The dangers of electric cars for pedestrians

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As the world becomes more environmentally aware, the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) is soaring. However, in recent years, concerns have been raised about the potential safety risk electric cars pose to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians.

In this article, personal injury solicitor Zoe Morgan from our Swindon team, who specialises in road traffic accident claims, explains more about electric cars and why they could be a danger to pedestrians.

Why are electric cars so popular?

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), registrations of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) have risen 23% and hybrids (HEVs) have increased by 22%. Experts say  the electric vehicles market will reach £15.16bn this year.

Concerns about CO2 emissions and their contribution to the greenhouse effect, which causes climate change, is driving the growing numbers of EVs and HEVs on our roads.

Another factor is the government’s plans to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.

Do electric cars cause more accidents?

A study published last year reported that electric cars are involved in 50% more traffic accidents than petrol and diesel cars. It concluded that driver behaviour was to blame for the high number of electric car accidents due to drivers not being used to the fast and sharp acceleration of EVs.

Other studies raise worries about the fact that EVs are much quieter than petrol and diesel vehicles. This is a growing concern for pedestrians and in particular, for blind and partially sighted pedestrians.

EVs can sometimes be almost silent, especially at lower speeds, making it very difficult to hear their approach.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) reports that a 2013 study found that pedestrians with normal vision, blind pedestrians, and those with visual-impairments were able to detect the sound of a traditional, internal combustion engine vehicle from a distance of approximately 36m. However, this reduced to 14m when detecting the sound of an EV.

Despite noise-emitting devices (sometimes called acoustic vehicle alerting systems or AVAS) being made mandatory for all new UK-registered electric vehicles since July 2021, there are claims that some drivers are switching them off, leading to people with vision impairment or low vision fearing their lives are being put in danger.

Zoe Morgan says:

“The rise in the numbers of EVs on our roads will inevitably lead to an increase in electric car accidents involving pedestrians. We would urge people to always exercise caution when they are out and about. With EVs becoming more commonplace, it’s vital not to just rely on your ears when crossing roads, but to look both ways and check the coast is clear.

“Electric car drivers also need to ensure they are extra vigilant. There will always be the possibility that a pedestrian will walk out in front of you because they haven’t heard your approach.”

What should you do after an electric car accident?

If you or a family member has been seriously injured while out walking or crossing the road, and been involved in an accident with an electric car or EV, you may be able to make a pedestrian accident compensation claim.

Novum Law’s team of specialist personal injury solicitors can help you claim for a pedestrian accident wherever it happens, including accidents on public roads, private land, and car parks. We can also help with hit and run accidents and fatal pedestrian accidents.

Over the years, we have secured millions of pounds in compensation for our clients, and most of those were achieved through expert negotiation without the need to go to court.

To start the process of making a No Win No Fee pedestrian accident compensation claim, contact us on Freephone 0800 884 0777, email or complete our online enquiry form for a free, no-obligation chat.

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