US authorities take first step on electric vehicle noise
Monday 11 July 2011
Automakers operating in the US could be forced to fit artificial noise generators to new electric vehicles, a recent announcement from authorities has suggested.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said July 7 that it had launched an assessment of how best to introduce regulations that would protect "unsuspecting pedestrians and the visually-impaired from accidents involving hybrid and electric vehicles."
The sounds emitted by electric vehicles are becoming something of a safety headache for governments and automakers.
As the cars use an electric motor instead of a combustion engine, they are virtually silent at low speeds, posing a much greater risk to other road users - several studies have linked quiet hybrid vehicles with a higher accident rate than gasoline vehicles.
As a result, some automakers have bowed to pressure to add warning noises to their vehicles, at the risk of displeasing users who believe that a key advantage of electric motoring is the significant decrease in so-called "noise pollution."
The NHTSA will now evaluate the merits of a law compelling automakers to add artificial noise, with US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood saying "as we improve the environment with cleaner cars, we must also consider how it affects those on bikes and on foot."
Both Europe and Japan have published guidelines suggesting that electric vehicles operating at speeds up to 20km/h (when tire noise becomes enough to provide a sufficient warning) should make sounds which change in volume or tone depending on the speed of the vehicle.
However, in both countries it is permissible for the driver to deactivate such a system, a rule which is reflected in the Nissan Leaf's operation and drew criticism from groups representing visually-impaired people.
Listen to the sounds the NHTSA is considering: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Quiet+Car+Notice+of+Intent
Life & Style blogs
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?
http://www.nyxcosmetics.co.uk/" width="88" height="52" />Black Friday 2014: Best beauty deals
New generation of hi-tech planes lead race to resurrect supersonic air travel
Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
- 1 Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he'd killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful candidate will b...
£13500 - £14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting new opportunity has...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + OTE £70,000 + car + pension: h2 Recruit Ltd: A wel...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion the Largest Independent Motor...