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Feds require electric and hybrid vehicles to make noise

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it will now require hybrid and electric light-duty vehicles to make noise to alert and protect pedestrians. Pedestrians, especially those who are blind or have low vision, often rely on sound to approximate the direction, presence, and location of moving vehicles. The NHTSA believes that this new requirement will prevent more than 2,000 pedestrian injuries every year. 

New requirement for electric and hybrid vehicles

According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, as quieter electric and hybrid vehicles become more prevalent on the roads, it is important to preserve the ability of pedestrians to see and hear vehicles as they approach. Requiring electric and hybrid vehicles to make noise will improve pedestrian safety and possibly reduce the risk of crashes, as even other motorists will be able to hear electric and hybrid vehicles approaching.

The NHTSA will require all electric and hybrid vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 10,000 pounds and four wheels to make noise when traveling forward or in reverse at up to 19 miles per hour. If the vehicle is traveling at higher speeds, wind and tire noise will create sufficient audible noise to warn pedestrians, so the sound alert is not necessary.

Dr. Mark Rosekind, the NHTSA Administrator, referred to the sound requirement as a "common-sense tool" for pedestrians to cross roads safely. Rosekind noted that the rate of pedestrian fatalities has increased significantly in the past few years. This new requirement represents the dedication of the NHTSA to protecting pedestrians, who are the most vulnerable users of the road.

By September 1, 2019, all new electric and hybrid vehicles will need to be equipped with sounds to fulfill this new federal safety requirement. 50 percent of all hybrid and electric vehicles need to meet this requirement by September 1, 2018.

Eric Bridges, who is the executive director of the American Council of the Blind, has expressed gratitude to NHTSA for passing this new rule. Other key representatives for blind Americans have noted that this new federal safety rule will ensure that individuals who are blind will be able to shop, learn, work, and lead normal lives without risking their safety.

Hopefully, this new federal requirement will help curb the rate of pedestrian injuries and fatalities

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