Innovative Electric Vehicle Technology May Also Mean New Dangers


January 15, 2014

Concerns about fuel efficiency that spare both the environment and the bank account of vehicle owners has spurred growth in the number of owners of electric and hybrid vehicles in Georgia. As of early 2013, the EV Club of the South estimated that there were approximately 2,000 electric vehicles traveling the streets of the ten county Atlanta metro area. These numbers continue to rise along with the increasing availability of Atlanta electric vehicle charging stations. Although these vehicle offer a number of benefits, they also potentially could pose unique risks of injury to occupants and pedestrians. Our Atlanta auto accident attorneys have provided a few example of the potential dangers that may be posed by these vehicles.

Hazard for Pedestrians: While many people walking, jogging and running are struck by vehicles because they fail to see an approaching vehicle in time, the ability to hear approaching vehicles can be equally valuable in preventing dangerous pedestrian collisions. While gasoline and diesel engines make enough noise to draw the attention of a pedestrian preparing to enter an intersection, electric vehicles run so quietly that pedestrians may not observe them approaching in time to avert a pedestrian accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study that found pedestrian accidents are twice as likely when an electric car is involved in the accident. The NHTSA report indicated that these electric car pedestrian accidents typically occur when vehicles are engaged in the following types of maneuvers:

• Stopping or slowing
• Backing up
• Entering or exiting a driveway or parking space
• Starting to move from a stop in traffic

Vehicle Fires and Explosions: Some models of electric vehicles have been involved in vehicle fires that may be related to the design of the electric vehicle. While the extent of the risk of fire and explosion involving electric vehicles is not yet clear, the technology involved is fairly new and still evolving so there may be an increased possibility of vehicle defects.

Electric Shock Injuries: Electric cars pose a risk of electric shock to emergency responders, Good Samaritans and other individuals in the wake of a collision. If the vehicle's electric system is damaged in the collision, those attempting to render assistance may suffer a severe electric shock. Although this hazard eventually may be eliminated by the development of cut-off switches, this is a risk that is currently more serious for electric vehicles than gas vehicles.

While there is no current evidence that electric vehicles are more dangerous when operated on the streets of Georgia than vehicles with gas engines, they do pose certain unique risks that are not necessarily as prevalent with traditional combustion engines. These hazards may be a function of the innovative and evolving nature of the technology, but those considering purchasing an electric car will still want to be aware of these potential hazards.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years Experience to Work For You

If you or someone close to you is involved in a car accident involving an electric vehicle, our Atlanta auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.