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Hybrids Safer In Crashes — Except For Pedestrians

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the downloadable-cartones-soon-enough dept.

Transportation 392

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Hybrid vehicles are safer than their conventional counterparts when it comes to shielding their occupants from injuries in crashes with the odds of being injured in a crash 25 percent lower for people in hybrids than people traveling in comparable non-hybrid vehicles. "Weight is a big factor," says Matt Moore, of the Highway Loss Data Institute. 'Hybrids on average are 10 percent heavier than their standard counterparts. This extra mass gives them an advantage in crashes that their conventional twins don't have.' The study's findings are good news for green-minded drivers who are also looking for safety in their cars, but it's worth noting that hybrid vehicles are much quieter than gas-powered cars, posing a risk to pedestrians. "When hybrids operate in electric-only mode, pedestrians can't hear them approaching," says Moore. Earlier this year, Congress gave the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration three years to come up with a requirement for equipping hybrids and electric models with sounds to alert unsuspecting pedestrians."

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392 comments

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Hybrid Pedestrians? (5, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115800)

So if your a hybrid pedestrian you are more likely to be injured?

Re:Hybrid Pedestrians? (3, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115872)

Of course. If all the hybrids are killed, then we won't have a defense against the black oil.

MOD PARENT UP. Also fire timothy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38115898)

"The title says it all" despite rossdee's misuse of the possessive personal pronoun.

Re:Hybrid Pedestrians? (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116172)

I take it that you either aren't a native English speaker or that you have some sort of learning disorder because it's exceedingly clear what the title and summary mean. And this ain't it.

Re:Hybrid Pedestrians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116228)

"Birds Safer In Flight -- Except For Kangaroos"

Given such a headline, wouldn't you want to know when they discovered the first flying kangaroo?

mahna-mahna (5, Funny)

bazorg (911295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115804)

If electric cars get customisable running sounds, I'll want the mahna-mahna song.

Re:mahna-mahna (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115832)

Companies already pay to wrap cars in visual advertisements, this could open up auto-auditory advertisements. You'd get paid a couple hundred bucks a month to drive around blasting an add for Cialis.

Re:mahna-mahna (5, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115934)

What makes you think they'd pay you for the privilege? They'll just follow the current trend in the fashion industry, and treat you like a billboard, and charge you extra for the privilege of advertising for them....

Re:mahna-mahna (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116338)

Because when I think "manly", "make my penis bigger", and "attract women" I think of a little rinky dink eco-friendly compact car....

Re:mahna-mahna (5, Insightful)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116210)

Badger badger badger ...

"pedestrians can't hear them approaching"

Blind and deaf, that's impressive. Should one be walking around with that kind of disability combo?

This annoys the hell out of me ... (5, Insightful)

Snard (61584) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115818)

... The fact that hybrids are being labeled "dangerous to pedestrians" because they don't make noise to warn people to jump out of the way when they are jaywalking or texting/surfing on their phone while they are crossing the street.

I'm surprised that someone hasn't required noisemakers on bicycles for the same reason.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115840)

they did that along time ago.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38115844)

"I'm surprised that someone hasn't required noisemakers on bicycles for the same reason."

Smart people ( a set in which you are not included ) use bells on their bicycles,
whether for the purpose of warning pedestrians or warning bears.

As for your pathetic notion of "requirements", I hope you are infertile, because
idiots like you don't need to pollute the world with your spawn.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38115932)

Hitler, is that you?

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (3, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115942)

Smart people ( a set in which you are not included ) use bells on their bicycles,
whether for the purpose of warning pedestrians or warning bears.

Stupid people use them too, largely because in this country, it's a $145 fine for not having a bell on your bicycle if the police catch you. It's a lot to pay for want of a $3 bell and a few minutes' work installing it, and anybody who didn't flunk grade 6 math shouldn't have too hard a time figuring out that buying the bell is better economy....

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116222)

The problem around here is that cyclists don't get issued citations except on rare occasions and since they don't have license plates good luck reporting them to the police. They're supposed to adhere to the normal rules that apply to other vehicles on the road but generally don't. And they regularly don't comply with the minimum speed limit regulations creating an unsafe situation for everybody involved when people have to drive along at a crawl and figure out how to pass.

And yes, that's illegal in all 50 states, you can't impede the flow of traffic. It's just not a ticket that's often issued.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116320)

The problem around here is that cyclists don't get issued citations except on rare occasions and since they don't have license plates good luck reporting them to the police.

That happens here in Spain too. And yet I have seen bicycles towed away.

