The United States authorities announced a change in regulations which will force the as yet silent electric and hybrid cars to make more noise so as to prevent possible incidents.
The change in regulations was announced today by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA and should come to be instated by September 2019.
According to authorities, the new “silent” rule will be imposed so as to protect pedestrians from possible accidents with such electric and hybrid cars.
Partial or total vision-impaired pedestrians are amongst the particular targets of this change as the new sound will help protect them in traffic.
The US mandate will feature weight and speed dependent sounds as follows. Electric and hybrid vehicles with a weight of 4536 kg traveling at or under the speed of 19 miles/hour will have to feature built-in, audible noises.
According to the NHTSA press release, a traveling speed of 19 miles per hour or higher will not require a built-in alert because a number of other factors already generate sounds.
Amongst the sound generating factors of higher speed cars, one can number the tire rotation and wind speed and sound. These should account for an adequate pedestrian audible warning.
The NHTSA stated that, according to estimates, the new rule should help prevent at least 2400 annual pedestrian injuries and other related incidents.
A detailed description and possible source of the new rule was also released alongside the sound decision.
It would seem that the idea stems from a Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act which was released in 2010. This required the NHTSA to establish a set of performance requirements which can come to be recognized as a running motor vehicle.
The such established sound alert is not limited to being natural, just as the current rule does not specify which kind of noise the electric and hybrid cars will have to make.
However, the mandate does clarify the fact that the built-in sound, whatever it may be, must be clearly heard whenever the vehicle is in action.
This means that it does not matter whether the vehicle is moving forwards, as in traffic, or in reverse, as when they are being parked.
A further clarification was made in regards the two versus four wheels aspect of the vehicle as the rule will target only the latter.
Two wheels vehicles the likes of the electric Vespa which Piaggio scheduled for release sometime next year will not be targeted by the built-in sound amendment.
Dr. Mark Rosekind, the NHTSA administrator declared in a statement that the new “silent” electric and hybrid car amendment was established so as to ensure the pedestrians safety.
As car companies are yet to release statements in regards the new rule, the idea of fake engine sounds should not be viewed as too far fetched.
Seeing as a number of cars already use such devices, it is true that current sounds are used more for pleasure than for safety.
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