Feds Propose Minimum Sound Rules for Hybrids, Electric Vehicles

Feds Proppose Minimum Sound Rules for Hybrids, Electric Vehicles U.S. officials are proposing that hybrid and electric vehicles meet minimum sound standards in an effort to help make pedestrians more aware of approaching vehicles.
Such a proposal is required under the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 (PSEA).
Electric and hybrid vehicles do not rely on standard gas or diesel-powered engines at low speeds, making them much quieter when approaching pedestrians or bicyclists.
“Safety is our highest priority, and this proposal will help keep everyone using our nation’s streets and roadways safe, whether they are motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians, and especially the blind and visually impaired,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Under the proposal, the sounds of a hybrid or electric vehicle would need to be detectable under a wide range of street noises and other ambient background sounds when the vehicle is traveling under 18 miles per hour.
At 18 miles per hour and above, vehicles make sufficient noise to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to detect them without added sound.
Each automaker would have a significant range of choices about the sounds it chooses for its vehicles, but the characteristics of those sounds would need to meet certain minimum requirements.
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 and low speed vehicles, as compared to vehicles without sound.
NHTSA is posting the proposal to the Federal Register today. Upon publication, the public will have 60 days to submit comments on this NHTSA action.

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