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Hybrid vehicles hold safety edge over conventional counterparts in collision protection: IIHS

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The odds of being injured in a crash are 25% lower for people in hybrids than people travelling in non-hybrid vehicle models, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) found.

IIHS cited a study conducted by its affiliate, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). In the study, HLDI estimated the odds that a crash would result in injuries if people were riding in a hybrid versus the conventional model of the same vehicle. The analysis included more than 25 hybrid-conventional vehicle pairs, all 2003-11 models with at least one collision claim and at least one related injury claim filed under personal injury protection or medical payment coverage in 2002-10.

Although hybrids share the same footprint and structure as their conventional counterparts, they outweigh them because of the added heft of battery packs and other components used in dual-power systems. At about 3,600 pounds, a hybrid Honda Accord midsize sedan, for example, can weigh as much as 480 pounds more than a conventional Accord. A hybrid Toyota Highlander, a midsize SUV, weighs about 4,500 pounds, compared with about 4,170 pounds for the conventional Highlander.
"Weight is a big factor," says Matt Moore, HLDI vice president and author of the report. "Hybrids on average are 10% heavier than their standard counterparts. This extra mass gives them an advantage in crashes that their conventional twins don't have."

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