NHTSA Proposes Noise Guidelines to Warn Pedestrians of EVs and Hybrids


Mak­ers of elec­tric vehi­cles and hybrids take pride in their advanced tech­nolo­gies mov­ing vehi­cles down roads smoothly, effi­ciently, and qui­etly, which seemed unat­tain­able not that long ago; as for now, they’re con­tin­u­ing to take flak from reg­u­la­tors for these propul­sion sys­tems being too quiet. The National High­way Traf­fic Safety Admin­is­tra­tion has pro­posed a min­i­mum sound stan­dard for EVs and hybrids to help reduce pedes­trian fatal­i­ties. These vehi­cles are vir­tu­ally silent at slow speeds, some­times mak­ing it very dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous for pedes­tri­ans to detect the approach­ing vehi­cle – espe­cially visu­ally impaired pedestrians.

The new reg­u­la­tion pro­posal comes from the Pedes­trian Safety Enhance­ment Act of 2010, and would require these vehi­cles to meet a min­i­mum sound require­ment when trav­el­ing under 10 miles per hour. Automak­ers get to choose which noise each car makes, but vehi­cles of the same make and model must emit the same sound. NHTSA is adamant about it and believes that adopt­ing its pro­posal could pre­vent thou­sands of injuries per year.