New sound requirements for electric and hybrid cars

In 2020, electric cars may not be the silent machines we have become accustomed to. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) just released new requirements for electric cars and hybrids to have an audible noise when in motion. Learn what is changing, why it’s changing and how that might cut down on pedestrian accidents.

The new regulation sets a minimum sound rule for all electric or hybrid passenger cars, light trucks and vans. Starting on September 1st, 2019 electric and hybrid vehicles will make an audible noise when going under 19 mph or when backing up at any speed. There is no sound requirement for vehicles traveling above 19 mph because the engine noise should be audible.

Electric and hybrid cars generally have engines that make little noise when moving at low speeds. For vision impaired pedestrians or bicyclists, these soundless vehicles lack the customary noise of a combustion powered automobile.  A 2011 NHTSA study found that a hybrid electric vehicle has a 35% higher chance of hitting a pedestrian compared to an internal combustion car.

No matter the vehicle type, a collision between a pedestrian and vehicle may be painful or deadly. According to the CDC, one pedestrian death happens every two hours on average in the United States.

Here are some of the difficulties a victim may face if they survive a collision with a vehicle:

  • Expensive medical care
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Brain injuries or mobility issues

A pedestrian-vehicle incident can change your life and cause permanent health problems. The new NHTSA regulations may lead to fewer accidents, but cars may still hit pedestrians. If you need legal help after a pedestrian accident, reach out to a lawyer who can provide you with experienced counsel to get help you need.

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