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Hybrids safer for drivers, less so for pedestrians, study says

November 17, 2011
(Allen J. Schaben…)

Hybrid cars are safer -- or more dangerous -- for people on the road depending if you are behind the wheel or walking the streets, according to a study released Thursday.

Occupants in hybrid vehicles sustain fewer injuries in crashes than those who are involved in accidents in conventional cars, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The same study says that hybrids cause more pedestrian crashes than their nonhybrid counterparts.

That's good news for drivers and bad news for walkers.

The study suggests that the weight of hybrids contributed to the 25% decrease in bodily injuries for those riding in the vehicles. Batteries and other components add to the curb weight of hybrid cars, making them heavier than the gas-only version of the same car. Larger vehicles absorb impacts better than smaller ones, the study says.

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Photo: Nissan EV. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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