Silent But Deadly – Safety Regulation May Make Hybrid and Electric Cars Louder

Silent But Deadly – Safety Regulation May Make Hybrid and Electric Cars Louder

As quiet as ninjas, hybrid and electric cars can be just as deadly. But while ninjas sneak up on you quickly, hybrid and electric vehicles are most likely to get you at low, parking lot speeds.

According to a report that came out last fall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), hybrids tend to be involved with a higher number of pedestrian incidents, thanks to how quietly the run. And because of this, there’s new legislation in the works that will put a bell around these cars’ collars in an attempt to let you know when one is about to pounce.

In support this new safety legislation, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, the National Federation of the Blind, and the American Council of the Blind have already sent letters to Congress. The new safety requirements would add audible alerts to hybrid and electric vehicles, a benefit that would be extremely beneficial to visually impaired pedestrians, not to mention children and the elderly.

Producing no engine noise and running on battery power at low speeds, manufacturers have been investigating methods to increase these types of safety concerns regarding hybrids and electric cars.

This noise requirement could move through the House and Senate soon, and will most likely be added to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which happens to be in consideration by Congress at this time. Not only would this legislation require new safety standards in vehicles such as event data recorders and a brake override feature, it would also give the NHTSA more resources and power in ordering recalls. If the noise requirements go through, you’ll see – or hear – the audible alerts within three years.

[Source: Consumer Reports]