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Utah State Prof Says Hybrids Don't Kill More Pedestrians 187

Posted by timothy
from the hard-experiment-to-re-run dept.
thecarchik writes "Preliminary data seemed to show that hybrids were more likely to be involved in pedestrian crashes or hit cyclists. But now EV enthusiast Mark Larson (he's also an Emeritus Professor of Spanish at Utah State University) has analyzed some additional data and found this not to be the case at all. He used 1994-2008 figures from the Fatality Reporting System maintained by the NHTSA and found that the rate of pedestrian fatalities has in fact fallen over that same period."
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Utah State Prof Says Hybrids Don't Kill More Pedestrians

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday July 23, 2010 @09:21PM (#33010328) Journal
    Do you have any idea what welding ramming spikes to my Prius will do to my mileage?
  • Flawed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jpmorgan (517966)

    Ugh. Lies, damn lies, and statistics. I don't really care whether EVs are more dangerous to blind pedestrians or not, but this is just bad statistics aimed at producing a desired result. The claim is that electric vehicles will not be more dangerous, because hybrids at low speeds are also quiet and there has been no significant change in pedestrian fatalities.

    From that one sentence summary, the fundamental flaw in this study should be apparent.

    • Re:Flawed (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:33PM (#33011072) Homepage Journal

      When my dad taught me to drive he told me to keep my window down (if possible) and listen for the tyre noise of overtaking vehicles. That was 25 years ago when engines were louder now, but it made sense even then. I ride a bike to work and for me tyre noise from cars is much more important than engine noise. You don't get much engine noise from an automatic which has shifted up under low load.

      One thing which did happen though was one night we had gone out for dinner. I had left my phone or something in the car so I went back to get it. There was an empty parking space beside our corolla so I opened the drivers side door and started rummaging. Quite suddenly there was this prius right beside me and almost hitting the car door. It had snuck up on me because in slow driving situations you do listen for an engine at idle, and for fan noise, etc. I didn't hear that. The thing was very quiet.

      Everything is relative and I think that as electric cars become more common the total amount of noise will decrease. We will become accustomed to the lower overall level of noise. Towns which have signs asking truck drivers to avoid the use of engine brakes will replace those with signs banning the use of regenerative braking. Homeowners will complain about the sound of cruddy AC motor controllers roaring past their houses. Normality will have returned.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Hognoxious (631665)

        When my dad taught me to drive he told me to keep my window down (if possible) and listen for the tyre noise of overtaking vehicles.

        If you drive with the window down you'll be hearing wind noise and maybe your own tyres. Also, engines were much noisier back then, so why the hell would you listen for the tyres?

        If you want to detect overtaking vehicles then that's what mirrors and your neck are for.

        • When my dad taught me to drive he told me to keep my window down (if possible) and listen for the tyre noise of overtaking vehicles.

          If you drive with the window down you'll be hearing wind noise and maybe your own tyres. Also, engines were much noisier back then, so why the hell would you listen for the tyres?

          If you want to detect overtaking vehicles then that's what mirrors and your neck are for.

          As I said, tyres give you information about a moving vehicle, even if the engine is running slow. Of course you have to use your eyes, but there are situations (especially on my bike) where I want to keep my eyes on the road ahead and I rely on other senses to tell me what is going on around me.

          • Re:Flawed (Score:4, Insightful)

            by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:34AM (#33013290)

            Any driving technique that relies on it being warm or dry enough to keep the window open obviously fails when you need most awareness - when the weather is bad. You need to do things that work all the time. i.e. use you eyes, either directly or via a mirror. Your method is encouraging you into a habit of not looking because you don't hear anything, and is thus not only pointless but dangerous.

            • by adolf (21054)

              I, for one, tend to drive with my window down in the winter when the roads are ugly.

              Why?

              First, it doesn't get covered in condensation if it's down. I can see through a window that's not present a lot better than one which is covered in a film of water that is rapidly becoming ice. Keeping one window down also clears up the inside of all of the other windows far faster than running the AC compressor to dehumidify things, since the outside air is very dry.

              Second, I can hear what my own car is doing. Listen

              • by nedlohs (1335013)

                Don't you get just a tad wet when driving in the pouring rain with the window down? Of the seats get wet if you open a window where no one is sitting.

                On the plus side though, I guess you're unlikely to be declared designated driver.

