ARLINGTON, Va. - Hybrids have a safety edge over their conventional twins when it comes to shielding their occupants from injuries in crashes, new research by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows.
The analysis included more than 25 hybrid-conventional vehicle pairs, all 2003-11 models, with at least 1 collision claim and at least 1 related injury claim filed under personal injury protection or medical payment coverage in 2002-10.
On average, the odds of being injured in a crash are 25 percent lower for people in hybrids than people traveling in non-hybrid models.
Weight a major factor
Hybrids are generally 10 percent heavier than their standard counterparts. That extra mass gives hybrid vehicles an advantage in crashes.
How, when, and by whom hybrids are driven are other factors that researchers have cited as reasons for lower injury odds. Researchers included controls to reduce the impact these differences may have had on the results.
The new finding is more good news for green-minded drivers who don't want to trade safety for fuel economy. Not so long ago, car buyers had to choose between the two because fuel-efficient cars tended to be smaller and lighter.