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The NHTSA will require new vehicles in the 2016 model year to have these sounds applied

A new proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that quiet vehicles be equipped with sounds to alert pedestrians when they're nearby.

Vehicles like hybrids and EVs are quiet when traveling at low speeds because they don't rely on traditional gas engines. Hence, many pedestrians (especially the visually impaired), cannot hear them coming and can get hurt.

To remedy this issue, the NHTSA is proposing that all quiet vehicles like hybrids and EVs (and even electric motorcycles and heavy-duty vehicles) have minimum sound levels when traveling under 18 MPH. Even quiet vehicles emit a sound when going over that speed limit.

"Our proposal would allow manufacturers the flexibility to design different sounds for different makes and models while still 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," said David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator.

Automakers will be allowed to choose from a variety of sounds to use for their vehicles, but each vehicle of the same make and model must have the same sound and must meet minimum volume requirements.

The NHTSA will require new vehicles in the 2016 model year to have these sounds applied. The auto industry will have to pay about $23 million the first year to implement the sounds, and about $35 per vehicle.

A bill was proposed in April 2009 in the Senate that would force hybrid/EV automakers to integrate a system that would produce sound when the vehicles are running on electric power alone.

The NHTSA has a few other projects and proposals it's working on as well. Last month, the White House Office of Management Budget completed its review of the NHTSA's proposal for making event data recorders (EDRs) required in all new vehicles. The proposal suggests increasing the number of new vehicles with EDRs from 91.6 percent today to 100 percent of light-duty cars and trucks.

Source: The Detroit News

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By GroundedinReality on 1/7/2013 4:47:49 PM , Rating: 5
We've had to build walls around neighborhoods to cut down on noise pollution caused by standard internal combustion engines, but now we're going to enforce a minimum noise pollution? This is the most foolish thing I've ever heard.

RE: Ridiculous
By jimbojimbo on 1/7/2013 5:05:48 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah, it's ridiculous. Once this happens everybody with these cars should drive to DC then drive around the capital at 15mph. Let's see if the lawkamers enjoy hearing thousands of cars making stupid ass noises for no reason.

RE: Ridiculous
By Flunk on 1/8/2013 12:10:27 AM , Rating: 2
We can always modify our cars after market to have the sound maker extra loud and on all the time. It is a minimum after all. I'm sure that would annoy enough people to get them to change their minds.

RE: Ridiculous
By Moishe on 1/8/2013 2:49:25 PM , Rating: 2
Artificial ricer-cans for our electric cars... haha.

If I owned one, it'd be tempting to hack my own "ringtone" into it. It's easy to make up sounds that get people's attention. Gunshots, tiger/lion growls, sexy stewardess voice, annoying orange's voice, etc.

RE: Ridiculous
By Samus on 1/8/2013 3:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, I'd definitely disable this crap. I've never been caught 'off guard' by an electric car while walking around or on my bike, and I live in a dense urban area with ton's of hella-terrible Prius drivers.

By Bytre on 1/7/2013 4:43:29 PM , Rating: 2
the sound should be standardized, that of an engine. I drive a leaf, which makes a stupid UFO sound, but that sound doesn't convey danger to the inattentive in the parking lot.

RE: sounds
By ebakke on 1/7/2013 5:25:04 PM , Rating: 2
Should we assign someone the role of Designated Hand Holder for the inattentive as well? Or at some point should we expect people to take some responsibility for their own safety and well being?

RE: sounds
By ClownPuncher on 1/7/2013 6:10:45 PM , Rating: 3
When I'm walking and texting, how can I tell if a car is coming?

RE: sounds
By erple2 on 2/3/2013 8:32:24 AM , Rating: 2
You don't have to. Natural Selection.

RE: sounds
By mutatio on 1/8/2013 3:53:14 AM , Rating: 2
No kidding. Yes, the hearing impaired apparently also have impaired judgment and don't bother to look both ways before crossing an effing street?

RE: sounds
By Flunk on 1/8/2013 12:09:04 AM , Rating: 2
The sound of an engine will be just a foreign in a few years. The sound the leaf makes is terrible, but going backwards isn't necessarily the correct path.

By CarbonJoe on 1/7/2013 4:29:03 PM , Rating: 3
Baseball card in the spokes? Worked for bicycles.

RE: Noises
By ShaolinSoccer on 1/7/2013 9:57:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'd rather get hit by a bicycle than a car. You may have the right idea for the tech, though.

RE: Noises
By marvdmartian on 1/8/2013 7:52:05 AM , Rating: 2
Was thinking a playing card (Ace of Spades, perhaps?), held on by a clothes pin.

But officer...
By Beenthere on 1/7/2013 4:55:14 PM , Rating: 2
...those tire tracks on my back are from the EV that just ran over me. Check the tire prints. :(

RE: But officer...
By HostileEffect on 1/7/2013 11:53:52 PM , Rating: 2
Id compare being hit by an EV to being stepped on by a 1200 pound mule, it doesn't hurt... much.

RE: But officer...
By Flunk on 1/8/2013 12:13:01 AM , Rating: 2
The Chevy Spark EV is slated to be around 3000lbs and it's tiny. You really don't want to be hit by that.

By SquashHead on 1/7/2013 4:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
I tried to read the article but all i could think of was this:

RE: Tatataa
By Mitch101 on 1/7/2013 5:33:01 PM , Rating: 3
This is all I could think of.

Tip to the hearing impaired...
By mutatio on 1/8/2013 3:59:00 AM , Rating: 2
Try effing looking both ways before and while crossing the street. For those not hearing impaired, if your idiot ass is texting while walking in the street we'll consider you for the Darwin awards. This is just a moronic policy.

RE: Tip to the hearing impaired...
By Moishe on 1/8/2013 2:52:30 PM , Rating: 2
This. ^^

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