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Utah State Prof Says Hybrids Don't Kill More Pedestrians

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the hard-experiment-to-re-run dept.

Power 187

thecarchik writes "Preliminary data seemed to show that hybrids were more likely to be involved in pedestrian crashes or hit cyclists. But now EV enthusiast Mark Larson (he's also an Emeritus Professor of Spanish at Utah State University) has analyzed some additional data and found this not to be the case at all. He used 1994-2008 figures from the Fatality Reporting System maintained by the NHTSA and found that the rate of pedestrian fatalities has in fact fallen over that same period."

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Well Fuck... (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010328)

Do you have any idea what welding ramming spikes to my Prius will do to my mileage?

SUVs Driven by Fat American Fuck-Faces (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010356)

It's been my experience that fat American fuck-faces are the most dangerous thing on the road.

I'm an Iraqi and you fat American tubs of shit have been driving your gay ass SUV down my streets blowing shit up ever since you invaded my country to steal my oil.

Fuck You.

Flawed (2, Insightful)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010368)

Ugh. Lies, damn lies, and statistics. I don't really care whether EVs are more dangerous to blind pedestrians or not, but this is just bad statistics aimed at producing a desired result. The claim is that electric vehicles will not be more dangerous, because hybrids at low speeds are also quiet and there has been no significant change in pedestrian fatalities.

From that one sentence summary, the fundamental flaw in this study should be apparent.

Re:Flawed (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011072)

When my dad taught me to drive he told me to keep my window down (if possible) and listen for the tyre noise of overtaking vehicles. That was 25 years ago when engines were louder now, but it made sense even then. I ride a bike to work and for me tyre noise from cars is much more important than engine noise. You don't get much engine noise from an automatic which has shifted up under low load.

One thing which did happen though was one night we had gone out for dinner. I had left my phone or something in the car so I went back to get it. There was an empty parking space beside our corolla so I opened the drivers side door and started rummaging. Quite suddenly there was this prius right beside me and almost hitting the car door. It had snuck up on me because in slow driving situations you do listen for an engine at idle, and for fan noise, etc. I didn't hear that. The thing was very quiet.

Everything is relative and I think that as electric cars become more common the total amount of noise will decrease. We will become accustomed to the lower overall level of noise. Towns which have signs asking truck drivers to avoid the use of engine brakes will replace those with signs banning the use of regenerative braking. Homeowners will complain about the sound of cruddy AC motor controllers roaring past their houses. Normality will have returned.

Re:Flawed (2, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#33012028)

When my dad taught me to drive he told me to keep my window down (if possible) and listen for the tyre noise of overtaking vehicles.

If you drive with the window down you'll be hearing wind noise and maybe your own tyres. Also, engines were much noisier back then, so why the hell would you listen for the tyres?

If you want to detect overtaking vehicles then that's what mirrors and your neck are for.

Re:Flawed (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33012050)

When my dad taught me to drive he told me to keep my window down (if possible) and listen for the tyre noise of overtaking vehicles.

If you drive with the window down you'll be hearing wind noise and maybe your own tyres. Also, engines were much noisier back then, so why the hell would you listen for the tyres?

If you want to detect overtaking vehicles then that's what mirrors and your neck are for.

As I said, tyres give you information about a moving vehicle, even if the engine is running slow. Of course you have to use your eyes, but there are situations (especially on my bike) where I want to keep my eyes on the road ahead and I rely on other senses to tell me what is going on around me.

The study just involves blind people (5, Informative)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010370)

The summary fails to mention that the liked study only focuses on blind people. So blind pedestrians are no more likely to get hit by a hybrid then full sighted pedestrians.

Re:The study just involves blind people (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010414)

The summary fails to mention that the liked study only focuses on blind people. So blind pedestrians are no more likely to get hit by a hybrid then full sighted pedestrians.

Unless there are a lot more hybrids on the road than I think, the conclusion you mention is drivel - there aren't enough hybrids to produce any meaningful change in the statistics yet.

Re:The study just involves blind people (4, Informative)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010630)

It's not the only problem with the study. The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990. It's only very recently that many municipalities have made significant changes to accommodate the blind (and others.) Further, there have been recent changes to cars that make them safer for pedestrians (primarily in Europe, but some of the design changes have come to the US as well.)

Without attempting to correct for these factors, the study is worthless. It can say nothing beyond the fact that fewer blind people have died in traffic fatalities since 1994. (I must admit that I've not had a chance to read this fellow's work, although I did read the original NHTSA study.)

Re:The study just involves blind people (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010804)

Further, there have been recent changes to cars that make them safer for pedestrians (primarily in Europe, but some of the design changes have come to the US as well.)

As someone with no interest in cars beyond when they almost run over me, I've obviously not paid attention, so could you give a quick summary, or point me in the right direction of what to search for? Googleing "pedestrian safety improvements" wasn't really helpful.

Re:The study just involves blind people (4, Funny)

johanatan (1159309) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010960)

I bet it's the wedge shape of many cars nowadays. When you hit a pedestrian, it just clips their legs out from under them and they flip harmlessly over the roof of the car.

Re:The study just involves blind people (1)

maxwells_deamon (221474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011180)

There are a number of things that have been done over the last 40 years. Hood ornaments and mirrors now fold. Wire antennas removed.

Lower and softer hoods and grills...

Of course, some of these have been further pushed by fuel economy and style.

Re:The study just involves blind people (1)

noisyinstrument (1624451) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011638)

Another which is most obvious with small cars now days is the hood (bonnet for Australians and other colonies) is not flush with the top of the engine. The engine is recessed somewhat to allow for a crumple on impact.

Being hit by a Toyota Yaris is like flopping backwards onto a down pillow.

Re:The study just involves blind people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011832)

Being hit by a Toyota Yaris is like flopping backwards onto a down pillow.

That would make great advertising copy.

Re:The study just involves blind people (5, Funny)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011666)

Indeed. I had to switch to a truck because I got tired of having to back over 'em as they crawled for help.

Re:The study just involves blind people (2, Insightful)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010832)

Correction, it could say that the issue with hybrids running quieter is a relatively insignificant factor in pedestrian deaths, and if you want to reduce that, then the legislation should perhaps look into more significant factors.

Re:The study just involves blind people (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011634)

Right. Like maybe the famous Prius brakes? Apparently they got them when they purchased on old Audi 5000 factory.

Re:The study just involves blind people (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010684)

there aren't enough hybrids to produce any meaningful change in the statistics yet.

There are statistical test for this -- whether the change is significant or not. I assume the authors of the study considered this (being scientists).

If you want to claim the opposite, you have to provide some evidence for your claim that it is not significant.

Re:The study just involves blind people (4, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010746)

What scientists? OK, the guy is a professor - of spanish. His entire 'study' seems to be 'some cars are now hybrid, and pedestrian deaths went down recently, therefore hybrid cars are not a problem for pedestrians'.

Re:The study just involves blind people (5, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011490)

    You know, I've seen an increasing trend in that. "Experts" have been coming out with "studies" in fiends. Because they have "Professor" or "Doctor" somewhere near their name, they are immediately presumed to be experts in the field that they are discussing. It rarely takes much research, sometimes just reading the article, to find out that their area of expertise has nothing to do with the topic of the study.

    The article does hit both sides of it though, which is good. I couldn't find what he is currently teaching though. He's listed to be an instructor in the USU Art Department. [usu.edu] His USU profile page [usu.edu] doesn't really indicate much. The indicated department doesn't show him as being on the faculty nor staff. [usu.edu] . That would be consistent with the "Emeritus" part of his title. He was a professor. He was in the art department, which doesn't seem to include any language arts.

    I did find some rough name matches, so his art field may have been photography. Beyond that, I couldn't find anything about this guy.

    So, his credentials went from sounding like an expert in the field, to "Mark Larson, retired art teacher", or more simply "Mark Larson, bored retired guy".

 

Re:The study just involves blind people (1, Insightful)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011628)

That is what you get when academic institutions encourage intellectual relativism under the guise of pluralism. Students are encouraged not to be too polemical and professors are encouraged to publish papers in other fields for synergy. Science is not a fucking democracy [scienceblogs.com] .

Re:The study just involves blind people (2, Interesting)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010790)

He's a professor of Spanish, which isn't really a scientist, and is a degree that probably came with a light load of mathematics courses.

He doesn't attempt to correct for any other factors that may have led to a drop in pedestrian fatalities. All he's proven is a very casual correlation.

The original NHTSA has a more credible methodology:

It concluded that hybrids like the Toyota Prius were involved in pedestrian crashes at a rate of 0.9 percent, half again as high as the 0.6 percent rate for gasoline vehicles. Hybrids were also twice as likely to have hit cyclists, at a rate of 0.6 percent versus 0.3 percent.

The main problem with the above is that data on VIN numbers are only available from 12 states.

Re:The study just involves blind people (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010870)

Hybrids were also twice as likely to have hit cyclists, at a rate of 0.6 percent versus 0.3 percent.

Yuppies maiming yuppies.

It's a good thing, of course. Nature always has its assholes, and so needs other assholes to keep them in check since the rest of the population is not being self-righteous, pseudo-altruist, bike-riding, iPhone buying, Swine flu-fearing, Prius-driving douchebags.

Re:The study just involves blind people (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011000)

Yes, because doucebaggery requires death. When's yours again?

Re:The study just involves blind people (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011188)

It takes much more to be a douchebag in real life. Like Riding a fucking skinny-tired bike in neon-colored gear and a dickhead helmoet while ignoring the 2-ton vehicles you're playing chicken with along the side of 4-lane streets

Canonical example. [youtube.com]

Re:The study just involves blind people (2, Informative)

sodul (833177) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011438)

Was the NHTSA study corrected for 'location' ?

A lot of googlers drive priuses because of the $3k+ incentive Goggle was giving at the time. Also a lot of Googlers ride bikes with complete disregard of their own, or others, safety. Add to that these bikes are infamous for dropping their chain and hence the only braking system while going downhill at an intersection (they're cheap cruiser bikes).

I don't have any numbers but cyclist/pedestrian meet prius/SUV was quite frequent when I worked there. They even put buckets of small orange flags at street crossing for you to wave "don't run me over", and even got a red light installed by the city a the main parking lot entrance to reduce accident.

This example come to mind because I was biking to work and the concentration of priuses and adults with no clue on how to bike safely where a concern for my own safety.

Re:The study just involves blind people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011718)

He's a professor of Spanish, which isn't really a scientist,

Why, Mr. Hardburn, thank you kindly for helping us out with that. It's been quite the puzzler!

Re:The study just involves blind people (4, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011746)

Hybrids were also twice as likely to have hit cyclists, at a rate of 0.6 percent versus 0.3 percent.

I think the evidence is clear on this one - the problem is that the hybrid drivers are green - green with envy that is. They are jealous the cyclists are even better for the environment than they are.

Indeed - hybrid's target market. (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010700)

I'm going to speculate that the hybrid's target market is not representative of the overall road users.

Are your V8, Super/Turbo Charged street race car driving types buying these hybrids?

Who poses the greater risk to pedestrians?

Re:Indeed - hybrid's target market. (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010770)

Who poses the greater risk to pedestrians?

The one that's more likely to be tweeting while driving.

Re:Indeed - hybrid's target market. (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010872)

Agreed...

My post didn't express my point well..

My point was just that the current purchasers are most likely not in the highest risk group.

Re:The study just involves blind people (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010734)

Right. The study has no weight. You would have to discount every factor that could cause a decrease in blind pedestrian fatalities that is more significant than the introduction of hybrids... and there's a LOT of more significant factors.

The study and conclusion is so meaningless, it got me wondering about what goes into this, behind the scenes. Is it an academic that has some desire to use ANY sort of data to push the idea that hybrids aren't dangerous? A study funded by somebody with financial interest? Is it somebody that actually thinks this was a relevant and meaningful conclusion? How many studies are really just as meaningless, if you dig into the details? Kind of scary.

Re:The study just involves blind people (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011130)

I'd say that trying to draw meaningful conclusions from a study of traffic fatalities is even more doomed(without substantial care) than you describe.

1994-2008 is 12 years. Any changes in quality of trauma surgery, and emergency responder response time?

What were average vehicle masses doing during that time? Were there any changes(either regulatory demands or industry shifts) in things like bumper geometry and height?

Most importantly, what about non-fatal incidents? There are some pretty ghastly ways to not-quite-die in a car accident, particularly if the medics scrape you off the pavement before you bleed out. With possibilities like "massive spinal column injury" or "so brain damaged you are good for drooling into your sock and burdening your family" on the table, 'not dead' is far from equaling 'not endangered'...

Re:The study just involves blind people (1)

igadget78 (1698420) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011138)

... there aren't enough hybrids to produce any meaningful change in the statistics yet.

True ... but I wouldn't worry about your statistics ... 63% of the time they are made up anyways.

Besides ... isn't this the same college that brought us Cold Fusion [guardian.co.uk] ?

Re:The study just involves blind people (2, Informative)

portforward (313061) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011710)

No. That would be the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Utah State University is located in Logan.

Re:The study just involves blind people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010598)

The summary fails to mention that the liked study only focuses on blind people. So blind pedestrians are no more likely to get hit by a hybrid then full sighted pedestrians.

Boy... I'd hate to be the guy sucks worse at not being hit by a Prius than a blind guy.

Re:The study just involves blind people (0, Flamebait)

ignavus (213578) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011460)

The summary fails to mention that the liked study only focuses on blind people.

In Soviet Russia blind people focus on the ... oh wait, they can't.

This proves nothing. (2, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010376)

These stats have nothing to do with hybrids specifically, but just the trend in traffic fatalities. In my area, and I suspect most others, the percentage of cars that are hybrids would be in the low single digits. Looking at overall traffic fatalities and trying to draw a conclusion about something that is such an insignificant factor is useless.

TFA writer is just an EV fanoi.

Re:This proves nothing. (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010398)

Err... that should be fanboi...sigh.

This proves AQ are nice guys (5, Funny)

ewn1453 (1837408) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010788)

Preliminary data seemed to show that Al-Qaeda were violent terrorists. But now AQ enthusiast Mark Larson (he's also an Emeritus Professor of Spanish at Utah State University) has analyzed some additional data and found this not be the case at all. He used 1988-2001 crime data from the Uniform Crime Report and found that the murder rate in fact fell over that same period.

Darwinism (0, Troll)

feedayeen (1322473) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010380)

Natural Selection removes the slower and less attentive pedestrians out of the gene pool.

Re:Darwinism (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010548)

The lawyers hired by the family members of said (former) less attentive pedestrians will remove the greenbacks from the hybrid-drivers and hybrid manufacturers.

IOW: the less attentive, and those they put in charge, always have the last laugh, because they are larger in number

Natural Selection no longer stands on its own. There's a new principle in play called the principal of affirmative action specifically in the form of the law of lawsuits, to help level the playing field and give the inattentive, less intelligent, less talented, etc, an advantage.

For centuries, the inattentive and less intelligent have been oppressed by the attentive, smart, and more talented individuals in all endeavors.

But the new way is in the process of totally eliminating that. In fact, when all is said and done, the slower, less intelligent, less attentive will have the advantage, and they will be the ones that survive and reproduce, thanks to concerted efforts of the public educational systems to make sure that artificial handicaps and obstacles are placed in the way.

Re:Darwinism (0, Offtopic)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010618)

It's called communism, and it's making a big comeback. You know, the whole, "I'm dumb, so give me money" angle.

Fight it at your peril. As you said, you have to go up against superior numbers.

Re:Darwinism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011026)

I think you're confusing communism for greed. That or you're karma whoring by throwing in buzz words. Communism has nothing to do with suing people. In fact, if you were in a communist country, you'd likely be unable to sue. I don't remember Russia having a really robust legal system, after all.

Re:Darwinism (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011170)

The question you've got to ask yourself, then, is why the biggest supporters of communism and communist ideals seem to the the ones who have the most to lose if it were ever implemented earnestly. People with massive fortunes. Like George Soros, Warren buffet, etc.

Four of the five wealthiest members of congress voted for the health care redistribution bill.

Re:Darwinism (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011194)

Well, the basis of communist philosophy is there should be no private property.

The health care bill did not abolish private property, it is fundamentally socialist, not communist.

Obviously "redistribution" does not make much sense if you abolish private property, there is nothing in the first place to transfer, the government owns it all.

I doubt any of those people would support a measure abolishing private property.

Also, it's not like the health care bill hurts them. The Health care bill hurts employees and small business, not big corporations and people with fortunes like Soros, Buffet, etc.

HTH: the people with big fortunes are exactly the people the health care bill is least harmful too; their support for the measure is not surprising.

Re:Darwinism (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011174)

Communism is a different road to possibly an at least superficially similar outcome. Neither promote natural selection, except for the small number of people sly enough to get into protected government positions.

A legal system allows the inattentive pedestrian to sue the hybrid driver and take away the $$$, OR a communist system prevents there from being a hybrid driver or person with the $$$ in the first place (it follows since they don't have $$$, there's nothing to sue for).

Either way anyone wanting to drive a hybrid is going to get hit by red tape.

Re:Darwinism (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011022)

Somehow your comment, and the fortune, tied nicely together: "I don't do it for the money. -- Donald Trump, Art of the Deal"

Re:Darwinism (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010810)

The summary completely misses that the focus of the article is on blind pedestrians, but if you did RTFA you would know slow and attentive have little to do with the issue here (although the article mentions bicyclists, which I doubt is relevant to the blind pedestrian issue).

Specifically, cars running on electric power are quiet compared to a car running on gasoline, so hybrids and EVs have a safety flaw (however minor). Sure, I doubt you were entirely serious in your comment, but this is a serious issue that many seem to take lightly (such as those providing the half-baked statistical studies). Car companies are working on a solution, so soon enough your comment may apply to the remaining casualties.

Re:Darwinism (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011128)

Natural Selection removes the slower and less attentive pedestrians out of the gene pool.

How does Natural Selection handle the slower, less attentive people who are traveling inside metal shells that trample faster, more attentive people at high speed?

weres the real "data" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010382)

just cause pedestrian accidents are happening less often, does not mean, that hybrids are not more likely to be involved, the data doesnt seem to involve hybrids but all cars, and over a span not involving hybrids. which doesnt 'prove' that hybrids are making pedestrian accidents happen less. course i truthfully cant see how hybrids would be more likely to have pedestrian accidents, unless the regenerative brakin is just inhumane

this whole story is crap (0, Troll)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010388)

Ok TFA isn't bad, in that it makes clear professor Larsons analysis is basically crap. A former professor of spanish failing at stats doesn't warrant a slashdot posting. Overall rates of accidents involving pedestrians are down over the last 10 years, some car makers are working on making sure their vehicles will be audible, and proposed legislation is mostly crap. None of this is news.

Emeritus Professor of Spanish? (5, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010406)

How about data analysis by someone who isn't an "enthusiast" and by someone who is qualified?

"...rate of pedestrian fatalities has in fact fallen over that same period" yes, we've been designing pedestrian safe bumpers and hoods in that period, cross walks are safer with better lights and audible warnings.

As someone who was clipped by a Prius in a parking lot when it was on battery, the damned things are quiet as hell and sneak up on you like a ICE powered automobile doesn't.

Re:Emeritus Professor of Spanish? (4, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010486)

As someone who was clipped by a Prius in a parking lot when it was on battery, the damned things are quiet as hell and sneak up on you like a ICE powered automobile doesn't.

There is a simple technique that electric vehicle drivers could practice, that would solve this quietness problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowing_a_raspberry [wikipedia.org]

All electric vehicle drivers should be required to do this while driving.

It's just like requiring folks to buckle their safety belts while riding in a car.

Kinda sorta . . .

Re:Emeritus Professor of Spanish? (5, Funny)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010636)

There is a simple technique that electric vehicle drivers could practice, that would solve this quietness problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowing_a_raspberry [wikipedia.org]

I drive a hybrid, and I find I get just the right noise level by wedging a playing card between my tire and the wheel well.

Re:Emeritus Professor of Spanish? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010712)

How about drivers get some sort of machine to do this instead? That way they won't be distracted.. an even bigger safety win.

Re:Emeritus Professor of Spanish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010986)

There is a simpler technique that any vehicle drivers could practice that would solve any fake "quietness problem": be responsible for where and how you drive your damn car!

Re:Emeritus Professor of Spanish? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010758)

I don't know if sound is that much of an improvement, what fraction of cars to people look at when they hear one in a parking lot? Pedestrians should be looking both ways before crossing traffic lanes, whether they hear something or not.

It's too bad that we can't expect people to be good drivers, good driving is probably the best safety measure of all.

I hope whatever measure is taken doesn't make EVs annoying. I hate vehicles that have those piercingly loud and high pitched backup sounds.

Re:Emeritus Professor of Spanish? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010844)

Novel idea here, look before you step out on the street, not just listen.

Re:Emeritus Professor of Spanish? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011008)

As someone who was clipped by a Prius in a parking lot when it was on battery, the damned things are quiet as hell and sneak up on you like a ICE powered automobile doesn't.

As someone who is 48 and has typical declining hearing, let me tell you -- pay more attention. I'm not being glib, I'm serious. Hybirds (very popular here) are just your warm-up for an inevitability of age, or simple mis-attention from iPod or cell. Look around you when walking in driving zones. I'm having to do it a lot more than I used to.

And cars are quieter now than twenty-thirty years ago. Watch out for that in stats. The idle of many new cars is just lost in nearby street noise.

loud pipes save lives (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010420)

'nuff said

Re:loud pipes save lives (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011586)

Yep. The best thing you can do is remove your muffler completely. Or get one of those spiffy coffee-can looking exhausts. That way everyone can hear you coming and get out of your way! (Even if they drew the more logical conclusion in the latter case -- that the horrendous noise is a weed-whacker gone mad -- they're still going to get out of the way!)

Hmm (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010462)

Spanish professor?

Let's spot the non-sequiturs. (5, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010538)

Let's keep in mind this is a professor emeritus of Spanish. He evidently doesn't know jack about quantitative analysis.

If silent hybrid vehicles posed a threat to pedestrians, he reasoned, then the number of pedestrian deaths should have risen since 2000, when the first hybrids were sold.

Well there's your problem right there. You can't identify the contribution due to hybrids by looking at the total. There are on the order of what, 100 million vehicles on the road, and maybe 1% of them are hybrids. So if pedestrian kills by the other 99% of vehicles drop by 1%, hybrids could be 99 times more deadly than them and you wouldn't notice from this guy's analysis.

