2011 Nissan Leaf prototype
The news this week is that the Alliance of Automobile Manufactures, the American Council for the Blind and the National Federation for the Blind have come to an agreement on minimum noise levels that should be required for all electric cars that hit the U.S. streets. The argument and now recommendations as presented to Congress by the aforementioned groups calls for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to create and implement new safety standards as it pertains to electric and hybrid vehicles. The requirements would include minimum sound requirements when vehicles are operating at low speeds to help protect visually or hearing impaired pedestrians from being unaware of the vehicles presence.
Bottom line—these type of new regulations are the signs of changing technology, I mean who ever would have thought we would have a need to make cars louder. However, the concept has been around, especially in the motorcycle arena—the louder you are the more chance someone will see you. If this type of safety requirement is considered as a must have by Congress you could see it in the upcoming Motor Safety Act of 2010.