They're supposed to adhere to the normal rules that apply to other vehicles on the road but generally don't.

Neither do motorcyclists... and many car drivers. This doesn't excuse bicycle riders, of course, but singling them out doesn't do much for your argument. It is an unrelated problem with different solutions (yes, I'm being optimistic at thinking it can actually be solved).

And they regularly don't comply with the minimum speed limit regulations creating an unsafe situation for everybody involved when people have to drive along at a crawl and figure out how to pass.

I don't know how is it where you live, but here in Spain only freeways and highways have a minimum speed limit regulation. I strongly suspect it is the same where you live, if only because there are other vehicles which have their own speed limits (e.g., harvesters) and you don't get to complain if you have to wait to overtake them.

And yes, that's illegal in all 50 states, you can't impede the flow of traffic.

I don't know if it is illegal in all 50 states or not, but I strongly suspect that there is a wilfullness component on its being illegal. I mean, if you are driving a harvester on the only road that takes you where you need to go it is hard to complain about you willingly impeding the flow of traffic.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (2, Informative)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115848)

They did, all bycicles in my country are required to have a bell.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116022)

Interesting. All the cars in my country are required to have a working horn. Does it make a difference just because the horn or bell is there? Or, maybe they have to - you know - actually ring it or press the horn? Saying bikes have bells is really like saying cars have horns. Apparently that isn't enough to fix this problem. Instead, they want the car to emit internal combustion engine sounds. Perhaps we can even get it to emit a realistic smell?

I remember reading Robert Heinlein's "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls". In one chapter they have a guy with an electric car rigged up to emit annoying sounds like it had an IC engine. Looks like reality may be going there too.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116352)

Is there any reason the noise has to be audible?

Cars could emit an ultrasonic sound and anybody who's interested could have a little box with a 'radar' map of all the cars around them (even behind them, if they're on a bike). Smart phones could do it. Blind people could have ones with haptic feedback, etc., etc.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (3, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116024)

It must be very annoying to drive your bicycle with the bell constantly ringing

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (3, Insightful)

tenco (773732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115850)

cars are a lot more lethal in a crash than bicycles.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (5, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115882)

Every time I hear or read about people demanding that electric cars somehow make unnecessary noises I get a little annoyed. One of the great things about electric cars (beyond not running on fossil fuel) is that they don't contribute to noise pollution.

This wouldn't be a problem if people just paid a little attention before crossing the street, I've never been hit by a car even though I frequently listen to music while walking or riding my bicycle (not counting the time I was drunk and not paying attention, but that was all my own fault and luckily I wasn't injured beyond a few bruises).

I just don't get what is so hard about not randomly walking out into the middle of the street without first checking that there aren't any vehicles headed your way

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (5, Insightful)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116076)

This wouldn't be a problem if people just paid a little attention before crossing the street

You are making the assumption that pedestrian collisions are caused by the inattention of pedestrians. Assholes in hybrids will continue to roll through right-turns-on-red, ignore (or race) pedestrians already crossing, dart around between lanes for a single-car "advantage", zip through small neighborhood streets at 50mph, etc. In all of those situations, there is a defensive advantage because of sound. If that advantage goes away, the assholes just get more dangerous.

Hmm.. Come to think of it, the police can solve most this by enforcing existing traffic laws. Once they start doing that, then I'll be in favor of reducing the noise pollution that cars make. In the meantime, they appear to split their time between catching speeders and only the grossest of safety violators, and I'll take the noise pollution over death.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (2)

beltsbear (2489652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116478)

There is no evidence that hybrids are involved in more pedestrian incidents or incidents involving blind pedestrians. Because they are unusual the press reports pedestrian/hybrid incidents and they sensationalize it saying things like 'silent death' etc. There is no study conclusively saying that hybrids and electrics would be safer with more noise. It is a shame that money is being put into making the world noiser instead of into things that could save lives.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116164)

Yep. We need pedestrians to adapt to the cars, not the other way around.

It's a ROAD. Try opening your fucking eyes...

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116240)

That really works if you are visually impaired somewhat. So fuck you.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116380)

That is in fact a problem, but it should be solved in different ways. For example, since we're already talking about cars which communicate to each other via wireless signals, why not have an assistance device (possibly a smartphone app/addon for those who already have one) to help visually impaired people notice cars using the same system?

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116242)

I take it you aren't blind and don't know anybody that's blind. The reason for this mandate is because pedestrians need all the help they can get to locate potential hazards. Seeing and hearing a car is vastly superior to just hearing it or just seeing it.

