Those living in Australia will be forced to adopt more eco-friendly alternatives to daily life – from alternative modes of transport to the choice of our cars. As a major exporter of both fossil fuels and critical minerals used in many clean energy technologies, in 2022, the Australian government doubled the target for emissions reductions by 2030 and set the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
So what does this mean for the general public?
Does this mean increased infrastructure to allow for more eco-friendly cars?
Electric vehicles aren’t necessarily a newfound fad in Australia, they were first introduced to the country in 2011, but with an increased desire to be ‘greener’ and benefit from financial savings, they’ve become far more popular with drivers across the country in recent years.
The benefits of electric vehicles are well advertised; the reduced emissions, increased energy efficiency and reduced running costs to name but a few, but what isn’t frequently discussed are the drawbacks to electric vehicles, particularly from a safety aspect.
In 2022, insurer AXA reported that drivers of electric vehicles cause 50% more collisions thanpetrol or diesel cars. This wasn’t attributed to one reason, so we’ve discussed some of the potential dangers involved with electric vehicles and potential accidents below.
Electric vehicles are quieter than traditional vehicles
This seems like we’re stating the obvious. Electric vehicles are famously quiet, unlike traditional combustion engine vehicles that produce noticeable engine noise, electric cars operate silently, especially at low speeds.
While this desirable feature has its benefits in terms of reduced noise pollution and a smoother driving experience, it also raises concerns regarding pedestrian safety, particularly in urban environments which are often crowded and noisy. This is especially concerning for vulnerable road users, such as children, the elderly, and those with disabilities.
Studies have shown that those with visual impairments and those who rely on auditory cues to detect oncoming vehicles are 40% more likely to be victim of an electric car accident.
A study by Vision Australia and the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has revealed that 35% of those with visual impairments surveyed experienced either a directcollision or a close brush with an electric or hybrid vehicle.
After recognising these concerns, many jurisdictions have implemented regulations to address this issue. For example, in the UK, EVs must emit a sound with a minimum frequency of 56 decibels (roughly the same volume as an electric toothbrush). This is something being considered by the Australian Government as part of the National Road Safety Action Plan.
Public awareness campaigns are also essential to educate pedestrians about the differences and risks associated with electric cars. Encouraging people to remain vigilant and visually scan their surroundings, especially when crossing the road, can help mitigate the potential hazards caused by the quietness of electric vehicles.
While modern technology has improved significantly, there have been isolated incidents of battery failures, malfunctions, and even fires in some electric cars.
These incidents can have catastrophic consequences, including vehicle damage, potential personal injuries, and even fatalities, although it is worth noting that battery related incidents are severely less frequent than petrol and diesel.
Whilst other countries have seen significant investment in charging stations, in Australia there are nearly 300% more service stations than charging points. With our vast territories, the availability and accessibility of charging infrastructure is patchy at best, particularly in the more rural areas.
The rise in popularity
Whilst there are unique drawbacks to owning an electric vehicle, and potential accidents that wouldn’t apply to a conventional car, the University of Melbourne has estimated that pollution emitted by cars is killing 10 times more Australians annually than motor vehicle accidents.
Indeed, the Government is aiming for 3.8 million electric vehicles in 2030, with 90% of all new car registrations being EVs, to curb emissions for both health, and environmental improvements.
Whilst there is no denying that electric vehicles will have a significant impact on Australia’s environment, there needs to be a consideration for the level of accidents that are potentially around the corner with the projected rise in ownership.
Fortunately, at Accident Claims Lawyers we are well equipped to handle accident claims where an electric vehicle is at fault and can ensure you get the best help possible.
For those whose lives are thrown off balance by the hazards caused by electric vehicles, Accident Claims Lawyers can help recover your peace of mind.