Second, Larson really only addresses half the issue. Fatalities from accidents are one data point, but injuries would be another--and are far more common than deaths.

What he said.

Re:Let's spot the non-sequiturs. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010780)

Let's keep in mind this is a professor emeritus of Spanish. He evidently doesn't know jack about quantitative analysis.

Yes... I doubt a professor of Spanish would know much about Chemistry, but I don't see how it's relevant to the situation at hand.....

There are on the order of what, 100 million vehicles on the road, and maybe 1% of them are hybrids. So if pedestrian kills by the other 99% of vehicles drop by 1%, hybrids could be 99 times more deadly than them and you wouldn't notice from this guy's analysis.

In the US that's true. In other countries, there are much larger proportions of hybrids.

If there is such a small number of hybrids on the road in the US, maybe it's not a good idea to be making guesses about what the safety issues could be?

And only rely on solid data with statistically significant results, for guiding policy?

Presumably, it costs something to design and install noise makers in all these vehicles. Maybe it's not the right idea. Maybe there is something else that could be done for the same cost, that would provide better safety benefits for pedestrians than noisemakers.

For example: rather than noise alerting the pedestrian to the presence of a vehicle, noise alerting the driver to the presence of the pedestrian.

Re:Let's spot the non-sequiturs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011136)

Yes... I doubt a professor of Spanish would know much about Chemistry, but I don't see how it's relevant to the situation at hand.....

Talk about your non-sequitors.

Why exactly is it irrelevant to question a Spanish professor's qualifications in statistical analysis?

Re:Let's spot the non-sequiturs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011794)

Talk about your non-sequitors.

Good idea - what are they?

Re:Let's spot the non-sequiturs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011190)

Your quantitative analysis comment, was it sarcasm (hard to distinguish sarcasm in written word)or ignorance? Quantitative Analysis is a field of Chemistry, but that is not the only place the term is used. It is used in many other areas and the broader definition of the word basically means analyzing numbers as opposed to quantitative analysis which is more touchy feely.

Re:Let's spot the non-sequiturs. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010936)

You can't identify the contribution due to hybrids by looking at the total. So if pedestrian kills by the other 99% of vehicles drop by 1%, hybrids could be 99 times more deadly than them and you wouldn't notice from this guy's analysis.

He hasn't asked why there have been fewer pedestrian deaths:

For example, van services for the elderly and disabled may be taking more of the most vulnerable pedestrians off the road.

Maybe hybrid drivers are more aware? (0, Troll)

voss (52565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010560)

Someone who buys are care for its fuel economy
tend to be more aware of the world around them than people who buy hotrods.

Or at least they are aware enough to realize that killing pedestrians
looks bad to the other soccer moms.

Re:Maybe hybrid drivers are more aware? (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010868)

Uh, no. The Spanish professor didn't say this was relevant, so clearly you have no idea what statistics are.

Come back when you know what a desviación estándar is.

Re:Maybe hybrid drivers are more aware? (1, Insightful)

B4light (1144317) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011010)

Holy fuck, how do you have a 5 digit user ID and type so badly?

In other news... (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010738)

In other news my Biology teacher thinks that Beowulf is a Shakespearean play. Something tells me that a Spanish teacher isn't an expert on analyzing statistics, hence why he teaches Spanish, not math or science.

Re:In other news... (1)

Yakasha (42321) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010942)

In other news my Biology teacher thinks that Beowulf is a Shakespearean play. Something tells me that a Spanish teacher isn't an expert on analyzing statistics, hence why he teaches Spanish, not math or science.

His entire report was in English

Re:In other news... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011804)

His entire report was in English

And the relevance of that is what, pray tell?

Hybrids Don't Kill Pedestrians... (-1, Troll)

andersen (10283) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010752)

Taking my cue from the NRA:
Hybrids Don't Kill Pedestrians... People Kill Pedestrians...

you don't kill MORE pedestrians. (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010800)

you kill BETTER pedestrians.

it's an improvement.

The fuck? (4, Insightful)

Spit (23158) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010970)

It's not a problem with the cars, it's with dumbshits who don't look where they fucking walk. I ride a bicycle everywhere and it makes zero noise even when freewheeling, not that it matters I can ding my bell til my thumb falls off and many won't hear it because of the ipod craze.

People step out on the road in front of me all the time, maybe not realizing the speed I'm moving at when they last looked up the road, but it's still their fault. There are two ways to deal with this problem: Screaming at the top of your lungs at pedestrians "get of da focken road jackass!" or alternatively, pedestrians can take responsibility for their own personal safety and look with their fucking eyeballs.

