US demands that electric cars make noise at low speed 0

us-demands-that-electric-cars-make-noise-at-low-speedIn the US, a road safety body has demanded that electric cars travelling at low speeds be made to make a warning noise to alert pedestrians.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has voiced the need for the rule; due to the fact battery cars are virtually noiseless. The rule would benefit blind or visually impaired pedestrians in particular.

If introduced, the new safety law could help prevent 2,400 injuries a year, believes the NHTSA.

The proposed rule would see the cars in question emit a noise when in either forward or reverse transit, at a speed of under 19mph. The regulation would apply to all electric vehicles with four wheels and weighed less than 10,000 pounds (4.5 tonnes).

The noise emitted by the vehicles would be a two-tone siren similar to that made by HGVs make when reversing.

Higher speeds would render the siren unnecessary as wind and tyre noise would be loud enough to alert people of the oncoming vehicle.

“We all depend on our senses to alert us to possible danger,” said Anthony Foxx, US transportation secretary, in a statement.

He went onto say that the law will become increasingly necessary as hybrids and electric cars become quieter, and more of a presence on US roads.

Car manufacturers of the affected vehicles have until September 2019 to implement the changes that would see vehicles fitted with sound systems to generate the noise. However, it has been stipulated that those on the road one year before the deadline must also comply.

Eric Bridges, the director of the American council of the Blind, welcomed the new safety rule, saying it would provide an “additional safety cue for all pedestrians who share the streets with hybrid or electric vehicles”.

In Europe, car makers have until 1 July 2019 to fit all new models of hybrid and pure electric vehicles with its mandatory Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS), while all existing models have another two years to have it installed.

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