Vroom: Gov't to require hybrid, electric cars to make noise

New hybrid and electric cars are required to make noise when traveling at low speeds so that pedestrians, especially those who are blind or have poor eyesight, will hear them coming, under a new rule released Monday by the Obama administration.

The new rule could help prevent about 2,400 pedestrian injuries a year once all hybrids on the road are equipped to make noise, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Hybrid vehicles use both a and an electric motor. Electric motors, however, make very little noise compared to gasoline and diesel engines.

The rule requires hybrid and to make audible noise when traveling in reverse or forward at speeds up to about 19 mph. The sound alert isn't required at higher speeds because other factors, such as tire and wind , provide warning.

"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."

Manufacturers have until Sept. 1, 2019, to equip all new hybrid and electric vehicles with sounds that meet the new federal safety standard. Half of new hybrid and electric vehicles must be in compliance one year before the final deadline.


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US to require electric cars to make noise

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Nov 15, 2016
Bell yourselves so we know you are there. People should not be jaywalking.

Nov 15, 2016
Blind people (or people just with handicapped eyesight) rely on these cues. It only makes sense to add some form of 'noise'. The advantage is that the noise can be tailored to the optimal hearing ragen (i.e. it doesn't have to be overly loud to be noticeable).

Nov 15, 2016
How about integrating the sound with proximity detectors, so we drivers do not have to hear it all the time?

Nov 15, 2016
(i.e. it doesn't have to be overly loud to be noticeable).
@AA_P
depends on the area of use and speed of the vehicle

in a crowded city with lots of background noise, it should be loud enough to be heard and unique enough to differentiate it from other noise-makers

of course, it would not have to be as loud in rural or small town areas, nor at slower speeds

Nov 16, 2016
in a crowded city with lots of background noise, it should be loud enough to be heard and unique enough to differentiate it from other noise-makers

Sure. The point I was trying to make was that currently cars make a lot of noise in a range that isn't useful to people who rely on on audio cues. If one can choose the most useful 'noise' for these cars to make one can reduce the overall noise pollution level of cities while at the same time increasing noticeability for those that need it.

E.g. the human auditory system is better at discerning where a high frequency sound comes from than a low frequency sound.
As you note: adaptation to ambient noise level might even be sensible.
At high speeds the cue wouldn't be needed. Then we're talking highways where people (blind or otherwise) shouldn't be trying to cross the road in any case.

It may even be advantageous to use directed sound (front or back cone) instead of omnidirectional. Further reducing noise pollution.

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