Traffic might seem loud to you, but officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) say that it needs to be louder! And the government is proposing a rule to make sure that electric and hybrid vehicles meet a set of minimum sound standards.
Why do cars need to be louder? Officials say that these energy-efficient vehicles are getting too quiet and it's jeopardizing the safety of our area's bicyclists and pedestrians. Far too often, pedestrians and bicyclists are injured and even killed along our roadways because they're struck by vehicles. The problem is that the newer vehicles just can't be heard as easily, which in some cases is increasing accident risks.
The Administrator of the NHTSA, David Strickland says that the organization is dedicated to "providing an opportunity for pedestrians, bicyclists and the visually impaired to detect and recognize a vehicle and make a decision about whether it is safe to cross the street."
Our Costa Mesa injury attorneys understand that pedestrians, bicyclists and other roadside travelers rely on their hearing substantially to help them to navigate safely through the area. With these new and quieter vehicles, these travelers aren't able to easily detect risks. This especially impacts travelers who are hearing impaired.
The recent proposal is looking to make sure that these vehicles can be heard under nearly all circumstances, like through street noise and other kinds of ambient background noises. Officials are looking to adhere this rule specifically to vehicles that are traveling slower than 18 miles an hour. Officials believe that vehicles traveling over this speed will already make enough noise to alert travelers.
Officials want a special noise for these cars to make when they're traveling slowly. Automakers are asked to make the same sounds for the same makes and models of a vehicle, in addition to other requirements of the proposal.
You can visit the NHTSA's Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles page for sample sounds of what these vehicles count be emitting if this proposal makes it through.
It's important that we do all that we can to help these vulnerable travelers. Pedestrians bicyclists and those with hearing impairments need all of the warning they can get.
While many of these travelers do use their hearing to help them to safely navigate their way through the area, it's important to remember that nothing is more important that sight. Travelers are reminded to be aware of their entire surroundings, especially when traveling near vehicular traffic. When traveling as a pedestrian or as a bicyclist, it's important that you use all of your senses to help to make your journey a safe one. One of the most important things you can to do is to stay one step ahead of the vehicles around you can help to keep you out of a potentially fatal accident.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact Vincent Howard today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (800) 872-5925.
L.A. Pedestrians Need to Keep Focus on Negligent Drivers, California Injury Lawyers, September 23, 2012
More Pedestrians Killed in Accidents in California and Elsewhere, California Injury Lawyers, August 9, 2012