Automakers Complain EV "Noisemakers" for the Blind Are Too Loud
March 19, 2013 9:22 AM
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Some sports cars won't pass minimum noise rules according to automakers
The Obama administration instituted a so-called "quiet cars" rule that would force automakers to add noisemakers to electric and nearly silent vehicles to
help alert blind pedestrians
. However, major automakers are now complaining that the ruling would result in warning sounds that are too loud.
Two major automotive trade groups to represent the big three in Detroit, Toyota, Volkswagen, and other major Asian and European automakers have voiced concerns about the proposed rules.
According to Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Association of Global Automakers, the rule, "is too complicated and is unnecessarily prescriptive. If implemented as proposed, it would result in alert sounds that are louder than necessary, create driver and occupant annoyance and cost more than necessary."
Tesla Model S EV
The proposal by the NHTSA would set minimum sound levels for both hybrid and electric vehicles for pedestrians, and specifically to alert visually impaired people. According to automakers, the rules as they are proposed would create electric vehicles that are louder than some high-performance sports cars.
The NHTSA wants to add these noise rules for silent vehicles because the odds of a hybrid vehicle being involved in a crash with a pedestrian are 19% higher compared to vehicles with traditional gasoline or diesel engines. The likelihood of hybrid vehicle being involved in an accident with a bicyclist is reportedly 38% higher. The new rules set forth by the NHTSA are supposed to begin implementation in September 2014.
If the NHTSA refuses to change the rules, auto manufacturers want the phase in to be extended to 2018. Adding the noisemakers is estimated to cost an additional $35 per vehicle and to cost automotive industry $23 million the first year. As the rule stands now the minimum sound requirements would apply at vehicles at speeds of up to 18.6 mph.
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More of a not paying attention problem...
3/19/2013 2:26:19 PM
Okay, I own a Chevy Volt which I have to admit is pretty quiet. GM has on the Volt provided a pedestrian horn which basically gives a nice gentle honk instead of the regular alarming car honk which would likely make you jump. I have in the 4 months I've owned the car never used that horn except for trying it out for fun.
I think this law is going in the wrong direction here. I mean when was the last time you saw someone dive out of the way of an oncoming car? Most accidents are from either the driver not paying attention / rushing or pedestrians not paying attention at all. Both can be at fault here. As a cyclist too I've said the general rule is use your eyes! If the driver isn't looking at you (making eye contact), they'll probably run you over if you try crossing a car's path.
Rear backup Ultrasonic sensors might be a good idea for EV's backing up for blind spots that are hard to see (I have a set on my volt.) but aside from that I don't think this is an issue at all.
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