Quiet Hybrids Are a Danger to Pedestrians, Says NHTSA

The NHTSA has proposed that electric and hybrid vehicles should emit a minimum level of sound. This comes after safety experts grew concerned with the threat to the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and the hearing impaired.

The proposed standard would require car manufacturers to ensure their vehicles are heard over street noise and other background noises when traveling under 18 miles-per-hour. At these slower speeds, electric and hybrid cars emit little to no sound, making it very difficult to detect the oncoming vehicle.

Proposed Rule Could Prevent Many Accidents

According to the NHTSA, if the minimum sound proposal was adopted, there would be 2,800 fewer pedestrian and cyclist injuries over the life of each model year of hybrid car, truck, and van. The cost of adding the noise emitting technology is estimated to be $30 per vehicle.

Ray LaHood, U.S. Transportation Secretary, backs the proposal, hoping it will prevent many pedestrian accidents.

“Safety is our highest priority, and this proposal will help keep everyone using our nation’s streets and roadways safe, whether they are motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians, and especially the blind and visually impaired,” stated LaHood.

Even if the regulation does not go into effect, companies such as Chevrolet, Nissan, and Toyota are already working to implement the safety feature.

As Langhorne bicycle accident attorneys, our hope is that electric and hybrid vehicle makers will do what they can to improve and increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and the visually impaired—regardless of the outcome of the proposed regulation.