Re:The fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011148)

I'm not sure and I might be wrong... but AFAICT blind people can't "look where they fucking walk"

Re:The fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011186)

Blind people don't step out into oncoming traffic either.

Re:The fuck? (1)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011478)

It's not a problem with the cars, it's with dumbshits who don't look where they fucking walk.

FTFA, "The fear is that electric vehicles are so silent that blind people can't hear them coming,"

Am I a bad person for laughing when I read the parent thread?

I would say the problem is both (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011512)

As I use my bicycle to go to work, I have the same problem as you : pedestrian being idiot (and i would note , car thinking they have a priority over cyclist , no respecting right of passage but that's for another slashdot story). But those damn hybrid are really quiet too. While with a colleague which was getting her car out of parking he only noise I could hear was the strident "touting" noise the constructor added to the car. While going *forward* there was no noise at all. As pedestrian (and cyclist) are USED to be warned by noise, it doesn't come off as surprising that they get caught pant down. Constructor should simply add a noise to the vehicules, something akin to an ICE motor runing noise.

Re:I would say the problem is both (2, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011756)

Constructor should simply add a noise to the vehicules, something akin to an ICE motor runing noise.

Oh its going to be far worse than that. Think ringtones - for your car.

Re:The fuck? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011572)

No, you're wrong. Our ears are a very good omni-directional object detection device. Make a two-ton hunk of moving metal silent, and I won't be able to detect it as well when it's behind me, or I visually just didn't see it (yes, it happens). My ears, on the other hand, will very quickly tell me that there's a loud two-ton hunk of moving metal making noise moving near me. And no, I don't wear any headphones or music devices while out walking/bicycling.

You blame it all on people not looking, but there's no reason to eliminate a major sensory channel warning of danger. That said, it'd be nice if they designed a sound for future othewise-silent vehicles that wasn't annoying, didn't carry like the low-frequency of a car engine, yet was easy to hear and recognize.

Re:The fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33012164)

That's complacency. In the city there is so much noise and echo, you can't expect to hear any vehicle destinctly enough to navigate. Use your eyes.

Re:The fuck? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011590)

No, you see neither pedestrians nor drivers are expected to take responsibility for our own inattention. Instead, we must all take responsibility for each other. It's the American way. (Yes, mods, that last was sarcasm.)

A professor in spanish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010978)

So if someone who has a Ph.D in Spanish is qualified to be a reliable source for this study then I'm going to get a PhD. in underwater basket weaving and then work at a hospital, they are not even realted to each other but it's all good.

Hybrids don't kill people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010982)

People kill people

Spoken like (1)

blugu64 (633729) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011054)

Spoken like someone who has never gotten run over by a hybrid before.

Be that as it may, can we get some noise? (1)

jafo (11982) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011056)

The closest I've come to being hit by a car was in a parking-lot where some dude in a Prius was driving on the "wrong" side of the lane. I was walking into the lot on the left hand side, and then started to cross over, looked over my shoulder and a Prius was doing around 3x my speed a few paces behind me, and passed within a few feet of me. I'd been lifting my foot to step out before I noticed him, I couldn't hear it at all.

Sure, this guy shouldn't have been coming up from behind me to pass going so much faster than me. particularly driving on the left hand side of the lane, but it wouldn't have been a problem in almost any other car. At least someone on a bicycle probably would have said "On your right", because they KNOW that pedestrians probably can't hear them. But, more importantly, if a pedestrian steps out in front of a bicycle, the bicyclist is probably going to be hurt as badly or worse than the pedestrian, so they have a vested interest in you knowing they're there. Not so much with a car.

Can these things run some fans, or have some speakers installed to make some kind of noise so we can hear them? People are *USED* to hearing cars approaching. It's a simple fix. I'm sure one day cars will use their cameras and/or radar (like the adaptive cruise control radar) to detect pedestrians and make their presence known via audible or other signals. Until then, run a fan or speaker or something. Play La Cuccaracha for all I care. :-)

Re:Be that as it may, can we get some noise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011112)

They do play a noise in the EU.

Professor? (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011096)

How is the person doing the study being a Spanish professor in any way material to the story?

Re:Professor? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011196)

It does highlight that his opinion really isn't worth any more than a regular person and the inclusion of his degree is unneeded. He's not a professor of anything relevant to the topic, and yet it's still mentioned in an attempt to lend more credibility to his statements.

