Hybrid and electric cars have brought many benefits to Albuquerque vehicle owners. Tax incentives and the knowledge that one is causing less pollution to the environment are enough to convince many car buyers to make the switch. Unfortunately, these vehicles also come with certain risks. Quiet hybrid cars can increase the risk that a pedestrian will be struck by the car - especially if the pedestrian suffers from visual impairments.
Federal Regulations Catch Up to New Technology
The lack of sound emitted from hybrid cars has become such a problem that federal regulators are now mandating changes. Car Buzz reports that sound alerts for hybrid vehicles were proposed as early as 2010. These rules have suffered many delays and setbacks but have now been implemented. Auto manufacturers in the United States have until 2020 to equip their hybrid and electric vehicles with sound alerts to warn pedestrians of their presence.
The final version of the rules requires sound alerts when such vehicles are traveling below 18.6 miles per hour. Sound alerts aren't necessarily emitted at higher speeds, where tire noise exceeds engine noise. At higher speeds, a hybrid or electric vehicle is as noisy as a gas- or diesel-powered vehicle.
However, sound alerts cannot prevent all pedestrian accidents. Drivers of electric or hybrid vehicles may have to exercise greater caution in order to meet their duty of care. When a particular type of danger requires unique care, drivers must be aware of it and adjust their driving habits accordingly.
Other Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Quiet hybrid cars are not the only risk faced by New Mexico pedestrians. Sun glare was blamed in a recent string of pedestrian accidents in Santa Fe. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, two separate drivers struck pedestrians in two separate accidents, and both of them told police that they had been unable to see the pedestrian because the sun was in their eyes. Both scenes were at a similar east-west orientation which received similar angles of sunlight. Both pedestrians were crossing outside of designated crosswalks. One died on the scene of the accident and the other was left in critical condition.
Other causes are less certain. KOAT reports that a pedestrian was struck and killed while crossing Interstate 25 at Jefferson. The cause of the accident was not immediately apparent, but police reported that alcohol was not a factor. Similarly, a tragic pedestrian accident outside Cleveland Middle School left one young Albuquerque girl dead. According to KRQE, Albuquerque Police Department is investigating the crash, but preliminary investigations indicate alcohol was not a factor. Speed has yet to be determined. On the whole, it seems to simply be “a real horrific accident."
Drivers have a general duty of care to avoid striking pedestrians. Our Albuquerque pedestrian accident attorneys can help hold drivers accountable for violations of this duty and help injured pedestrians file insurance claims for the compensation they deserve.