And yes, I do look both ways, but that doesn't mean that I have eyes on the back of my head, so if I'm nearly half way into the lane as I cross the street, I can't necessarily see the car behind me that thinks it's OK to take a sudden right turn.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (4, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116256)

You can hear electric cars just fine if you actually pay attention to your surroundings (doubly so if we get rid of the majority of loud combustion engine-powered cars). I definitely hear when an electric car approaches if I'm not listening to music, at it sounds nothing like a bicycle btw (just in case someone feels the need to claim otherwise).

Just because everyone is used to cars being loud as hell doesn't mean it's a good thing.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (2)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116354)

Modern ICE cars are also pretty quiet.

Between the low and very high speeds the tyre noise makes up much of the car noise. The hybrids often have low resistance tyres so maybe they make less tyre noise.

I'd like to see real proof that it is a problem before we have laws requiring that hybrid and electric cars be noisy.

In fact, if cars were quieter you'd be able to hear the faster vehicles and other stuff more easily.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116344)

Ever heard about the vision impaired, asshole?

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (3, Insightful)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116424)

I remember at least two incidents where I've nearly been hit by a hybrid while I was crossing an intersection (two different intersections in completely different towns). In both cases, the property owners adjacent to the intersecting road had erected a hedge or fence right up against the road. This is illegal because you can't see, but plenty of property owners do it just the same. Because I couldn't see unless I stepped into the road, I listened for oncoming cars first. Hearing nothing, I proceeded to walk into the intersection where I was nearly mauled. Since I was paying attention, I was able to jump out of the way just in time.

It's more than not paying attention, it's that everyone has to realize that hearing can't be relied upon to tell whether or not a vehicle is approaching. I've learned my lesson and remember that when I'm crossing a street that I might not be able to hear what's coming.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (5, Informative)

lochnessie (1291986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115910)

The motivation behind this is not to protect oblivious smartphone users, but for people with visual impairments who have traditionally relied on engine noise to identify approaching vehicles at low speed. The smartphone users will still be in danger, because they're invariably wearing headphones too.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (3, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116098)

The motivation behind this is not to protect oblivious smartphone users, but for people with visual impairments who have traditionally relied on engine noise to identify approaching vehicles at low speed. The smartphone users will still be in danger, because they're invariably wearing headphones too.

Then by the same logic, why haven't all road-legal vehicles been required to have rotating warning lights, strobes, or a similar visual warning system?

Why does the government hate deaf people? Is it because they can't hear the political speeches and must read them, therefor fixing more firmly in their minds the memory of the promises a politician makes and then breaks?

I probably shouldn't go giving the politicians any ideas, or parents will need $1,500 worth of required and certified safety strobes, flashers, and running lights for their kid's Big Wheel. The only licensed/certified maker, of course, would be owned by a recent departee from whatever administration is in power.

Strat

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116254)

Because this isn't about deaf people, this is about blind people. Being blind is a much more dangerous proposition when it comes to crossing a street than being deaf is. There are a lot more options for safely crossing a street as a deaf person than as a blind person.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (2)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116454)

Assuming a modern car, much of the car noise comes from the tyres. Having the stationary/near stationary cars being much quieter makes it easier to hear the fast moving cars - which "hurt more".

It may even make it easier for the blind to hear echoes from their echolocation clicks:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBv79LKfMt4 [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYWpxmcHTOc [youtube.com]

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116322)

Deaf people have a backup sense in sight, and blind people have a backup sense in hearing. After the change from petrol to electric vehicles, the ability of the deaf to see cars is unimpaired while the blind now lack any method of sensing oncoming cars.

Cars making unnecessary noise isn't ideal, but nobody has stepped forward with a different practical solution yet. The only other option is essentially banning The vision impaired from leaving the block they live on, lest they get knocked down by a car.

It's worth pointing out that about 1% of the population has a fairly serious vision impairment. We're talking about quality of life for millions of people against the annoyance that your car isn't completely silent.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116260)

The motivation behind this is not to protect oblivious smartphone users, but for people with visual impairments who have traditionally relied on engine noise to identify approaching vehicles at low speed.

Ok, here's a geeky solution for you:

Require the cars to emit an ultrasonic sound that people can't hear. Blind people can carry a little box which beeps/vibrates/whatever when it detects that noise. Go to town, put in some haptic feedback so they can tell directions and speeds as well (heck, this might even be safer than listening for normal engines...)

