new regulations, carbuzz.com reported. An estimated 530,000 vehicles will be equipped with the mandatory safety feature by then, which could prevent 2,400 injuries annually. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration predicts the cost to the auto industry will be $40 million annually, but as much as $320 million will be saved because of fewer injuries.
In the meantime, though, that leaves more than 4 million electric and hybrid vehicles already operating on the nation's roadways that pose a risk to unwitting pedestrians and others. No matter how careful you are as a pedestrian, your safety depends in part on motorists, including those behind the wheel of an electric or hybrid vehicle. Like anyone else, they could be driving drunk, speeding through a crosswalk or paying more attention to their phone than the road.
When you're the victim of a pedestrian accident, you are likely suffering from major injuries. You could be facing a lengthy rehabilitation while you are out of work and unable to provide for your family. At worst, you have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one. While you are doing your best to cope with physical, mental and emotional issues, an insurance company may try to take advantage of your situation by offering a financial settlement that is far less than you deserve.
Instead of acting out of desperation, protect your interests by contacting Rockville, Maryland, pedestrian accident lawyer Stuart L. Plotnick. The legal team at the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC have been handling cases just like yours for many years in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia.