Electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles are on the rise, and like it or not they are here to stay. A final ruling by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says car manufacturers must make their vehicles produce more noise while traveling certain speeds.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx:
With more, quieter hybrid and electrical cars on the road, the ability for all pedestrians to hear as well as see the cars becomes an important factor of reducing the risk of possible crashes and improving safety.
EVs and Hybrids are not only environmentally friendly, but they are also silent, which can make it a challenge for pedestrians and the blind to hear one of these vehicles approaching. Sometimes for the driver of an EV, it can be hard to tell if the car is on.
Eric Bridges, executive director of the American Council of the Blind:
This new safety standard moving forward will not just make our streets safer for blind and visually impaired Americans, but also serve as an additional safety cue for all pedestrians who share the streets with hybrid or electric vehicles
Automotive manufacturers have up until Sept. 1, 2019, to comply with the “Quiet Car” safety standard set by the NHTSA. Keep in mind that this new ruling only applies to vehicles with a GVWR of up to 10,000 pounds. These vehicles must make an audible sound while going either backward or forward at speeds under 30 kilometers per hour/19 miles per hour.
There is no need for audible warnings from electric vehicles and hybrids traveling faster than the above-stated speeds. According to the NHTSA, factors such as road and wind noise from the vehicle are adequate for an audible warning.
If you are Apple, Tesla, Google, Toyota, and others, there are only three more years to comply with the new ruling. The NHTSA says the Quiet Car safety standard will help prevent 2,400 pedestrian injuries yearly.