The number of hybrid and electric vehicles on the road has increased as environmentally friendly methods of transportation become more popular and affordable. However, unlike conventional vehicles, these cars pose a greater threat if involved in car accidents because of the presence of high-voltage components.
New York state troopers will soon be equipped to handle the danger that electric car crashes can pose. State police will be the first in the country to have special training in how to deal with electric car crashes. Their training features demonstrations of the unique hazards that face emergency responders, such as firefighters and paramedics. Training also includes plans for ways to respond to crashes involving electric cars.
Car accidents can occur for any number of reasons, including negligence on the part of the driver, poor road conditions or malfunctioning of the vehicle. Regardless of the cause of the accident, crashes can cause serious injury to drivers and passengers alike, including serious bodily injury from the impact of the crash or burns from an explosion.
First responders, along with crash victims, are also subject to the possibility of injury from an explosion in the engine or gas tank. However, electric cars have additional components that can cause injury to first responders, namely the high-voltage battery packs which make the cars eco-friendly. These packs contain battery acid, which can leak if the battery compartment of the car is damaged in the crash, causing burning of any skin that comes in contact with it. Additionally, if the battery is compromised, the high-voltage used in the battery pack could also potentially transfer electric current through the metal frame of the car to anyone who comes in contact.
Source: Newsday, “New York State Police to get electric car crash training,” Oct. 23, 2012