Re:Professor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011896)

Are you incredibly stupid? Put it this way - he's not a professor of statistics.

very very hard to attribute this to mere stupidity (5, Insightful)

drfireman (101623) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011144)

What's most astonishing about this is that the linked article states that Larson's analysis has two problems. The only way I can figure you'd stop at two is that one and two are the only numbers you know. Or perhaps more astonishing is the fact that nowhere in this list of flaws did the author of the article see fit to point out that this is a completely meaningless analysis. Instead the author of this article, who obviously has even less experience analyzing and undertanding data than this Larson fellow, focused on two very peripheral and arbitrarily chosen points. If you want to see this kind of analysis done right, visit http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/ [venganza.org] .

For the benefit of the exceptionally clueless, let me just point out that this article failed to mention the most obvious and devastating flaw with this kind of analysis -- the critical assumption that no other factor could possibly have influenced pedestrian fatalities since 2000.

"Hybrids don't kill more pedestrians..." (2, Funny)

mattcoz (856085) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011230)

"I kill more pedestrians."

Wait, what? (4, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011580)

Ah, I see. No wonder it's acceptable that the methodology is riddled with holes. The name of the site that publishes it seems to indicate that FTA...

It concluded that hybrids like the Toyota Prius were involved in pedestrian crashes at a rate of 0.9 percent, half again as high as the 0.6 percent rate for gasoline vehicles. Hybrids were also twice as likely to have hit cyclists, at a rate of 0.6 percent versus 0.3 percent.

Okay, this is pretty clear - the original study.

But now EV enthusiast Mark Larson (he's also an Emeritus Professor of Spanish at Utah State University) has analyzed some additional data. He used 1994-2008 figures from the Fatality Reporting System maintained by the NHTSA. If silent hybrid vehicles posed a threat to pedestrians, he reasoned, then the number of pedestrian deaths should have risen since 2000, when the first hybrids were sold. There are now roughly 1 million hybrid-electric vehicles among the 300 million on U.S. roads. But in fact, despite increasing numbers of hybrids on the roads, the rate of pedestrian fatalities has in fact fallen over that same period.

Wait, what? There's kind of a gaping hole here folks... But reading on shows that this objective and reputable news site has some doubts of their own as to Larson's methodology. Phew.

We like Larson's analysis,

Yeah, I'll just bet you do.

but we would observe that it has two problems.

Oh? Pray tell...

First, it doesn't factor in Vehicle Miles Traveled, which is correlated with a fall in accident deaths.

Okay, sure.

Second, Larson really only addresses half the issue. Fatalities from accidents are one data point, but injuries would be another--and are far more common than deaths.

Oh, yeah -- you nailed it exactly! Oh, wait - no, no you didn't. My bad, it was a typo -- I meant to write "you just completely ignored the glaring hole in the methodology applied by this professor of Spanish Studies". You can see how I made such a mistake, can't you? It could have happened to anyone.

Here it is, because I have to say it even though it's pretty flippin' obvious: In spite of the fact that OVERALL accidents are going down, the percentage of accidents caused by EVs is higher than non-EVs -- and when you consider that EVs still make up a very minor portion of the vehicles on the road, that's a pretty disturbing trend. Or how about the premise of his "report": The overall fatalities have decreased, and the number of EVs on the road has increased -- therefore EVs clearly do not pose any additional threat over their louder counterparts.

Oh, wait, here's what happened: Nice "reporting" greencarreports.com. I am duly impressed.

Fatally flawed. (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33011782)

Sadly, his study is fatally flawed because his assumption is flawed. Just because total pedestrian deaths have fallen, that does not mean the percentage of total deaths caused by hybrids isn't rising.

Obverse is true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33012020)

Obverse is true, if the fatalities have fallen, maybe hybrids are safer. With the original study, were there changes for gas cars that didn't get to hyrids? Are hybrids still as "dangerous"? Since the numbers of hybrids were so low, the error bar could have been 0.9+/-0.6 in which case, no statistically significant difference. Errors in this study could just as easily have been present in the previous one.

What THIS study does is show that there may be something wrong with the previous study.

And just because they're a Spanish Prof doesn't mean he cannot do the sums, THAT is an ad-hom. That he didn't tease out different reasons for reductions is valid, his professorship isn't, not at this level. ANYONE who has managed a professorship should be able to manage this level of maths: "900>1200? True: False"

Answer: Speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33011914)

Well, for one, people driving hybrids tend to be slower speed limit (or 10 over) drivers. They tend to care about how much their next gas bill's gonna cost, and of course, brag about it to their workers next morning. There's a specific driving method regarding hybrids if you want to take advantage of the system (i.e., for Toyota's, brake, because the battery regenerates when you brake), and so forth.

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