PS: You could even put it into the smartphones to protect their oblivious users. And the cars - so they can tell where other cars are and apply brakes if they get too close. The possibilities are endless.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116494)

Requires blind people to spend (possibly serious) money. Alternatively, the government has to spend money and accept some sort of liability if the devices don't work right.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116140)

You don't seem like you do a lot of walking, biking, or other pedestrian forms of transport in urban areas.

I don't jaywalk regularly. In fact, I'm a girl who looks around more than necessary when crossing the street, enough that most boys would make fun of me, and if I do jaywalk, it's because some planner goofed and didn't put a stopwalk in for a rather long distance, and I look back and forth probably between ten and fifteen times, and I make sure I have a certain clearance depending on the speed of any oncoming cars, otherwise I just hoof it to the next crosswalk anyway. I sure as fuck don't walk around buried in my phone. In fact, I hate phones and I rarely carry one.

However, when I am crossing a crosswalk, which takes me off of the relatively safe sidewalk and into a place where my path and a car's path may cross, I first make a prediction based on the type of crosswalk...are there traffic lights? Stop signs only? I live in the Chicago area, and when you're in Chicago, or close to downtown, you walk across a cross walk like you own it, otherwise traffic never lets you cross. So I make this prediction, if it's safe to walk and if I have the right-of-way, then I start walking like I own the damn crosswalk. I rely on my sense of hearing to know if something that wasn't there when I started walking is approaching the crosswalk. If an electric-only hybrid zoomed quietly up to the crosswalk behind me and was a fuckwad that didn't see me, there's a good chance I wouldn't hear them properly and be able to take my own counter-measures to get out of the way. Boom, I'm hit. Whereas with a noisy car maybe I can jump out of the way.

I'm hit NOT because I'm jaywalking, not because I'm texting...I'm hit because the vehicle makeup of a crosswalk changes almost more rapidly than human senses can take in particularly if your back is to the place changes are taking place, because cars are FAST and I didn't hear the electric car coming up after me after I'd already made my decision to cross based on an assessment of the crosswalk that had a different vehicle makeup.

And yes, this happens. Literally one week ago I was hit on my bike by a car when I was crossing a crosswalk. I had the right-of-way, I was in the crosswalk, and I was fucking visible. I was not in violation of anything when I was crossing that street. But this SUV zooms up, sees their red light and tries to suddenly change plans and make a fast right instead of waiting for their light to change and going straight like the "body language" of the vehicle was advertising, and them I'm in the way because the driver's doing shit I don't expect and which goes against what they're SUPPOSED to do when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, and they hit me and I go down, and end up on my back staring at headlights. (And no, I'm not one of the asshole bikers who pretends signs and traffic lights don't apply to me. The driver didn't bother to do a full stop until I was already hit; they were doing some "rolling through the crosswalk" non-stop thing.)

If drivers already do this, it's not at all surprising that a quiet electric car which takes away from pedestrians one more way they have of noticing them (hearing) will hit more pedestrians. Drivers are NOT to be trusted. And it's not always the victim's fault, like you're trying to say. Making electric cars noisier will give responsible pedestrians back one tool to keep themselves safer.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116204)

Literally one week ago I was hit on my bike by a car when I was crossing a crosswalk. I had the right-of-way, I was in the crosswalk, and I was fucking visible. I was not in violation of anything when I was crossing that street. But this SUV zooms up, sees their red light and tries to suddenly change plans and make a fast right instead of waiting for their light to change and going straight like the "body language" of the vehicle was advertising, and them I'm in the way because the driver's doing shit I don't expect and which goes against what they're SUPPOSED to do when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, and they hit me and I go down, and end up on my back staring at headlights.

"Zooming SUV"? I assume it was making a noise....probably a huge four or five liter size noise.

Please explain to us how a hybrid have been more dangerous. Maybe it wasn't the type of car that caused the problem, it was the driver. Maybe we should deal with the real problem, not the imagined problem.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116308)

Over the last few months I more than once had an unpleasant meeting with a very quiet hybrid.

Each time it was in a car park, the typical place where they run electric only and where lots of pedestrians are mixing in.

So yes, I support the demand for some sort of noise being emitted by otherwise very quiet vehicles, obviously not like the annoying beep backing up trucks and the likes make.

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116216)

I tend to agree with this, but would wonder if you had actually seen / been around any silent all-electric vehicles. Its easier to scoff and laugh about stupid pedestrians before you experience what they mean by "silent". I was just over in Shanghai where they have more electric scooters / electric bikes than cars, and comparing them to normal bicycles is a bad comparison. Normal bikes you can generally hear coming, the electrics just make a bit of a whoosh as they go by. They tend to get quite a bit more dangerous in the evening.