                • by adolf (21054)

                  I don't count rain as being adverse. The particular tires, weight distribution, suspension, and general handling of my car mean that it can stop, turn, and accelerate better in a proper downpour than most cars can in the dry.

                  But even then, the leather is well-conditioned and doesn't mind being a lot wet. The door panels are covered in a rather impervious layer of vinyl with nothing soft or furry to mold or stink. The speakers are plastic and could care less. The electronic gadgetry mounted to the driver

      • Well, I don' know about driving with the window down on purpose but it is true that at regular driving speeds, say 30 mph and up, you as a pedestrian/cyclist are hearing primarily tire noise and not engine noise. But the comment about parking lots is interesting - I think you are right that fan noise (and perhaps exhaust and engine noise depending on the model) play a key role in sensing an approaching vehicle.
      • by toddestan (632714)

        Actually, the whole tire noise comment is interesting. Probably the reason why you don't see that many pedestrian fatalities is because at higher speeds, the tires are going to be making enough noise that people will hear the hybrid, and at slower speeds there may be more accidents but rarely is someone going to get killed.

    • by sycodon (149926)

      Obviously, Mr. Larson is in the pockets of Big Hybrids.

      But I'm sure he used his vast experience in Spanish to come up with a completely reputable study that will survive any vigorous peer review.

  • by Meshach (578918) on Friday July 23, 2010 @09:26PM (#33010370)
    The summary fails to mention that the liked study only focuses on blind people. So blind pedestrians are no more likely to get hit by a hybrid then full sighted pedestrians.
    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Friday July 23, 2010 @09:30PM (#33010414)

      The summary fails to mention that the liked study only focuses on blind people. So blind pedestrians are no more likely to get hit by a hybrid then full sighted pedestrians.

      Unless there are a lot more hybrids on the road than I think, the conclusion you mention is drivel - there aren't enough hybrids to produce any meaningful change in the statistics yet.

      • by bored_engineer (951004) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:05PM (#33010630)

        It's not the only problem with the study. The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990. It's only very recently that many municipalities have made significant changes to accommodate the blind (and others.) Further, there have been recent changes to cars that make them safer for pedestrians (primarily in Europe, but some of the design changes have come to the US as well.)

        Without attempting to correct for these factors, the study is worthless. It can say nothing beyond the fact that fewer blind people have died in traffic fatalities since 1994. (I must admit that I've not had a chance to read this fellow's work, although I did read the original NHTSA study.)

        • Further, there have been recent changes to cars that make them safer for pedestrians (primarily in Europe, but some of the design changes have come to the US as well.)

          As someone with no interest in cars beyond when they almost run over me, I've obviously not paid attention, so could you give a quick summary, or point me in the right direction of what to search for? Googleing "pedestrian safety improvements" wasn't really helpful.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by KingMotley (944240) *

          Correction, it could say that the issue with hybrids running quieter is a relatively insignificant factor in pedestrian deaths, and if you want to reduce that, then the legislation should perhaps look into more significant factors.

          • Right. Like maybe the famous Prius brakes? Apparently they got them when they purchased on old Audi 5000 factory.
      • there aren't enough hybrids to produce any meaningful change in the statistics yet.

        There are statistical test for this -- whether the change is significant or not. I assume the authors of the study considered this (being scientists).

        If you want to claim the opposite, you have to provide some evidence for your claim that it is not significant.

        • by bws111 (1216812) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:29PM (#33010746)

          What scientists? OK, the guy is a professor - of spanish. His entire 'study' seems to be 'some cars are now hybrid, and pedestrian deaths went down recently, therefore hybrid cars are not a problem for pedestrians'.

          • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@@@jwsmythe...com> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @01:11AM (#33011490) Homepage Journal

                You know, I've seen an increasing trend in that. "Experts" have been coming out with "studies" in fiends. Because they have "Professor" or "Doctor" somewhere near their name, they are immediately presumed to be experts in the field that they are discussing. It rarely takes much research, sometimes just reading the article, to find out that their area of expertise has nothing to do with the topic of the study.

                The article does hit both sides of it though, which is good. I couldn't find what he is currently teaching though. He's listed to be an instructor in the USU Art Department. [usu.edu] His USU profile page [usu.edu] doesn't really indicate much. The indicated department doesn't show him as being on the faculty nor staff. [usu.edu]. That would be consistent with the "Emeritus" part of his title. He was a professor. He was in the art department, which doesn't seem to include any language arts.

