A recent article by Slate raised a rather interesting concern about electric vehicles and their widespread adoption. Since electric cars tend to be much heavier than their combustion counterparts, there’s a non-zero chance they’ll actually be more dangerous for pedestrians in the event of an accident. Tesla FSD could be the answer to these concerns.
There is an uncomfortable truth in the United States, and that is the fact that road deaths are on the rise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), for its part, noted that deaths on American roads soared during the first quarter of 2022, increasing by 7% to 9,560 deaths, the highest quarterly toll since. 2002. The figures are sobering, as they suggest that compared to pedestrians in countries like France and Canada, Americans are more than twice as likely to die in an accident.
There are quite a few factors behind these disturbing statistics, but one of them would be the prevalence of overly large and heavy vehicles like full-size trucks and SUVs. While trucks are generally designed for work, full-size pickups are now widely used by casual drivers to the point that some pickups barely see a legitimate day’s work. SUVs are also all the rage. But while these vehicles might be quite safe for those inside, they are a nightmare for pedestrians whom they could hit in the event of an accident.
As noted Slate, one study actually found that the shift to SUVs over the past two decades ended up causing more than 1,000 additional pedestrian deaths. However, it is clear that these large vehicles are already too heavy with an internal combustion engine. When powered by a giant battery and fitted with electric motors, they become even heavier and one much faster. The 9,000+ pound Hummer EV is the flagship child of this, as the behemoth is capable of hitting highway speeds in around 3.3 seconds.
But insofar as these concerns are valid, heavy electric vehicles are really only as dangerous as their drivers and safety features. Tesla has been making overly heavy and ridiculously fast sedans and crossovers for many years, but its vehicles consistently rank among the safest on the road. This is largely due to the company’s active and passive safety features, which are standard on every Tesla that is built at each of the company’s vehicle factories, in the United States and abroad.
And coupled with Tesla’s FSD software, the risks for heavy electric vehicles are likely even less. Behind all the dramatic and defamatory campaigns aimed at the advanced driver assistance system, after all, the FSD is an incredibly cautious system that makes pedestrian safety a top priority. Tests of Tesla FSD beta versions have shown this time and time again – the system always keeps people around the car as safe as possible.
The use of systems such as FSD Beta would likely become more widespread as EV adoption becomes more widespread. Teslas would likely continue to be among the safest vehicles on the road, despite the company likely producing one of the heaviest vehicles on the market in the Tesla Semi. Fortunately, Tesla seems to be open to the idea of its software, like Autopilot, being licensed to other automakers. This means that Tesla’s stellar security systems could be deployed on more vehicles, including those beyond the reach of the company’s products.
However, that would force other automakers to admit that Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD are state-of-the-art solutions for pedestrian safety. Such a confession requires a great deal of humility and is therefore easier said than done. But the longer other automakers wait to deploy systems comparable to FSD or at least Autopilot, the more pedestrians are exposed to a growing number of electric vehicles that could indeed be too heavy and too fast in the event of an accident.
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