Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) said that many hybrid and electric cars are too quiet and too dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists, and the visually impaired. In fact, these very cars could be responsible for countless numbers of pedestrian, bicycle, and auto accidents in Maryland and Virginia.
In an effort to leave less of a carbon footprint on the earth, and to reduce fuel emissions on the environment, auto manufactures failed to indentify one key factor: internal combustion engines in gas-powered cars naturally make cars louder. This might seem undesirable for motorists, but actually, the noise that these engines make can actually help keep pedestrians, cyclists, and the visually impaired safer while traveling around town.
Electric and hybrid cars are designed to operate without the use of an internal combustion engine when traveling at the lower speeds common in Virginia and Maryland cities, and throughout Washington, D.C. Because of this factor, drivers of these cars have an increased risk of being involved in a car accident with a pedestrian, bicyclist, or hearing impaired individual.
The proposed sound regulation changes issued by USDOT state that pedestrians, cyclists, and specifically the hearing impaired, must be able to hear these cars, or their warning sounds over the normal background noises common in cities and towns. In order to accomplish this, car manufacturers must create modifications that will produce enough sound artificially for non-motorists to hear when a car is approaching.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has predicted that the recommended USDOT sound regulations for these types of cars could prevent nearly 2800 pedestrian and cyclist injuries during the life of EACH model year of electric and hybrid vehicles.
The truth is, we all have to share the roadways together. Don’t we have a right to be safe in the meantime?
Although our law offices are located in Bethesda, we represent clients of car, pedestrian, and bicycle accidents throughout Maryland, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C. area. Our experienced Maryland car accident attorneys are available to discuss your case at no charge to you, and help you understand your legal rights. Call Lewis & Tompkins today at 202-296-0666.