                I did find some rough name matches, so his art field may have been photography. Beyond that, I couldn't find anything about this guy.

                So, his credentials went from sounding like an expert in the field, to "Mark Larson, retired art teacher", or more simply "Mark Larson, bored retired guy".

             

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hardburn (141468)

          He's a professor of Spanish, which isn't really a scientist, and is a degree that probably came with a light load of mathematics courses.

          He doesn't attempt to correct for any other factors that may have led to a drop in pedestrian fatalities. All he's proven is a very casual correlation.

          The original NHTSA has a more credible methodology:

          It concluded that hybrids like the Toyota Prius were involved in pedestrian crashes at a rate of 0.9 percent, half again as high as the 0.6 percent rate for gasoline vehicles. Hybrids were also twice as likely to have hit cyclists, at a rate of 0.6 percent versus 0.3 percent.

          The main problem with the above is that data on VIN numbers are only available from 12 states.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by sodul (833177)

            Was the NHTSA study corrected for 'location' ?

            A lot of googlers drive priuses because of the $3k+ incentive Goggle was giving at the time. Also a lot of Googlers ride bikes with complete disregard of their own, or others, safety. Add to that these bikes are infamous for dropping their chain and hence the only braking system while going downhill at an intersection (they're cheap cruiser bikes).

            I don't have any numbers but cyclist/pedestrian meet prius/SUV was quite frequent when I worked there. They even put

            • They had only the one braking system? Huh, didn't even know that was legal in the US.

            • Add to that these bikes are infamous for dropping their chain and hence the only braking system while going downhill at an intersection (they're cheap cruiser bikes).

              This is completely false, not a single bike made in the past 10+ years has this characteristic. Furthermore, it's illegal [bikelink.com] to ride such a bike in California (reg VC 21201a). Google may be paranoid of safety about it's employees (the famous bus-number [wikimedia.org] comes into play here), but the situation you describe with the bikes is a complete fabrication.

              • by sodul (833177)

                I'm not saying the bikes have no brakes: they are cruiser bikes [wikipedia.org] with a single braking mechanism whis is a coaster brake. That braking system is completely legal, generally considered safe and low maintenance, however the GBikes suffer so much user abuse (they are used a lot, remember, not personal bikes) that the chain do derail quite frequently removing all means of stopping safely. I never said google employees got killed daily because of failing brakes, rather that in this area the bike accidents are qui

          • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @02:34AM (#33011746)

            Hybrids were also twice as likely to have hit cyclists, at a rate of 0.6 percent versus 0.3 percent.

            I think the evidence is clear on this one - the problem is that the hybrid drivers are green - green with envy that is. They are jealous the cyclists are even better for the environment than they are.

          • by Rogerborg (306625)

            He's a professor of Spanish, which really isn't a scientist

            Fixed that for you, and boy, did it need fixing.

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        Right. The study has no weight. You would have to discount every factor that could cause a decrease in blind pedestrian fatalities that is more significant than the introduction of hybrids... and there's a LOT of more significant factors.

        The study and conclusion is so meaningless, it got me wondering about what goes into this, behind the scenes. Is it an academic that has some desire to use ANY sort of data to push the idea that hybrids aren't dangerous? A study funded by somebody with financial inte
      • I'd say that trying to draw meaningful conclusions from a study of traffic fatalities is even more doomed(without substantial care) than you describe.

        1994-2008 is 12 years. Any changes in quality of trauma surgery, and emergency responder response time?

        What were average vehicle masses doing during that time? Were there any changes(either regulatory demands or industry shifts) in things like bumper geometry and height?

        Most importantly, what about non-fatal incidents? There are some pretty ghastly wa
      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        and hybrids are short ranged and used more in towns where there is more interaction with pedestrians and cyclists than say on a motorway
  • by snowraver1 (1052510) on Friday July 23, 2010 @09:26PM (#33010376)
    These stats have nothing to do with hybrids specifically, but just the trend in traffic fatalities. In my area, and I suspect most others, the percentage of cars that are hybrids would be in the low single digits. Looking at overall traffic fatalities and trying to draw a conclusion about something that is such an insignificant factor is useless.

