NHTSA Will Add Sound to Hybrids ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: NHTSA Will Add Sound to Hybrids

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NHTSA Will Add Sound to Hybrids

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will begin writing legislation to set requirements "for an alert sound that allows blind and other pedestrians to reasonably detect a nearby electric or hybrid vehicle" within 18 months and must finalize the rules within three years (Source: Detroit News, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers).

The sound will be activated automatically and drivers will not be allowed to turn off the sound.  The NHTSA still has to decide how loud and what type of noise the cars need to make in order to alert blind or other pedestrians.  They also have to consider the overall community noise impact.

There has been recent study data indicating hybrids have a higher rate of pedestrian impacts, although there is some controversy over the results.

The legislation will impact hybrid cars and electric vehicles which can run 'silently' at low speeds.  The concern is for blind pedestrians who listen for oncoming cars and will not realize a car running on electricity is there.  Two major auto manufacturing groups, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, sent a letter supporting the move by the legislation.

"Good policy is a collaborative effort, and this is a good approach for pedestrians and automakers," said Alliance President and CEO Dave McCurdy in a statement. "This encourages an innovative solution."

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