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Polaris Breeze NEV - Click above to enlarge

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is concerned with the growing popularity of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles. Specifically, the IIHS worries that these vehicles are increasingly being allowed to travel on public roads where traffic often moves at higher speeds than the cars were initially designed to travel on.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration is reportedly considering how best to regulate NEVs as more of them begin to hit our nation's roadways. For its part, IIHS spokesman Joe Nolan says the organization may begin crash testing the "souped-up golf carts" to demonstrate their safety deficiencies when compared with normal cars and trucks. Current estimates put roughly 100,000 NEVs on the road today.

[Source: Wall Street Journal - Sub. Req'd via TTAC]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      This brings to light the fact that NEVs are useful and people are putting them to use. They are more efficient way to drop the kids at school or soccer practice when compared to a 6000lb SUV.

      To be really useful, they need to be allowed on streets up to 40mph and have a higher top speed. This being the case, safety improvements need to be made and crash testing has to be a part of the process.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why ban NEVs but allow Motorcycles?

      A bike driver knows he is vulnerable, but still rides his machine...why should one take that right away?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because the rules aren't about the physical reality.

        Everybody thinks motorcycles are dangerous but that the people who ride them are badasses, so it's OK for them to be dangerous. Everybody thinks that "cars" are safe and driven by normal people, so they have to be safe -- even though cars have been involved in the deaths of more of my friends than any other factor. Everybody thinks that aircraft are death raining from the sky, so they have to be tightly regulated and if a wood-and-fabric Piper Cub powered by an 86-hp lawnmower engine goes astray, it must be chased with F-16s and helicopters and possibly shot down if anything goes awry. And, yes, I'm licensed for cars, motorcycles, and single engine propeller-driven land and sea airplanes under 180hp.

        Does this make any sense with respect to the physical reality? Not to me. I wish it were different, but that's how it is in our society... :-(
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, two brain dead comments right off the bat. Fantastic!

      Srue, anyone with half a brain can understand what would happen to one of these little POS golf carts were to be involved in an offset frontal crash at 25 mph, or worse an offset head on crash with a full size automobile.

      What type of "fair" results did you think would happen from the above scenarios? No seat-belts, no airbags, and no safety-cage...these seem like glaringly obvious safety deficiencies to me.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, that was exactly what I said you half-wit. If you care more about the environment than your own health or existence then be my guest and drive around on the public roads with the cars, SUVs, and large trucks being driven by distracted drivers...
        • 5 Years Ago
        yeah you're right, everyone get an SUV

        thanks moron
      Lookup MGTOW
      • 5 Years Ago
      NO NO NO! STOP THIS STUPIDITY! I had to drive a golf cart 8 hours a day at a job; and some of it at night. A frontal crash is absolutely and completely impossible. No way no chance no how. I E , there is no way a golf cart will ever find itself in the direct path of a car. It's like saying a PET TURTLE RAN AWAY. it's just not gonna happen. IIHS wants to get their regulating tentacles into yet another industry. IIHS is not the NHTSA.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "For its part, IIHS spokesman Joe Nolan says the organization may begin crash testing the "souped-up golf carts" to demonstrate their safety deficiencies when compared with normal cars and trucks."

      Great. I'm sure we can expect totally fair results from tests designed to show "safety deficiencies."
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just drop a wheel and classify it as a motorcycle. That should get you past the safety requirements. {sarcasm}
      • 5 Years Ago
      Crash test speeds are: 40 mph frontal crash test and 31 mph side crash test. The majority of drivers involved in accidents at freeway speeds do not survive the accident when the impact is on their side of the vehicle and they hit any solid object or vehicle larger than the one they are driving. The risk factor for driving at freeway speeds is about the same as a NEV driving around town. You should give up driving if you think any safety device can protect you at freeway speeds. The only vehicle that would be safe on the freeway or around town would be a military tank. Two wheeled vehicles are allowed on our roads. NEV's should be allowed also.
      • 5 Years Ago
      nothing at all wrong with NEVs...and they do have seat belts, fyi. what may be a problem for ICE-oriented / related groups is that NEVs can now easily get a $4-5k fed tax credit, which is good on a $10-15k unit sales price

      the NEV claims rate, followed by underwriters / actuaries when developing NEV insurance coverage, speaks volumes

      there is certain room for NEV safety improvement and stricter police / DMV enforcement, but the sky is not falling here (if just going by the cold, dry data)

      • 5 Years Ago
      We already have too much safety regulation and not enough driver education in the U.S., which is the main reason we have so few choices in smaller, more efficient vehicles. So long as we allow our government to prioritize passive safety features over driver education and responsibility, we will continue to have fewer green choices.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's not just education that's lacking in the US. We need better enforcement of existing laws, and more deterrents to bad driving.

        Just a few blocks from where I work, a cyclist was killed in a car crash. The driver admitted to being distracted by a cell phone; the police report states the accident was caused by the driver not being in control of the vehicle. The driver was not charged at all. Not vehicular homicide, not anything. In contrast, there were two cyclists in Japan who hit a PARKED car and died; the owner of the car was charged for vehicular homicide because the car was parked illegally.

        There's a guy in California took his Bugatti Veyron to 210 mph on a public highway, and got caught. He probably got the maximum fine for a speeding ticket in California, which is $500. In contrast, one guy in Finland was fined over $200,000 for doing 80km/h in a 40 km/h zone. Yes, that's because he's a millionaire (and the fine is tied to income level), but a Veyron owner must be a millionaire too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This might be good. There are alot of people out there upgrading normal golf cars into NEV's. Most of them don't have a clue. Anyone who's driven one of these know that unless its done right, its an accident waiting to happen.

      Even if you remember to upgrade the brakes (which are usually only good for 20mph at most) the steering on them is something else. The company I work does aftermarket items for golf carts and has a 40mph + cart. We are constantly having to rebuild the front end because it will get squirrel and more then one of us has been dumped out of it.
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