Now granted this is in a city where most of the lights and lane lines seem to be taken as advisory rather than mandatory, but it really was quite a bit more dangerous because of them. There is literally no warning if you dont happen to see an electric vehicle coming until it goes past.

So keep in mind, next time you feel like scoffing about such a proposal, its pretty easy to ridicule some difficulty when you havent experienced it for yourself.

(All that said, Im still pretty uncomfortable with such a suggestion.)

Re:This annoys the hell out of me ... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116234)

I don't live in a loud urban environment. I walk the neighborhood streets with my young children all the time, we have about 3 Priuses in the neighborhood - there's no problem hearing them approach, around a corner, long before you can see them. Tire noise is usually enough, and when they get on the power, you can hear the switching transistors whine.

Electric cars sound nothing at all like a squirrel (the second most common sound heard on walks in the neighborhood...)

Yay! We can download engine-tones! (1, Funny)

heptapod (243146) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115822)

I want mine to be nyancat [youtube.com] !

Looking forward to reports of women crashing their cars and killing pedestrians and cyclists while downloading Adele as their idling noise.

Re:Yay! We can download engine-tones! (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115890)

Only car-sounds are allowed! But you can choose between Ferrari, Lamborghini, F1 and Mining Truck.

Only car-sounds are allowed? (2)

The Creator (4611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115956)

Crazy frog is close enough right?

Re:Yay! We can download engine-tones! (2)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116008)

The vehicles from the Jetsons were technically cars, right?

=Smidge=

Re:Yay! We can download engine-tones! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115936)

This is going to lead to copyright fun. It's currently common practice for people to use songs on their mobiles phones as ringtones - but when they are playing audio on cars, as a public performance?

It's quite possible that whatever legislation results will require only 'car-like sounds' be permitted though, to stop people from just playing 4'33".

Re:Yay! We can download engine-tones! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116272)

They will all the proposals I've heard require that they be car sounds. You might be allowed to choose the car. The only reason I don't like that is if they allow for sideloading unapproved MP3s then you can end up with people choosing stupid car sounds. The police aren't necessarily going to be there to write the citations in most cases before it's too late.

weight and safety (4, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115826)

IIHS also found SUVs to be safer due to weight advantage [insideline.com] . This study only looks at crashes and neglects the fact that lighter vehicles tend to stop faster and have better turn radius, which helps to prevent them from getting into accidents in the first place.

Re:weight and safety (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115886)

Not to mention that the higher centre of gravity in SUVs makes them very prone to flipping and the fact that if you hit a smaller car in them, the smaller car will generally have a very bad time (to compound things, the car doing the hitting is most often the car that is to blame for the accident)

Re:weight and safety (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38115944)

That's because consumers confuse "crash test" with "safety test." The best safety is to avoid the crash all together, but that means mandating self-driving cars since people behind the wheel are idiots (and even more so since I live in Boston).

Re:weight and safety (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115948)

I confronted an SUV driver online about this once. He explained that he was well aware that in an accident, the SUV was the most dangerous car for occupents of the other vehicle, and that in choosing to drive one for safety he was willingly endangering others for his own protection. He went on to brand me a socialist and claim that it was his duty to protect his own family, even if that meant endangering others to whome he owed no loyalty.

I hope that if he does have a car accident, the *other* driver thought exactly the same way.

Re:weight and safety (5, Funny)

drolli (522659) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115980)

In that logic, to protect myself, is it ok to blow SUVs off the road using anti-vehicle weapons?

Re:weight and safety (2)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116020)

TOW's should be an mandatory accessory for compacts to even up the odds.

Re:weight and safety (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116082)

No, not unless you're playing a round of Car Wars [wikipedia.org] . Or, maybe a really big fan of Alan Dean Foster's short stories. re: Bryer v Matthews.

The SUV is a passive, defensive solution. Yours is an active, offensive solution.

Re:weight and safety (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116068)

That confrontation is an awesome account of pretty much everything that's wrong with the US right now--the "I've got mine, so screw you!" attitude. Of course, it must be peppered in with incorrect usages of the word "socialism" because it just helps the concerted campaign to demonize the term while simultaneously never using it correctly. I'm sure the person you were debating with had his on-board entertainment system permanently fixed to Fox News too.

Re:weight and safety (2)

Brucelet (1857158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116394)

Actually, when it comes to talk radio in the US, it doesn't need to be associated with Fox to be overly right-leaning. It just needs to not be NPR.

