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Federal Agency Proposes Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid, Electric Vehicles

By John Page on January 18, 2013 - Comments off

Hybrid and electric vehicles are popular because of their increased gas mileage and decreased contributions to air pollution. Because they run partly or entirely on electricity, they’re also much quieter than other vehicles – a situation that has decreased noise pollution but also poses a risk for pedestrians, bicyclists, and others on the road, as many skilled Missouri auto accident attorneys know.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has responded to this danger by proposing that hybrid and electric vehicles be required to produce a certain minimum amount of noise, helping visually impaired people, pedestrians, and others who share the road identify the vehicle’s approach even if they can’t see it.

The NHTSA’s proposed rules give automakers the flexibility to develop sound systems that fit the particular vehicles they sell, making it possible that different manufacturers will soon have distinctive sounds for their vehicles as well as distinctive designs and logos. The sound systems must, however, make it possible for a person to detect the location and direction of an oncoming hybrid or electric vehicle with enough accuracy to be able to make safe decisions about whether or not to cross the street.

The NHTSA estimates that 2,800 pedestrian and bicycle accidents in 2012 resulted from the pedestrian or bicyclist being unable to hear a hybrid or electric vehicle until it was too late. The proposed rules for sound systems in these vehicles were recently published in the Federal Register, and the NHTSA is accepting public comments on them until March 2013.

 

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