If you or a loved one have been injured in an electric vehicle related accident, it’s possible you have a claim against those responsible. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer who will do what it takes to fight for your rights and make sure that you’re medical bills, lost wages due to injury, and pain and suffering are properly compensated for.
Electric cars get into accidents just like any other type of car but sometimes they post unique problems.
Electric vehicle accidents with pedestrians
Vehicles with standard combustion engines like cars, trucks, and motorcycles can usually be heard coming from a safe distance. Any pedestrians or bicyclists in the area usually have enough warning that they are able to get out of the way and remain safe. Modern electric vehicles, however, which aren’t powered by thousands of small and controlled explosions, are incredibly quiet. Silence may seem like a modern luxury to anyone who is tired of loud motor vehicles near their home or work, but they can also very easily surprise someone who doesn’t see the vehicle approaching. These surprises may only cause a slight startle, or they may end in serious damage to personal property, injury, or even death, especially if the driver of the electric vehicle is distracted and hits them.
It’s clear that the advantages of electric vehicles, such as long-term cost savings, reliability, and reduced environmental impact will make them increasingly popular as me move forward into the future. But that also means that the risks associated with them will also become and increasing problem for society as well. Noisy combustion engines have been a staple of both the 20th and 21st centuries, and every hearing-abled person alive today is familiar with the noise and danger of an approaching vehicle. It going to take time for society to adapt to such a subtle, yet life threatening change.
Safety Issues in the News
The issue has gotten the attention of the Federal Government, as well. In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began debating the need for electric vehicles to emit a “safety noise” when moving at slow speeds. The worry is that pedestrians in close proximity to the vehicle, such as those who are partially-sighted or blind, children and, people wearing headphones, as well as bicyclists could be in danger of being hit by an electric vehicle whose presence they are unaware of.
The NHTSA estimates that by implementing proximity notification noise emitters for slow moving electric vehicles, nearly 3,000 accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists could be avoided annually. And that statistic assumes that the number of electric vehicles on the road stays constant over time, which is highly unlikely. Currently, only one of every thousand vehicles on the road is electric or hybrid, 0.1%. That number is expected to reach 50% by the year 2040.
The most dangerous times for moments for pedestrians and cyclists in close proximity to electric vehicles are when the drivers are stopping, slowing, starting in traffic, backing up or when leaving and entering driveways and parking spaces. At these times, the risk of an accident doubles to that of it’s normal rate.
Another danger posed by electric vehicles comes from the hazardous materials used in the batteries that power the motors and internal electronics. Lithium-ion batteries come with many redundant safety measures, and that’s due to the volatile nature of the chemicals inside. If exposed to any amount of water, even the moisture in the air, the lithium begins to react and get hot. Once hot enough, it will ignite, and burn violently at more than 840F. IF the battery is punctured or damaged in a collision, any people in the vehicle or near by could very easily become seriously burned, or even killed. While the occurrence rate of these types of fires is low, it’s not non-existent, and it’s likely that more people will be harmed by electric vehicle battery fires as these cars gain in popularity. This is not necessarily a faul of the manufacturer, but if you have been injured in such an accident it doesn’t urt or cost anything to have an attorney or their experts investigate.
Popular electric cars
As of 2016, the most popular selling electric vehicles in the united states are:
- Tesla Model S
- Nissan Leaf
- BMW i3
- Fiat 500e
- Volkswagen e-Golf
- Cheverolet Spark EV
- Mercedes Benz B-Class ED
- Ford Focus Electric
- Smart ED