    TFA writer is just an EV fanoi.
    • Err... that should be fanboi...sigh.
    • by ewn1453 (1837408) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:38PM (#33010788)
      Preliminary data seemed to show that Al-Qaeda were violent terrorists. But now AQ enthusiast Mark Larson (he's also an Emeritus Professor of Spanish at Utah State University) has analyzed some additional data and found this not be the case at all. He used 1988-2001 crime data from the Uniform Crime Report and found that the murder rate in fact fell over that same period.
  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Friday July 23, 2010 @09:30PM (#33010406)

    How about data analysis by someone who isn't an "enthusiast" and by someone who is qualified?

    "...rate of pedestrian fatalities has in fact fallen over that same period" yes, we've been designing pedestrian safe bumpers and hoods in that period, cross walks are safer with better lights and audible warnings.

    As someone who was clipped by a Prius in a parking lot when it was on battery, the damned things are quiet as hell and sneak up on you like a ICE powered automobile doesn't.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Friday July 23, 2010 @09:41PM (#33010486)

      As someone who was clipped by a Prius in a parking lot when it was on battery, the damned things are quiet as hell and sneak up on you like a ICE powered automobile doesn't.

      There is a simple technique that electric vehicle drivers could practice, that would solve this quietness problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowing_a_raspberry [wikipedia.org]

      All electric vehicle drivers should be required to do this while driving.

      It's just like requiring folks to buckle their safety belts while riding in a car.

      Kinda sorta . . .

    • I don't know if sound is that much of an improvement, what fraction of cars to people look at when they hear one in a parking lot? Pedestrians should be looking both ways before crossing traffic lanes, whether they hear something or not.

      It's too bad that we can't expect people to be good drivers, good driving is probably the best safety measure of all.

      I hope whatever measure is taken doesn't make EVs annoying. I hate vehicles that have those piercingly loud and high pitched backup sounds.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:18PM (#33011008)

      As someone who was clipped by a Prius in a parking lot when it was on battery, the damned things are quiet as hell and sneak up on you like a ICE powered automobile doesn't.

      As someone who is 48 and has typical declining hearing, let me tell you -- pay more attention. I'm not being glib, I'm serious. Hybirds (very popular here) are just your warm-up for an inevitability of age, or simple mis-attention from iPod or cell. Look around you when walking in driving zones. I'm having to do it a lot more than I used to.

      And cars are quieter now than twenty-thirty years ago. Watch out for that in stats. The idle of many new cars is just lost in nearby street noise.

    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      Here is my take on this.. First, the noise of the car (or lack of it) doesn't make an accident the pedestrians fault.. and vice versa, the same noise and lack of it doesn't absolve the pedestrian either.. Drivers, noisy car or not, have to watch out for pedestrians as best they can.. and pedestrians (out of self preservation) need to watch out for cars as best they can... So therefore the whole study doesn't mean crap in the real world, and is useless for any practical applications of it's "findings".
    • As someone who was clipped by a Prius in a parking lot when it was on battery, the damned things are quiet as hell and sneak up on you like a ICE powered automobile doesn't.

      Very true - I worked at a place where there were a number of electric vehicles (converted ICE and custom built) running around campus and they easily snuck up on you. Nothing like seeing a completely silent (vs an ICE) ,full size, van pulling in behind you. You learned to listen for "golf carts" when walking around.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    'nuff said

    • Yep. The best thing you can do is remove your muffler completely. Or get one of those spiffy coffee-can looking exhausts. That way everyone can hear you coming and get out of your way! (Even if they drew the more logical conclusion in the latter case -- that the horrendous noise is a weed-whacker gone mad -- they're still going to get out of the way!)
  • by jav1231 (539129)
    Spanish professor?
  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday July 23, 2010 @09:48PM (#33010538)
    Let's keep in mind this is a professor emeritus of Spanish. He evidently doesn't know jack about quantitative analysis.

    If silent hybrid vehicles posed a threat to pedestrians, he reasoned, then the number of pedestrian deaths should have risen since 2000, when the first hybrids were sold.

    Well there's your problem right there. You can't identify the contribution due to hybrids by looking at the total. There are on the order of what, 100 million vehicles on the road, and maybe 1% of them are hybrids. So if pedestrian kills by the other 99% of vehicles drop by 1%, hybrids could be 99 times more deadly than them and you wouldn't notice from this guy's analysis.

    Second, Larson really only addresses half the issue. Fatalities from accidents are one data point, but injuries would be another--and are far more common than deaths.

    What he said.

