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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

U.S. delays 'quiet car' rules for hybrids, electric cars | Reuters

Reuters report that the intriguing idea that electric and hybrid cars should be required to make more noise, to protect cyclists and people with impaired sight, is being delayed. First mooted in 2013, the proposal would require “quiet cars” and other vehicles to give out audible alerts at low speeds (under 18 mph), at which they operate without a noisy internal combustion engine running. In particular, the proposed rules are designed to prevent crashes at junctions and reversing accidents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the chances of a quiet vehicle being involved in a pedestrian crash are 19 percent higher than a conventional vehicle using an internal combustion engine. The proposal would mean 2,800 fewer pedestrian and cyclist injuries annually, NHTSA reckons. But vehicle manufacturers say the alerts are too loud and complicated, and that they should be required only at lower speeds. NHTSA said in 2013 that it expected the rules to cost the industry some $23 million in the first year, because of the need to add an external waterproof speaker.

Congress passed a law in 2010 requiring NHTSA to finalise the regulations by January 2014. In July NHTSA said they would be ready by November, but now the agency says it will not be able to meet that deadline though it has not elaborated on the reasons for this. The Transportation Department said in a document posted on its website that "additional coordination is necessary."

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