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Safety and sound: Sound from electric cars would improve safety

Perhaps you have heard the phrase, "safe and sound," but the increase in electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads is bringing a new meaning to how sound can affect safety. The roads are shared by those driving 18-wheelers, motorcycles, minivans, hybrids and those who are on-foot. This situation can lead to danger, particularly for pedestrians.

A recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration addresses the safety that "green" vehicles pose to pedestrians and bicyclists. While the intention behind electric and hybrid cars is positive, a negative consequence of their growth in popularity is that people are getting hurt in pedestrian accidents that could be prevented in a simple way.

The NHTSA proposes that manufacturers of the earth-friendly vehicles make a modification to them that would make them noisier while driving at slow speeds. Currently, the electric vehicles are so quiet when slowly moving that pedestrians and cyclists have a hard time hearing them.

Pedestrians' inability to hear the vehicles results in ignorance that a car might be present and that it might, for example, be unsafe to cross. Some pedestrian accidents and bicycle crashes could be prevented, therefore, if only hybrid and electric vehicles made more noise; thus, the NHTSA's proposal that automakers should add noise to their earth-friendly vehicles.

Bicyclists and pedestrians tend to travel within residential areas or areas that have less and slower traffic overall. Those same areas are where cars travel more slowly, and in the case of electric and hybrid cars that are quiet at slow speeds, this is a life-threatening combination.

Noise issues are not the primary cause behind all pedestrian and bike accidents. Careless driving is the most persistent health threat. Our Louisiana law firm helps those who have been injured because of a driver's negligence seek the justice that they are looking for following an accident.

Source: Truckinginfo, "NHTSA Proposes New Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles," Jan. 9, 2013

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