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NHTSA: hybrid vehicles need to be louder, alert pedestrians

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants hybrid and electric vehicles to be louder to help protect pedestrians throughout the U.S.

The proposed requirements by the NHTSA would require hybrid and electric vehicles make a sound when travelling at slower speeds. The sound would help alert pedestrians, bicyclists and visually impaired individuals be more aware of these vehicles and help reduce vehicle collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists.

The proposal came after reports of an increase in pedestrians and bicyclists being hit by hybrid and electric vehicles because they didn't hear the vehicle. The NHTSA said that the rules would help prevent at least 2,800 pedestrian and bicyclist injuries every year.

The proposed rules would require these vehicles to made extra noises when travelling at speeds less than 18 miles per hour. The NHTSA said that hybrid and electric vehicles already make enough noise when travelling at higher speeds.

Under the proposed rules, auto manufacturers would be able to select the sound their vehicles would make. The rules would require the sound to be heard over background noises to make sure pedestrians and bicyclists in busier areas are able to hear hybrid and electric vehicles.

The proposed rules are part of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act that was passed in 2010. Now that the NHTSA has proposed the rule, the public has 60 days to comment on the proposal. The agency said they will then use the public comments to help draft the final rule and requirements.

Pedestrian and bicycle accidents are very common in larger cities, including Cincinnati. Pedestrians or bicyclists who have been injured due to a collision with a vehicle should consult a personal injury attorney to discuss their specific case.

Source: Cleveland, "Government to require electric cars to make noise," Jan. 7, 2013

Our law firm represents victims of pedestrian and bicycle accidents. To learn more about our law firm and how we can help, please visit our Pedestrian & Bicycle Accidents page.

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