In a recent study, it is being claimed that the quiet hybrid and electric cars are a hazard to pedestrians, since they do not make any sound when moving. The study further states that blind pedestrians are unable to hear the cars coming and that this adds poses an additional hazard. In an effort to provide safer vehicle, it is going to be proposed to congress that these quiet cars have sound added.
According to one article it stated that:
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of International Automobile Manufactures, the National Federation for the Blind, and the American Council for the Blind have banded together to propose language to be included in the Motor Safety Act of 2010. This bill would create a number of new safety rules for automakers; some of these rules are to address issues like unintended acceleration.
While the exact details of the proposed sounds for hybrid and electric cars are unknown, CNN reports that the sound would mimic the sound patterns of internal combustion engines at low speeds with rising intensity as the vehicle moves faster. This would allow blind pedestrians to determine if a vehicle was idle at a stop light or accelerating from a standstill. The NHTSA would be in charge of choosing the sound and setting the minimum level.
And for those looking to “pimp your ride”, you wouldn’t be able to customize the sound coming from the vehicle.
It is unfortunate that these silent vehicles pose a hazard. I for one was looking forward to the time that these electric cars became more plentiful and replaced the gasoline engine. The quietness I believed was going to be an advantage.