New Study Finds Hybrid Cars Offer More Crash Protection

November 18, 2011

Passengers in hybrid-powered cars are about 25 percent less likely to be injured in a crash than those in their conventional-powered counterparts, according to research released today.

According to new research by the Highway Loss Data Institute, the additional weight of the hybrid engine adds an extra layer of safety over similar, non-hybrid cars. Cars with hybrid engines typically weigh about 10 percent more than their gas-powered twins.

“This new research shows that hybrid engines not only save fuel, but they may save lives,” said Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California. “Choosing a car that saves gas doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on safety.”

The report’s release coincides with the opening of the Los Angeles Auto Show, which features many new and concept cars featuring gas-electric hybrid engines.

The research compared 25 hybrid cars and their gasoline-powered versions of the same vehicles, including the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and the Honda Accord. The Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, which are not available with gasoline-powered engines, were not included in the study.

A separate analysis by the HLDI found that hybrids may be as much as 20 percent more likely to be involved in collisions with pedestrians than their gas-powered counterparts, likely due to their quiet engines. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently developing policy to equip electric and hybrid cars with sounds to alert unsuspecting pedestrians.

The HLDI is an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a non-profit research and education organization dedicated to improving highway safety.

Source: Insurance Information Network of California

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