One of the appealing features of electric cars for many drivers is the fact that they are nearly silent, especially at low speeds. Unfortunately, this has also increased the danger to pedestrians and could lead to more accidents.
The Silent Danger
As pedestrians cross the street in a busy city or walk across a parking lot, they use their sense of hearing as well as sight to determine if it is safe or if a vehicle is coming. For those who are blind or visually impaired, the sense of sound is even more important.
Electric and hybrid cars pose a real danger in this situation because they are almost silent at low speeds. Because they make very little noise, a pedestrian may be unaware of their presence until after they step out in traffic.
The concern is mainly for vehicles going at low speeds. Once an electric or hybrid vehicle is running at highway speeds, the wind and traction on the road cause enough sound for the vehicle to be heard. At low speeds, there is virtually no wind resistance and very little traction. With traditional gasoline vehicles, the hum of the engine is enough to provide adequate sounds to warn pedestrians. Without the use of this engine, the vehicle can be almost silent.
In addition, more pedestrian-related accidents happen in cities around busy intersections. Not only are more people crossing streets, but they are less likely to pay attention for the few seconds they are in traffic.
The Need for Safety
The US Department of Transportation has addressed this issue, and they announced a new requirement that future electric and hybrid vehicles must make some audible sound. The details of the type of sound are not established, but the sound must be recognizable as a vehicle.
This regulation requires car manufacturers to have a system in place which includes an audible sound on newly manufactured vehicles by September 2019. Some models will need to meet requirements by 2018.
While the new regulation will help visually impaired pedestrians, it will also impact everyone who walks to their destinations. As more people are involved with their phones and tablets, they may be less aware of what is going on around them. Having an audible noise to indicate the presence of an otherwise quiet car will go a long way in saving lives and preventing injuries.
It has been estimated that the new requirement will help prevent approximately 2400 injuries to pedestrians. These injuries can range from minor to severe even though the vehicle is going at a slow speed.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a car accident in which you were a pedestrian, you need to seek legal counsel with an experienced attorney. They can review your case and work to obtain a settlement for your medical costs and other damages while you focus on recovery from your accident.
Call A NoLA Car Accident Attorney For A Free Appointment
Contact Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm by using our online contact form or by calling our office at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free legal consultation. We are here to help you when you need someone on your side who will protect your legal rights and put your best interest as the top priority.