How Can Environment-Friendly Hybrid Cars Add to the Environmental Hazard?

Posted by Joseph Franks on September 30th, 2019

With all the praise and fame that hybrid cars receive- being light-weight and eco-friendly vehicle- there comes an enhanced risk of pedestrian accidents. We agree that these light-weight vehicles are fuel-efficient and help us in protecting the environment but have we thought that this vehicle may also have the potential to put human life in danger?

One of the biggest concerns about these vehicles is the features that affect us while driving those. Along with many appealing features, hybrid-cars are criticized to cause personal injury accidentsthat mainly involve pedestrians and bicyclists. According to research by Highway Loss Data Institute, hybrid cars are more likely to cause pedestrian accidents by 20% than conventional cars.

Similarly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found in one the studies that hybrid vehicles were more likely to cause a pedestrian accident by 50%, in the areas where the speed limit is 35mph, as compared to conventional vehicles. The NHTSA further found that the circumstances under which these cars were more likely to cause accidents were slowing, parking, stopping or backing up.

Having said that that let’s find out the hazardous aspects of these eco-friendly vehicles:

The Silence of These Cars:

Let’s accept one fact: hybrid cars are silent! While being on electric-mode only, these cars operate at low speed. The engine remains silent, and the tire make very little noise! The pedestrian cannot hear these cars coming. The pedestrian might step in front of the car, which is backing up, without realizing it coming or be unable to avoid the collision.

Given this risk, the NHTSA issued a rule in 2016 that requires hybrid cars to make engine-like noise when stopped or driving below 20mph.

They Can Emit Pollution:

While being an electricity-driven car does not mean it is using clean energy sources. There are different energy sources in different states. And if your state produces electricity through coal or oil, you may not end up feeling too good about your car to be eco-friendly. This means, your car may produce as much pollution as a conventional car.

Hybrid Cars are Not Emission Free, As You May Believe:

While hybrid cars reduce the smog-formation, but not as much as you think. According to a report published by Connecticut General Assembly, as compared to a conventional compact car, the hybrid car emits nearly 10% lesser than its counterpart. That means you are still contributing to environmental pollution!

The Material Used in Batteries:

Conventional vehicles have lead-acid in their batteries which is criticized in the automotive industry. The hybrid cars used nickel and lithium-ion in batteries which again may cause environmental hazards.  Environmental Protection Agency states that nickel is a potential human carcinogen. Moreover, there are serious concerns regarding the mining needed to manufacture these batteries.

The Use of Heavy Metals:

Mining of nickel is not the only concern! Another environmental concern is the use of a large amount of copper in making these vehicles. Copper, like nickel, also has to be mined that can cause further environmental degradation. According to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne's Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, copper mining adds to specific air emissions of different metals as well as sulfuric acid. The open-pit mining or strip mining requires the stripping of surface trees and grasses to mine the minerals.

If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, got injured and it was not your fault, it is advisable to consult a personal injury attorney as early as possible. You can recover all your losses whether it is property damage or physical and emotional trauma.

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Joseph Franks

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Joseph Franks
Joined: September 16th, 2019
Articles Posted: 102

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