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Automakers want the phase-in schedule to be pushed from 2016 to 2018

Automakers have requested a delay regarding the rollout of alert systems for "quiet cars" since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seems to be a bit behind on the final regulation.
 
According to The Detroit News, NHTSA was supposed to issue the final regulation by January 3 of this year, but now says it won't be ready until the end of April 2015. 
 
In response, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Association of Global Automakers -- the two major auto trade groups -- wrote a letter to NHTSA asking it to delay the phase-in period that was planned for 2016 to September 2018 instead. 
 
“Unfortunately, the final rule was not published prior to the Jan. 4, 2014 congressional deadline and based on the ongoing dialogue that has been occurring between NHTSA and stakeholders, it is apparent that there remains a great deal of uncertainty as to the content of the final requirements,” the letter said. “The agency should forgo the phase-in and go directly to full implementation” on Sept. 1, 2018, because “manufacturers will have very little time to develop and put into the production compliant systems in time.”
 
The automakers further added that if the phase-in schedule isn't dropped, it should be pushed back to begin in September 2017 and allow automakers with three or fewer EVs to have until 2018 for full compliance.

 
The idea behind the alerts is that hybrid and electric vehicles are mainly silent at speeds of less than 18 mph, when tire and wind noise is insignificant. This means that pedestrians -- especially children and those with disabilities or are hard of hearing -- could get seriously hurt if they're crossing the street and don't hear a car coming.
 
NHTSA has been looking into this topic since 2007, and it planned to phase in the new rules starting in the 2016 model year. 
 
NHTSA expects the proposal will cost the auto industry about $23 million USD during the first year, and that the cost of adding a speaker system to comply with the requirements to be around $35 per vehicle. 
 
However, automakers fought the proposal, saying the costs of components could be five times as high as that estimate. They also added that the new alert systems would be annoying
 
The new rules would also apply to electric motorcycles and heavy-duty vehicles. 
 
In other related news, the NHTSA recently said that in-vehicle technology for preventing parents from leaving kids in the car "isn't ready." 
 
NHTSA Administrator David Friedman and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx held a press conference in Washington, DC to urge parents not to forget their children in cars, especially during warm days when they can suffer from heatstroke. 
 
“The technology that’s out there just isn’t reliable enough to put your child’s life in the hands of. That’s why the message today is really one about making sure that we get into the habit of looking before we lock. Never leave a child alone in a car,” Friedman said. “The technology isn’t there yet. We’re continuing to look at any new product that’s available in the marketplace but it’s just not there right now.”
 
NHTSA said about 38 children die from being left alone in cars for long periods of time each year. Of these deaths, 30 percent are linked to children getting into unlocked, unattended vehicles; 17 percent are linked to parents intentionally leaving their children in vehicles, and 51 percent are because parents forget the child was left behind.
 
This is especially a hot topic right now, considering stories like that of Justin Ross Harris of Cobb Country, Georgia, who left his 22-month-old son in a hot car for hours until the child died. 

Sources: The Detroit News [1], [2]





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