NHTSA Proposes Noise Guidelines to Warn Pedestrians of EVs and Hybrids

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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.

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