Re:weight and safety (5, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116212)

it was his duty to protect his own family,

then why is he driving a car whose chances of rolling over are orders of magnitude higher than a regular sedan?

Re:weight and safety (4, Insightful)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116440)

it was his duty to protect his own family,

then why is he driving a car whose chances of rolling over are orders of magnitude higher than a regular sedan?

To play Devil's Advocate, there is a rational reason for doing so.

There is an elevated risk of rollover with an SUV, which I can mitigate as a driver by changing my driving style, and driving more defensively. A SUV helps me drive defensively by increasing visibility around me. Those are factors that I, as a driver, can control. However, I can't control what other drivers will do or the type of vehicle that will hit mine in an accident. Therefore, to mitigate that risk, I'll drive a larger vehicle that will provide more protection in an accident. Two problems are solved here.

To go the opposite, way, driving a smaller car to manage the rollover risk decreases my ability to drive defensively (lower visibility) and decreases my chances of survival in a collision. One problem is solved, and another made potentially worse.

Re:weight and safety (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116346)

I read that even though SUVs are on average safer to be in for a crash, they are on average less safe to be in for accidents in general.

where crashes are a subset of accidents.

The heavier car wins (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115834)

Heavy cars are safer for the ones sitting in them. But most crashes involve two vehicles, and the lighter one will get the majority of the damage. A 'weight arms race' is not safety.

Re:The heavier car wins (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116036)

It's safety for the selfish.

Re:The heavier car wins (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116484)

Hence in the Libertarian world, everybody drives larger and larger tanks, and shoots first, just in case.

I was so excited to see these boots back this year (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38115870)

I was so excited to see these boots back this year. Last year I bought the black and had nothing but compliments. At the end of the season I had them professionally cleaned and they still look brand new. So excited to be wearing them again. wowugg.com
This year I'm buying the gray pair. But the black are definitly my favorite. They go with everything and always look great.

Some Pedestrians Aren't Heling Themselves... (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115896)

A lot of pedestrians are walking around listening to their music at full-blast and have no chance of hearing the car coming anyways. The fault does not belong to the car in that situation.

Re:Some Pedestrians Aren't Heling Themselves... (5, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116156)

Whenever I run over a pedestrian, I quickly run out of the car and throw an iPod on the body.

Re:Some Pedestrians Aren't Heling Themselves... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116392)

A lot of pedestrians are walking around listening to their music at full-blast and have no chance of hearing the car coming anyways. The fault does not belong to the car in that situation.

True, except for the 'lot of pedestrians' (at least around here) and for all the situations in which the pedestrians aren't wearing headphones.
 
Seriously, can we stop with the highly moderated "blame the victim" posts?

Look both ways.... (0)

egburr (141740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115908)

Dangerous to pedestrians? Come on. I don't have a hybrid, and I don't worry about not hearing them, because I actually listened when I was taught to look both ways before crossing!

Re:Look both ways.... (3, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115976)

Dangerous to pedestrians? Come on. I don't have a hybrid, and I don't worry about not hearing them, because I actually listened when I was taught to look both ways before crossing!

That's easier to do when you're not visually impaired or blind. When your usable visual range is about 3 feet beyond which everything is a blur, you can get around in your daily life without a helper animal, but if you can't hear a car coming and can't see it more than 3 feet away.... this is why crosswalks have audible signals in cities. Stick to the crosswalk, right? What if you live in the suburbs and there aren't any crosswalks?

Re:Look both ways.... (2)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116122)

If you're in the suburbs and there are no crosswalks or sidewalks you may just want to not walk anywhere.

Shhh! (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115912)

Why bother with adding noises. Increasingly were I am people don't care and just walk out into the road expecting a car driver to stop in zero feet, or people more interested in their phone conversations they just step into the road, or they are otherwise playing with their phones / MP3 players and not looking at the traffic. This is WITH petrol and diesel cars making lots of noise.

Having said that, adding a noise to electric cars helps the blind that walk around, there is no benefit to noise for non-disabled people.

Do The Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38115940)

If you got into an accident with a tank you would fair better as well. However, if there were two tanks in an accident then get out of the way. The increasing number of hybrids on the road will soon nullify any advance trumpeted (foolishly) here.

Many cars have engines that are very quiet... (3, Informative)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115974)

...for example - unless my father is really stepping on it, his Subaru is silent of engine noise from more than 10 feet away. You can hear his tires and the airflow over the body when he's farther away - but not the engine. Hell, I have a friend whose Lexus I can't tell is running or not unless I put my hand on the hood.

