|Photo from flickr|
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."