    • by westlake (615356)

      You can't identify the contribution due to hybrids by looking at the total. So if pedestrian kills by the other 99% of vehicles drop by 1%, hybrids could be 99 times more deadly than them and you wouldn't notice from this guy's analysis.

      He hasn't asked why there have been fewer pedestrian deaths:

      For example, van services for the elderly and disabled may be taking more of the most vulnerable pedestrians off the road.

  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:28PM (#33010738)
    In other news my Biology teacher thinks that Beowulf is a Shakespearean play. Something tells me that a Spanish teacher isn't an expert on analyzing statistics, hence why he teaches Spanish, not math or science.
  • you kill BETTER pedestrians.

    it's an improvement.

  • The fuck? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spit (23158) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:10PM (#33010970)

    It's not a problem with the cars, it's with dumbshits who don't look where they fucking walk. I ride a bicycle everywhere and it makes zero noise even when freewheeling, not that it matters I can ding my bell til my thumb falls off and many won't hear it because of the ipod craze.

    People step out on the road in front of me all the time, maybe not realizing the speed I'm moving at when they last looked up the road, but it's still their fault. There are two ways to deal with this problem: Screaming at the top of your lungs at pedestrians "get of da focken road jackass!" or alternatively, pedestrians can take responsibility for their own personal safety and look with their fucking eyeballs.

    • It's not a problem with the cars, it's with dumbshits who don't look where they fucking walk.

      FTFA, "The fear is that electric vehicles are so silent that blind people can't hear them coming,"

      Am I a bad person for laughing when I read the parent thread?

    • As I use my bicycle to go to work, I have the same problem as you : pedestrian being idiot (and i would note , car thinking they have a priority over cyclist , no respecting right of passage but that's for another slashdot story). But those damn hybrid are really quiet too. While with a colleague which was getting her car out of parking he only noise I could hear was the strident "touting" noise the constructor added to the car. While going *forward* there was no noise at all. As pedestrian (and cyclist) ar
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

        Constructor should simply add a noise to the vehicules, something akin to an ICE motor runing noise.

        Oh its going to be far worse than that. Think ringtones - for your car.

    • No, you're wrong. Our ears are a very good omni-directional object detection device. Make a two-ton hunk of moving metal silent, and I won't be able to detect it as well when it's behind me, or I visually just didn't see it (yes, it happens). My ears, on the other hand, will very quickly tell me that there's a loud two-ton hunk of moving metal making noise moving near me. And no, I don't wear any headphones or music devices while out walking/bicycling.

      You blame it all on people not looking, but there's no

    • No, you see neither pedestrians nor drivers are expected to take responsibility for our own inattention. Instead, we must all take responsibility for each other. It's the American way. (Yes, mods, that last was sarcasm.)
    • by DMoylan (65079)

      in dublin ireland we made it fun for the blind when they turned off the audible cues of the crossing lights after it confused the sighted. yes you read that right.
      http://www.enil.eu/enil/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=332&Itemid=82 [www.enil.eu]

      thankfully they turned the audible cues back on within a few days after the blind complained. people couldn't believe the blind hadn't been asked about switching off the audible cues.

      most of the people who step unsafely into the road are ipod using, blackb

    • by evilviper (135110)

      People step out on the road in front of me all the time,

      You have a problem with idiots. Fine. I must submit, however, that the problems with quiet vehicles aren't the same issue (or the same people) at all.

      People understand things in a context. If something is dangerous but quiet, they keep an eye on it. If something is dangerous only when it's making loud noises (commonly the case) then they come to depend on those noises to warn them of the danger. Now, something that has forever been in the latter c

    • by Rozzin (9910)
      The reason that I have trouble appreciating this perspective, but even more difficulty appreciating the `cars need to make noise so that attentive pedestrians can hear them coming and jump out of the way'... is that, where I live..., we have wildlife. And I'm not talking about squirrels, or ducks, or armadillos; we have *deer* that will *really* jump out in front of cars--*on 65-MPH highways*. What's more, we have *moose* that do the same thing. And we, as drivers here, are expected to be able to avoid hit
  • Spoken like someone who has never gotten run over by a hybrid before.

  • The closest I've come to being hit by a car was in a parking-lot where some dude in a Prius was driving on the "wrong" side of the lane. I was walking into the lot on the left hand side, and then started to cross over, looked over my shoulder and a Prius was doing around 3x my speed a few paces behind me, and passed within a few feet of me. I'd been lifting my foot to step out before I noticed him, I couldn't hear it at all.

