We all cheered when hybrid and electric cars debuted. These energy-efficient vehicles generate fewer emissions and are considered a “green” alternative to traditional cars. However, one unexpected problem has occurred. These cars are so quiet that some pedestrians may have trouble hearing them. Because these cars do not rely on traditional gas or diesel-powered engines at low speeds, they are significantly quieter than traditional cars.
That’s why the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently proposed that hybrid and electric vehicles meet minimum sound standards. This would help pedestrians—including elderly and sight-impaired pedestrians—to be more aware of approaching vehicles.
The proposal requires vehicles to operate with sounds that could be detectable under a wide range of street noises and other ambient background sounds. Automakers would have a range of choices about the sounds they could choose, as long as the characteristics of those sounds meet certain minimum requirements.
This proposal could save lives. NHTSA estimates that if this proposal were implemented there would be 2,800 fewer pedestrian and pedalcyclist injuries over the life of each model year of hybrid cars, trucks, and vans as compared to vehicles without sound. The proposal has been published and comments from the public are being received.
To speak to a Virginia pedestrian accident lawyer, contact the Virginia personal injury attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins, P.C. You may call 202-296-0666 or fill out our online contact form. We represent people who have been hurt in pedestrian accidents in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.