Friday, November 18, 2011

A Research Study, Cars, and Objects That Disappear.

Who is safer…the driver or the pedestrian? A just released study by HLDI (Highway Loss Data Institute) reveals some interesting findings, with Automotive News summing it up nicely on the strength of the title of their piece: “Study: Hybrids safer in accidents, more dangerous to pedestrians”.

According to the HLDI press release, the study concluded that “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.” Rational as to why this is so suggests weight of the vehicle plays a role, since hybrids are heavier than their non-hybrid counterparts.

Of course, HLDI reminds us that in general, the larger the vehicle, the greater the safety. Guess investing in sheet metal IS still a good thing then, but it’s nice to know that smaller vehicles can “weigh in” with being safe too and provide stellar fuel economy to boot.

But now, I’d like to mention a specific market research aspect of this study. The intention was to make a comparison between vehicle powertrains; HLDI clearly stated that ONLY models available as both as a “conventional” vehicle and as either an all-electric or a hybrid vehicle, covering model years 2003 through 2011 were included in the analysis. Therefore, these parameters leave out the popular Toyota Prius. It also excludes some vehicles whose names aren’t on the tips of everyone’s tongues…yet, the Honda Insight, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt.

And that criteria is fine of course. Parameters for a study are dependent on what the original question is that’s requiring an answer. Don’t know exactly what that question is, and let’s face it, most people wouldn’t find it interesting anyway. But the findings are.

After initially reading the Automotive News article, hungry for more info I did a quick search, and prior to seeing the press release from HLDI, came across an article from the LA Times.

Right from the start, I couldn’t help noticing a photo of a Prius that accompanied the article. Reading along, I was surprised to see the emphasis of the discussion on, yep, the Toyota Prius.
That was three hours ago (as of this writing). While originally planning to use that article as an example of how easy it is to provide incorrect information to the public, I’m happy to report that the article is gone… poof… no longer in my rear view mirror but replaced by a smart article that combines some of the excitement of the LA Auto Show Press Days with the study findings.

Now this raises a whole other issue. Corrections and pulling information on the internet occur at the drop of a hat. No doubt someone realized the error and remedied the situation in a jiffy! So now it’s a question of whether you believe in what I saw. Perhaps I should have taken a screen shot? Nah; how was I to know the article would disappear? And originally, my plan was to point out how information can be misconstrued in a short summary, link the article and post. If I had, that article would have been available for all to see for a short while.

Ah... the power of the internet.

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