    Sure, this guy shouldn't have been coming up from behind me to pass going so much
  • How is the person doing the study being a Spanish professor in any way material to the story?

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      It does highlight that his opinion really isn't worth any more than a regular person and the inclusion of his degree is unneeded. He's not a professor of anything relevant to the topic, and yet it's still mentioned in an attempt to lend more credibility to his statements.

  • What's most astonishing about this is that the linked article states that Larson's analysis has two problems. The only way I can figure you'd stop at two is that one and two are the only numbers you know. Or perhaps more astonishing is the fact that nowhere in this list of flaws did the author of the article see fit to point out that this is a completely meaningless analysis. Instead the author of this article, who obviously has even less experience analyzing and undertanding data than this Larson fellow, focused on two very peripheral and arbitrarily chosen points. If you want to see this kind of analysis done right, visit http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/ [venganza.org].

    For the benefit of the exceptionally clueless, let me just point out that this article failed to mention the most obvious and devastating flaw with this kind of analysis -- the critical assumption that no other factor could possibly have influenced pedestrian fatalities since 2000.

  • "I kill more pedestrians."
  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc DOT paradise AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @01:36AM (#33011580) Homepage Journal
    Ah, I see. No wonder it's acceptable that the methodology is riddled with holes. The name of the site that publishes it seems to indicate that FTA...

    It concluded that hybrids like the Toyota Prius were involved in pedestrian crashes at a rate of 0.9 percent, half again as high as the 0.6 percent rate for gasoline vehicles. Hybrids were also twice as likely to have hit cyclists, at a rate of 0.6 percent versus 0.3 percent.

    Okay, this is pretty clear - the original study.

    But now EV enthusiast Mark Larson (he's also an Emeritus Professor of Spanish at Utah State University) has analyzed some additional data. He used 1994-2008 figures from the Fatality Reporting System maintained by the NHTSA. If silent hybrid vehicles posed a threat to pedestrians, he reasoned, then the number of pedestrian deaths should have risen since 2000, when the first hybrids were sold. There are now roughly 1 million hybrid-electric vehicles among the 300 million on U.S. roads. But in fact, despite increasing numbers of hybrids on the roads, the rate of pedestrian fatalities has in fact fallen over that same period.

    Wait, what? There's kind of a gaping hole here folks... But reading on shows that this objective and reputable news site has some doubts of their own as to Larson's methodology. Phew.

    We like Larson's analysis,

    Yeah, I'll just bet you do.

    but we would observe that it has two problems.

    Oh? Pray tell...

    First, it doesn't factor in Vehicle Miles Traveled, which is correlated with a fall in accident deaths.

    Okay, sure.

    Second, Larson really only addresses half the issue. Fatalities from accidents are one data point, but injuries would be another--and are far more common than deaths.

    Oh, yeah -- you nailed it exactly! Oh, wait - no, no you didn't. My bad, it was a typo -- I meant to write "you just completely ignored the glaring hole in the methodology applied by this professor of Spanish Studies". You can see how I made such a mistake, can't you? It could have happened to anyone.

    Here it is, because I have to say it even though it's pretty flippin' obvious: In spite of the fact that OVERALL accidents are going down, the percentage of accidents caused by EVs is higher than non-EVs -- and when you consider that EVs still make up a very minor portion of the vehicles on the road, that's a pretty disturbing trend. Or how about the premise of his "report": The overall fatalities have decreased, and the number of EVs on the road has increased -- therefore EVs clearly do not pose any additional threat over their louder counterparts.

    Oh, wait, here's what happened: Nice "reporting" greencarreports.com. I am duly impressed.

  • Fatally flawed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (retawriaf)> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @02:49AM (#33011782) Homepage

    Sadly, his study is fatally flawed because his assumption is flawed. Just because total pedestrian deaths have fallen, that does not mean the percentage of total deaths caused by hybrids isn't rising.

  • It's convenient to choose 1994-2008 figures, given hybrids have only been around in the past few years.

  • by tompaulco (629533) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:44AM (#33013372) Homepage Journal
    It's not that hybrid cars have been killing pedestrians. It's the hybrid cars hitting pedestrians resulting in the fatality of the driver that is the problem. (tongue firmly in cheek).
  • So he's "Emeritus Professor of Spanish at Utah State University" - in other words, this study was done by Senior Chang Sr.!

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