This whole "silent cars are killers" thing seems a little ridiculous. If this was a chronic issue, we'd already be suffering an ever growing deluge of pedestrian casualties in the ERs of the world since there are so many quiet combustion powered cars.

Re:Many cars have engines that are very quiet... (2)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116048)

This whole "silent cars are killers" thing seems a little ridiculous. If this was a chronic issue, we'd already be suffering an ever growing deluge of pedestrian casualties in the ERs of the world since there are so many quiet combustion powered cars.

I used to cycle a lot (100-200 miles a week, minimum), and I first noticed this problem in the early 90s! I think it was the Toyota Camry that was first quiet enough that at residential street speeds I could not hear it coming...

Re:Many cars have engines that are very quiet... (1)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116056)

Yeah, I seem to especially remember the Camry being a car you couldn't tell if it was running or not when you were standing next to the damn thing.

Re:Many cars have engines that are very quiet... (1)

GNULinuxGuy (2483278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116072)

I couldn't agree more! Many times people have said they couldn't even tell my car was running. Lots of semi-recent vehicles are the same way. These days the road noise from the tires is generally louder than the sound coming from the engine (in most situations where pedestrians would be involved). I'm really getting tired of hearing how electric cars are somehow dangerous in this respect. All electric vehicles I've seen make a pretty distinct electric whine sound too, but maybe I'm just more sensitive to high pitched noises than most people.

Re:Many cars have engines that are very quiet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116462)

Shocking! A guy named 'Assmasher': lives with his dad, tells people online about daddy's car, doesn't consider that blind or vision impaired people would benefit from that 10 feet of noise daddy's car makes.

Oh internet, you just dont surprise me anymore.

Sound? (-1, Flamebait)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115978)

I want my electric to sound like a JET PLANE! That's it! Yes! sssssshhshsshshshshshshsrrrrrrrrrrrrrrroooooaoaorrrrrrrrrrrr!!!! That'd be fucking COOL! Just sit at a light, not burning a drop of gas, sitting there whisltling like I'm going 600 mph. That would fucking ROCK!!! zoom! ZOOOOOOOM! Yay! A Deafening ROAR!!! Something louder than those retards on Harleys. Sure - your Harley goes BLATTA BLATTA BLATTA! But I'm driving a JET!!!!

And I want a mic hooked up to the speakers so I can yell at people on the street or other cars-

HEY ASSWIPE! Get the fuck off the cellphone you dumb ass!

HEY LADY! Stop texting while you're driving, you fucking idiot!

And then the sounds of rockets being fired at them and the sounds of explosions as I blow them off the highway!!! All from my Chevy Volt! Yeah BABEEEE!

Jetsons Sound (1)

Slashcrunch (626325) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115998)

I hope all cars sound like they used to on The Jetsons.

Misleading (5, Insightful)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116006)

If hybrid cars are safer because they're heavier, it's misleading saying that hybrid is safer. It should be said that heavier is safer.

Re:Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116148)

That is my precise thought exactly..I hear Hummers are very cheap now.. just to annoy the hybrids. I'll put a "go green" sticker on the back

Re:Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116248)

Which has been well known for some time (eg. SUV's). The lighter vehicle is almost always more dangerous to be in.

By this logic I make sure I only cart my family around in my Unimog. Fuck everyone else, they can die under my 10 ton frame.

Next year I'm planning to upgrade to a converted 18-wheeler and by 2015 I hope to be driving a 40 ton machine (the maximum weight limit at this time). At some point I might upgrade my permits to allow me to carry more weight because I gotta worry about other trucks too.

Re:Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116360)

Of course that doesn't mean they are safer. Just that they do better in crashes. Heavier can lead to weaker breaking, worst maneuvering, and if their is a bad weight distribution, bad stability (rolling over). Basically, accident avoidance vs accident survivability. Note, as you increase your own survivability, you decrease the other (who you had an accident against). While valuing your own life over others is fine, it should not be a consideration in design/choice as that will only lead to ever increasing car weights.

Re:Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116382)

If the point of the article is about hybrid car safety then I think your wrong. Considering a previous /. article about a hybrid that caught fire weeks after a crash test, I think a subsequent story about hybrid car safety is appropriate. After the claim that hybrids are safer then the article needs to explain why they are safer, hence the explanation that it comes mostly from weight.

The fact that weight is the reason at all can be counter-intuitive. A lot of people assume hybrids are lighter, because they are trying to increase the range of the batteries. The fact that the batteries themselves are crazy heavy is sometimes lost.

