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New Requirement to Deter Pedestrian Crashes Involving "Quiet" Cars

High-tech hybrid and electric cars are so quiet that they actually put pedestrians at risk. To help deter pedestrian crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced a new sound requirement for all newly manufactured hybrid and electric light-duty vehicles.

"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."

Under the new requirement, all hybrid and electric light vehicles with four wheels and a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less will be required to make audible noise when traveling in reverse or forward at speeds up to 30 kilometers per hour (about 19 miles per hour). The sound alert is not required when vehicles are traveling at higher speeds. NHTSA has determined that tire and wind noise, along with other factors, provide sufficient audible warning to pedestrians.

According to the NHTSA, the federal safety standard will help pedestrians, particularly those who are blind or have low vision, detect the presence, direction and location of these vehicles when they are traveling at low speeds. The agency estimates that the new requirement will help prevent approximately 2,400 pedestrian injuries each year once fully implemented. Manufacturers have until Sept. 1, 2019, to equip all new hybrid and electric vehicles in accordance with the new standard.

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury in a California pedestrian accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. We have the knowledge and experience to obtain the compensation that injury victims deserve.