Electric cars, such as battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), are becoming a common sight in Manhattan Beach and throughout California. California’s record-high gasoline prices are just one of the many reasons why electric cars have become a popular alternative to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. In 2021 just over 250,000 electric drive vehicles were sold in California, representing nearly 18% of all new car sales (and 42.6% of the electric vehicles sold in the U.S.). Today, there are more than 800,000 electric vehicles on California roads.
While they are definitely more environmentally friendly than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, electric cars aren’t necessarily any safer. In fact, there are some situations where an electric car is actually more likely to cause an accident than an ICE vehicle. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at some of the unique dangers of electric cars.
Why Electric Cars Are Dangerous to Pedestrians
Because batteries power them, electric car engines make far less noise than their ICE counterparts. This provides a quieter, more relaxing ride for drivers and passengers. It’s considered to be one of the bigger advantages of electric vehicles. However, this lack of engine noise represents one of the most serious dangers of electric cars for pedestrians and cyclists.
A 2009 NTHSA study entitled “Incidence of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crashes by Hybrid Electric Passenger Vehicles” showed that electric cars were two times more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents than ICE vehicles, especially at low speeds where the difference in sound between electric cars and ICEs is the greatest.
Keeping Pedestrians Safe From Electric Car Accidents
In response to this issue, the federal government passed “The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act” in 2010. The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act is designed to protect individuals dependent on sounds for their safety, such as unsuspecting pedestrians or the visually impaired. It requires all-electric vehicles on U.S. roads to emit a pedestrian alert sound when traveling at speeds below 19mph.
While the law was passed in 2010, implementation was repeatedly delayed until being finalized in 2018. The rules were intended to go into effect in 2020, but the pandemic delayed that until this year. And while the regulations may reduce the risk, they certainly don’t eliminate it.
Driver-assist systems, such as those found in certain Tesla models, can also present a danger to pedestrians and other drivers on the road. The technology used for these driver-assist systems isn’t always able to safely control an electric vehicle in all situations. If the driver isn’t paying attention they may not be able to take manual control of the vehicle in time to prevent an accident.
When it comes to avoiding accidents involving pedestrians and electric car drivers, it’s important for drivers and pedestrians alike to know and obey the rules of the road. Electric car drivers need to be aware of the fact that a pedestrian or cyclist may not hear their vehicle approaching and be ready to act if they don’t. Pedestrians and cyclists can reduce the risk of accidents with an electric vehicle by staying aware of what’s happening around them and avoiding distracting behaviors, such as texting.
Dangers Faced by Electric Car Drivers in Accidents
Battery fires are another one of the dangers of electric cars. The lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that power electric cars contain volatile materials that react violently when exposed to moisture. Moisture causes the chemicals to heat up, igniting the battery, which can burn at temperatures of over 840 degrees. In addition, a damaged battery can put paramedics, tow truck operators, and other personnel who respond to electric vehicle accidents at risk of electrocution.
Pedestrians’ Rights After an Electric Vehicle Accident
If you are a pedestrian who has been injured in an accident caused by the negligent actions of an electric car driver, you may be able to recover compensation for the damages caused by your accident-related injuries by filing an accident injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Damages in a pedestrian injury accident involving an electric car can include current and anticipated medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering.
If a family member has been killed in an electric car accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Damages in a wrongful death claim in California can include funeral and burial expenses, unpaid medical bills, loss of income, loss of benefits, loss of companionship, and more.
Speak to a Manhattan Beach Pedestrian Accident Attorney About Your Electric Car Accident
If you’ve been injured in an accident with an electric vehicle, contact the Law Offices of Scott Dinsmore, APC without delay.
The Manhattan Beach personal injury lawyers at Law Offices of Scott Dinsmore, APC have been fighting on behalf of California injury victims, consumers, and businesses for over 30 years. We work diligently to protect the rights of clients who have suffered physical, emotional, and financial hardships as a result of the wrongful actions or bad decisions of another. Our lawyers have recovered significant settlements for clients who have been injured in a wide range of car accidents, including over $1 million for a pedestrian who suffered a brain injury in a cross-walk accident.
Contact the law offices of Scott Dinsmore APC through our website or call us at (310) 318-1220 to schedule a free consultation with a Manhattan Beach pedestrian accident attorney to learn about your legal rights to compensation after an accident.