NHTSA sets quiet car standard
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it is adding a sound requirement for all newly manufactured hybrid and electric light-duty vehicles to help protect pedestrians. The new federal quiet car standard will help pedestrians, especially those who are blind or have low vision, detect the presence, direction and location of these vehicles when they are traveling at low speeds. Officials expect the new standard will help prevent about 2,400 pedestrian injuries each year once all hybrids in the fleet are properly equipped.
“We all depend on our senses to alert us to possible danger,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “With more, quieter hybrid and electrical cars on the road, the ability for all pedestrians to hear as well as see the cars becomes an important factor of reducing the risk of possible crashes and improving safety.”
Hybrid and electric light vehicles with four wheels and a weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less will be required to make audible noise when traveling at speeds up to 30 kilometers per hour (about 19 miles per hour). The sound alert is not required at higher speeds because tire and wind noise typically provide adequate warning.