New Minimum Sound Requirements Proposed for Hybrid and Electric Cars

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has proposed that hybrid and electric vehicles meet minimum sound standards in order to make all pedestrians more aware of cars approaching at lower speeds.

The NHTSA has said that the sounds would need to be heard when the vehicle is traveling under 18 miles per hour. Above 18 miles per hour vehicles make sufficient noise without added sound to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to detect them. The government estimates that if this proposal is enacted there will be 2,800 fewer pedestrian and pedalcyclist injuries over the life of each model year of hybrid cars, trucks and vans and low speed vehicles.