Nov. 16, 2006: Consumer Reports—Hybrid Safety Concerns
Summary: "The increasing popularity of gasoline-electric hybrid-powered vehicles has brought safety concerns from some emergency responders, firefighters, and prospective buyers new to the technology. But those vehicles pose no greater threat than any other crashed car, according to manufacturers and safety experts.
Hybrids first went on sale seven years ago in America—starting with the 2000 Honda Insight—but fears of potential dangers related to the high-voltage systems have inspired a recent wave of news stories and fueled online bulletin-board discussions. Concerned groups have focused on the possible dangers associated with the systems used to power the vehicles, questioning the risks the electric components might pose in the event of an accident."
240,000 Toyota hybrids have been sold, and not one has caused injury to rescue personnel so far. But that doesn’t mean the cars are safer than their gasoline-only counterparts. They still have flammable gasoline and toxic fluids to be dealt with, as well as explosive airbags.
First responders are being trained in how to proceed with hybrids that have experienced a crash, but this article points out that simply following standard procedures like turning the car off can ensure safety.