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Changes to Hybrids Could Reduce Chicago Pedestrian Accident Injuries

When a car hits another car there is always a chance for serious injury. However, when a vehicle collides with a pedestrian it’s another story entirely. Pedestrian vehicle accidents take a serious toll, especially in the United States, resulting in 5,000 fatalities and another 70,000 injuries every year. That works out to an average of one pedestrian injury in a traffic accident every 8 minutes. With no steel framework to protect them, people hit while walking or riding their bikes are extremely vulnerable to head, leg, and arm injuries, and are often left unable to return to work, or pay their mounting medical bills. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

That’s why earlier this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stressed the importance of having electric and hybrid vehicles make more noise when traveling at low speeds. While they may be great for the environment, these new cars and trucks are much quieter than their gasoline and diesel counterparts, and the NHTSA argues that their low hum may not be enough to warn walkers, bicyclists, or the visually impaired. (New York Times)

The agency’s proposed rule would require additional noise at speeds under 18 miles an hour to become standard, with automakers being able to pick the sounds the vehicles make from a range of different choices. The NHTSA says their biggest concern is to making sure pedestrians can easily hear electric cars over background noises, especially in cities.

The public will have 60 days to comment on the NHTSA’s proposed rule, and then the agency will use these suggestions to write a final rule for use in future auto manufacturing. The agency estimated that this new rule could prevent nearly 3,000 injuries during the life of each electric cars model year, making it a necessary step in making our roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians.

The pending passage of this rule is great news for those living in Chicagoland considering that roughly 85% of all non-fatal pedestrian accidents happen in urban areas. The NHTSA’s rules are targeted specifically at loud urban centers like ours, where the hustle and bustle of the streets and sidewalks can make it hard to hear a small electric engine.

With more than 140 years of shared experience, our lawyers have seen first hand the terrible consequences of negligent motorists meeting unsuspecting pedestrians. We have dealt with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord, paraplegia, quadriplegia, comas, fractured bones, and internal soft tissue injuries, just to name a few. Any of these could significantly hinder your ability to work and continue to live a normal life. Our lawyers are here to make sure that a pedestrian accident brought on by someone else’s negligence will never decide your future.

If you or a loved one has been injured because of the reckless or carless actions of another motorist, we are here for you.