Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly common all along the roads, and such automobiles are largely seen as a safe and efficient way to get to one’s destination without busting the bank on gas or contributing to the deterioration of the environment. But there’s one assumedly positive factor that has been increasingly looked upon as a negative: the relative silence of these vehicles.
When an electric vehicle travels along the road, it’s hard for pedestrians and cyclists in the area to discern its presence. We tend to take for granted how much we rely on audible cues to pick up on our environment.
In 2010, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act was passed, and thanks to that law, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been able to put together a rule that would mandate noises in otherwise silent electric vehicles. The proposal would make it so that any electric automobile going less than 18 miles per hour would have to emit noise so that people in the area would be clued in to the vehicle.
Some vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf or the Fisker Karma, already have such safety measures, but the NHTSA figures that making noises mandatory across the board would cut the number of yearly injuries by the thousands. Automakers will have a choice of what sounds they want their vehicles to make.