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Alabama Pedestrians Placed in Danger By Quiet Hybrid Cars

Alabama pedestrian accident attorneyAcross Alabama, Washington D.C. and Maryland, pedestrians are facing new dangers. Drugged driving has increased as a result of the nationwide opioid epidemic. Navigation systems, smart phones, and in-vehicle entertainment systems are distracting drivers at an unprecedented rate. And now, quiet electric and hybrid vehicles mean that pedestrians must remain constantly alert to stay safe on the roads of Mobile, Auburn, and other towns across Alabama.

As federal safety agencies struggle to regulate new technologies and keep road users safe, it is important for injury victims to hold negligent drivers accountable when dangerous driving causes their injuries.

The Facts About Hybrid Car Accidents - And What Is Being Done to Stop Them

Time reports that pedestrians are about twice as likely to be struck by hybrid cars as compared to other types of vehicles. Federal agencies have been studying this problem in order to determine why hybrid cars are more dangerous to pedestrians, and what regulations should be enacted in order to mitigate these risks. The result is that the United States Department of Transportation will now require all electric and hybrid vehicles to emit warning sounds when travelling below 18.6 miles per hour. At higher speeds, tire noise is louder than engine noise, and these vehicles are therefore as noisy as gas-powered vehicles.

Auto manufacturers must add warning noises to 50 percent of their hybrid and electric fleets by September 2019 and be fully compliant by 2020. According to Car Buzz, the new regulations do not specify the types of sounds which must be used as an alert. This allows auto manufacturers to include several different options for drivers to choose from. 

There are, of course, some who oppose the measure. While sound alerts are an important safety measure (especially for pedestrians who suffer from visual impairments), they also negate one of the particular benefits of an electric or hybrid vehicle. In addition to eliminating pollution from fuel emissions, these vehicles also limit noise pollution. While this is an important benefit, it has not stopped federal mandates for sound alerts.

Local Pedestrian Victims of Hybrid Car Accidents

Abstract facts and figures about pedestrian accidents do not adequately convey the devastation suffered by local victims of such accidents. Outside Baltimore, a woman was struck and killed by a Toyota Prius. WBAL TV 11 reports that the Woodlawn, Maryland accident occurred when two pedestrians attempted to cross a street in an unlit area outside of a crosswalk. The quiet Prius was unable to avoid the collision with them. The male pedestrian was left in unknown condition at a nearby hospital. At another local hospital, the female pedestrian was pronounced dead.   

Our auto accident attorneys have seen just how devastating a pedestrian accident can be. Regardless of warning sensors, motorists have a duty to drive with due care and watch for pedestrians in the roadway. Drivers who violate this legal duty have an obligation to compensate victims (or their surviving family members) for the losses they have caused.

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