US regulators continue to push for a mandate that makers of hybrids and electric-drive vehicles install a pedestrian-warning system on their vehicles to alert blind pedestrians, the Daily Caller reports.

The US Secretary of Transportation had previously set a January 2014 deadline for a final ruling on the proposed law. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is studying the issue and has estimated that such a law may have an impact of at least $100 million on the US economy.

The issue is a topical one because hybrids and EVs are nearly silent at low speeds, creating what many say is a risk to blind pedestrians who depend on engine sounds to determine whether a car is coming.

In late 2010, the US Senate voted to approve such a law and NHTSA said it would start working on regulations for such a measure in July 2011.


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  • 35 Comments
      Ele Truk
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't get what they are pushing for. The law was passed. There is a timeline. NHTSA is working on specs. What more needs to be pushed? http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/s841 Come on Congress, spend your frickin time on things that matter, like fixing the budget.
      Aaron Schwarz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Horsh*t : blind people have improved hearing (study neuroscience to figure out why). If people are too deaf to hear the tires grinding against the ground, they need to check into an audiologist, wear ear-protection at the gun range, and stop complaining about not hearing. Most modern gas powered vehicles are nearly silent at low speeds! Also, the electric motor / controller in the Prii and other hybrids and electric makes a very distinctive hi-pitch noise when the vehicles are moving. My girlfriend and I both did a test, where we closed out eyes and listened for cars in a parking lot. The hybrids and regular cars made the same amount of noise, the overwhelming majority of which came from the tires bending and grinding against the ground. Congress needs to work on something constructive.....not this useless non-issue!
        Aaron Schwarz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Aaron Schwarz
        what next, are they going to pass a law that forces ICE powered vehicle owners to remove their muffler, because the engines sounds coming from the exhaust pipe are not loud enough?
          Aaron Schwarz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Aaron Schwarz
          Blind people also have access to specially trained dogs and wearable computing devices that can help them navigate on foot more safely. Talk about annoying: Imagine if a large percentage of vehicles were rolling around making stupid beeping noises.... yuck!
      • 2 Years Ago
      So we buy an electric vehicle and go for a leisurely ride in the countryside wailing like a stuck pig so the blind can hear us? What about bicycles? They make little to no noise? or minivans that are so quiet, you have to put you hand on the hood to know its running... Should we create noise pollution when we are so close to getting it under control? Someone stated previously here a comment that people seem to forget, there is a driver in these vehicles, that person is responsible for the vehicle as it moves about in traffic and all cars have HORNS! To make someone that is not aware of their presence.... AWARE!
      GR
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm still crossing my fingers for a TIE Fighter sound effect in future EVs. :-)
        Richard Gozinya
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GR
        That's easy, just get one of the more high powered electric motorcycles. They all sound like TIE fighters.
      Peter Muller
      • 2 Years Ago
      Have they really got NOTHING BETTER to do... and we pay these guys to sit in meetings and potificate about stuff the manufacturers have long sorted out.. or figured we dont need.
      Dave D
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wire cutters LOL
      pmpjunkie01
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can already picture the blind guide dogs going bonkers over all the bleeping from EV's and Hybrids! If you want to talk about legislation like this it should be drive train agnostic and pegged to the noise level emitted from the car. Otherwise it just smells like some lobbying b^&%%$t.
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is not needed, with most production vehicles you don't hear the engine first anyway, the sound I hear is the tires on the pavement, this is just a case of some idiots wanting to do something to make them feel good, they should check with us that have the disability before trying to help us
      EV News
      • 2 Years Ago
      A cheaper solution is to make this law a requirement for blind pedestrians to wear Day-Glow vests when-ever they're within 200m of a public road... that way drivers can more easily identify them! If it's good enough for Police it's good enough for Blind people! Better to give away safety vests to the less than 1% of the population that are blind than to require the other 99% to install a noise generation device that serves NO PURPOSE 99% of the time and just adds to everyone's noise pollution stress level.
      ufgrat
      • 2 Years Ago
      So, we're going to increase noise pollution from all electric vehicles to accommodate 0.6% of the population (or less). Not to mention increasing the cost of all of those vehicles-- and ICE based vehicles shouldn't be exempt from the law, because they're getting quieter and quieter. The amount of noise in a city intersection from all of these alert mechanisms should be truly terrifying, especially with echoes. Would this money not be better spent on some form of assistive technology that would allow the blind to "sense" (or at least be aware of) oncoming cars, trucks, bicycles, etc.?
        mapoftazifosho
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ufgrat
        It's called a ******* horn! Every car has one...moving on! This ruins the legitimacy of everything else NHTSA does! We have real issues to deal with and this is how our government is spending resources?
          paulwesterberg
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          If only we had vehicles that contained communication devices that worked without wires. Then bind/def people could use listening devices or haptic feedback devices to "see" cars as they pass.
          ufgrat
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          No, a horn isn't good enough. It relies on the driver to be proactive, and while I do occasionally notice the guy with the white stick with the red tip, I suspect I'm in a minority. No, the blind need some way to know if a large, fast-moving object is heading towards them... I'm envisioning some form of headset that beeps, possibly with changes in pitch and/or frequency of beeps to let the wearer know about the relative size/speed of approaching objects-- Some form of range-finding laser scanner like they use in robotics.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, we knew this was coming.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      This proposed legislation doesn't go far enough ! How do we know that birds might not be affected by the slight while of EV's ? Mrs Emilie Limbaugh, co-convener of the "Save our Children from be killed by Electric Cars committee" reports that only last Tuesday, A 'sight-impaired' shy, lesser banded Maricoot, ( endangered species), was terrified by the reckless speed of her neighbours NEV. The reckless now Electric Vehicles should be compelled to have a warning device in the form of a man, walking in front with a Red Flag and a loud whistle........
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