Lotus Safe & Sound noisemaker
The debate continues over the danger of electric cars and hybrids to blind pedestrians, as regulators are once again pushing for these vehicles to be fitted with noise-generators.
Advocacy groups for the blind and other research groups suggest the lack of noise from vehicles with electric propulsion could be a danger to those unable to see the vehicle approaching.
Even though research has so far proved inconclusive, the Department of Transportation is pushing for mandatory noise generators.
According to AutoBlogGreen, such a law could have an impact of $100 million on the U.S. economy--though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that only positive results would come out of such a ruling.
Hybrid cars, which generally run on electricity alone at low speeds, and electric cars which always run silently, have often provoked concerns over those who may not hear them approach--cyclists, children, or the visually impaired.
The U.S. Secretary of Transportation has previously set a deadline of January 2014, by which time a final ruling must be decided upon. The U.S. senate approved such a law back in 2010, and the NHTSA said it would begin working on regulations in July 2011.
Back in 2011, we were able to run an unscientific test of noise generators ourselves--and concluded in that example that it wasn't particularly effective.
There are some noises we'd quite like to hear coming from EVs--but for many, the silence is part of their appeal.
Do you think hybrid and electric cars pose a danger to pedestrians? Leave us your thoughts below.