Proposed rule would require electric cars to make sound
BY Wire Reports
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
1/08/13 at 4:17 AM
The government wants electric and hybrid vehicles to make more noise when traveling at low speeds so pedestrians can hear them coming.
Electric cars and trucks, which are far quieter than conventional gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles, don't make enough noise at low speeds to warn walkers, bicyclists and the visually impaired, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday.
The rule would require cars to make noise at speeds under 18 mph. NHTSA says the cars make enough noise to be heard at higher speeds.
Automakers would be able to pick the sounds that the cars make from a range of choices.
"Our proposal would allow manufacturers the flexibility to design different sounds for different makes and models while still providing an opportunity for pedestrians, bicyclists and the visually impaired to detect and recognize a vehicle and make a decision about whether it is safe to cross the street," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
The public has 60 days to comment.
NHTSA estimates that the new noise would prevent 2,800 pedestrian and cyclist injuries during the life of each model year of electric vehicles.
The rule is required by the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act that was passed by Congress in 2010.
David Strickland: "Our proposal would allow manufacturers the flexibility to design different sounds for different makes and models."