NHTSA proposes minimum sound requirements for electric and hybrid vehicles
Despite the numerous benefits of hybrid and electric vehicles (increased fuel efficiency, lower emissions, etc.), there is one glaring disadvantage: they’re too quiet. In fact, pedestrians are about 20 percent more likely to get hit by a hybrid vehicle due to their lack of sound. With this in mind, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing new regulations to require minimum sound levels for electric vehicles and hybrids to warn pedestrians.
The NHTSA’s ruling stems from a December 2010 bill passed by both the House and Senate calling for new regulations on electric vehicles and hybrids, one of which required that they meet a certain noise threshold.
Known as the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Acts, the 2010 legislation mandated that rules be established to require electric and hybrid vehicles be equipped with a pedestrian alert sound system, which would activate in certain driving conditions to help visually impaired and other pedestrians in distinguishing the presence, direction and location of such vehicles.