Hybrid vehicles have grown in popularity due to their environmental benefits, but these quiet, electric powered cars often run too silent for seeing impaired pedestrians to hear coming. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a new sound requirement to protect pedestrians who are blind, have low vision, as well as any and all pedestrians. NHTSA hopes that with this requirement in place, 2,400 pedestrian injuries will be prevented each year.
Moving forward, all newly manufactured electric and hybrid vehicles must emit an audible noise when moving up to 19 miles per hour. Other factors include hybrid and electric cars with four wheels and a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less. These regulations will only be required when the car is moving at lower speeds do to the natural sounds, tires, wind noises, etc. that electric cars make when moving at a quicker speed.
Car manufacturers will have until September 19th 2017 to equip all hybrid and electric cars with these requirements. The U.S. Transportation department expects this will affect up to 530,000 2020 vehicle models, while the U.S. National Highway Transportation Departments estimates the regulation change will cost the auto industry about $39 million annually to make the change.
NHTSA administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind is optimistic about this change. He believes this is a necessary regulation stating, “This is a common-sense tool to help pedestrians — especially folks who are blind or have low vision — make their way safely. With pedestrian fatalities on the rise, it is vitally important we take every action to protect the most vulnerable road users.”
With this new regulation in place, thousands of automobile accidents will be prevented each year. The regulation strives to establish a safer community for blind Americans and bring awareness to all hybrid and electric car drivers.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, get in touch with us to find out what we can do for you. Call us at 800.676.5295 or contact us to schedule a meeting to discuss your case and how our experienced attorneys can help.