Car Accident Lawyer
Electric passenger vehicles have become so popular that they are no longer viewed as novelties. Once thought of as “the next big thing,” electric cars are now so commonplace that you can find charging stations outside of Target department stores in some parts of the country. As a result, electric cars have joined electric bicycles and electric scooters as “just another” mode of transportation.
Yet, heavier vehicles have taken longer to hit the roads in great numbers. There are a number of logistical reasons why this is so, including their sheer size and associated charging time. As a result, the safety of larger electric vehicles has not been studied to the same degree that the safety of lighter vehicles has.
As a result, it was perhaps unsurprising when the head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently expressed concerns about the potentially hazardous nature of heavier electric vehicles. Lawmakers, regulators, and even the transportation industry are only recently starting to scrutinize these vehicles in earnest. Therefore, vague alarm bells are starting to sound, just as they have when every other major, relatively untested transportation technology has hit the market since the Model-T.
What Are the NTSB’s Concerns?
NTSB head Jennifer Homendy chose to make her concerns known while addressing the Transportation Research Board in Washington. She indicated that heavier electric vehicles pose a unique risk to lighter vehicles in the event that both types of transportation collide.
To illustrate her point, she noted that the battery pack of an electric Hummer – which weighs 9,000 pounds on its own – carries a battery pack that weighs nearly 3,000 pounds. 3,000 pounds equals the size of an average Honda Civic.
As an experienced personal injury lawyer – including those who practice at Council & Associates, LLC – can confirm, the heavier that a vehicle is, the greater its capacity to cause catastrophic damage becomes. The primary reason why so many commercial vehicle accidents result in debilitating or fatal injuries to those traveling in cars struck by these trucks is the size of the commercial vehicles themselves. The weight of battery packs on heavy electric vehicles is now being evaluated as similarly hazardous.
In her speech, Homendy observed explicitly, “I’m concerned about the increased risk of severe injury and death for all road users from heavier curb weights and increasing size, power, and performance of vehicles on our roads, including electric vehicles.” Given the mountain of data that federal regulators have about the impact of weight on the severity of injuries caused by road collisions, this seems to be a well-founded concern.
What is not clear is how regulators and the manufacturing industry are going to mitigate the risks associated with this well-founded concern. Electric vehicles are here to stay, so thoughtful consideration will have to be given to how to make their presence as safe as possible for both occupants and fellow travelers alike.