Easy fix (4, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116010)

Just put a baseball card in the wheel. Problem solved. Plus, it makes it sound like a motorcycle!

pedestrian safety (0)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116012)

Why doesn't Congress give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration three years to come up with a requirement for pedestrians to look both ways before crossing the street?

Re:pedestrian safety (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116434)

They tried that first, but it turned out that making cars have sound was a lot easier than making blind people see.

dom

Then again they have 100% higher chance of... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116060)

...dying from smelling their own farts [southparkstudios.com] . ;)

Walk ... *DONT* Walk *DONT* Walk ... (2)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116100)

Welcome to Roy Battys world. If the spinners don't get you, time will.

I call BS on this ... (2)

garry_g (106621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116118)

First of all, weight does not equal safety. There's enough examples out there that show that the structure of the car is the main deciding factor as to how safe a car is for the passengers.
As for less injured, sure, if you have a hybrid that accelerates less quickly (due to weight and energy-saving driving habits), odds are it's slower in a crash, thus endangering the passengers less. In contrast, I would dare to bet that - everything else identical - the same car with the additional weight will have a longer breaking distance (causing higher risk for getting in an accident), and when crashing at the same speed, it will equal higher damage in both cars involved ... it's hard to beat physics ...

good idea to make electric cars as well to generat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116174)

good idea to make electric cars as well to generate sound and warn pedestrians of an approaching vehicle

Marcos | Negocio Rentable Con Poca Inversion [negocioren...ersion.com]

Safer? (1)

digiz (625390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116280)

Until the batteries catch fire [bloomberg.com] .

Solution: Switch on the AC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116304)

I own a third generation Prius myself, and I can attest to the fact that it is as silent and unexpected as the Spanish Inquisition. That is, until I switch on the air conditioner - that thing is just as loud, if not louder, than an idling engine in an ordinary car! Failing that, if I need someone's immediate attention, headlights work well too. I've found that If neither is useful in the situation, then the pedestrian isn't really in my way.

look both ways (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116336)

I have lived in the city have been crossing streets alone since I was a child and the only time I got hit by a car was when I was young and did not look both ways because I was crossing at a lighted crosswalk. I had the right of way, a car run the red light. I learned my lesson. Most instances I see is because on of the agents is not paying attention. For instance I say a bicyclist get run over when he entered an intersection as a truck was turning right. The bike did not notice the truck turning right, the truck did not see the bike inthe rearview mirror. Lack of attention.

Of course blaming cars for not making noise is silly. Cars have been getting quieter. This is one necessary condition for increasing fuel economy, Engine noise is energy, wasted energy. Wasted energy that represents wasted fuel. A completely quiet engine is something we should strive for. Walking in traffic, like driving, is a skill. There are consequences for being unskilled. This is true in all of life. I am more concerned of the drunk teenagers driving their parents SUV who kill a family of four.

The only thing I would like to see on electric cars, maybe all cars, is the beeper that activates when a car backs up. I have been in situations in parking lots where I could not see a car backing up, and could not here the car, and almost got into an accident.

Flawed study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116432)

Where do most car/pedestrian accidents occur? In the city. Where are most electric/hybrid vehicles used? In the city. There are millions of gas & diesel vehicles that never or infrequently drive in the city. If you remove all of these I'll bet the statistical significance of the higher electric/hybrid vs. pedestrian accidents would suddenly disappear.

Re:Flawed study (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38116474)

Wouldn't it be the opposite? If you remove all of the vehicles that don't drive in the city then you have a smaller pool of vehicles, but since the pedestrian accidents almost all occur in the city you still have most of your hit pedestrians. Because presumptively the electrical/hybrid ratio would be higher without considering rural vehicles, and the pedestrians hit total would be nearly the same, it would most likely remain statistically significant, and the effect-size would most likely increase.

Prius: The Choice of Hit and Run Assassins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38116470)

What a joke. I've been driving a Prius for 7 years. I've only "snuck up" on a pedestrian when trying. I'd love to see the scientific data on how many actual pedestrian accidents happened while a hybrid was in electric only mode. In the Prius, that's 12 MPH and under. Not a horrible speed for a pedestrian to be hit at.

I think this whole thing is a bad assumption that has just perpetuated it's way into the "common wisdom". When I drive onto my street, I slow to about 10 MPH to avoid hitting the kids running and cycling all over the place. Oddly, they notice my Prius in just a few seconds. I haven't really seen any evidence for hybrids as a "silent pedestrian killer."

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