At our law firm, we take driver and pedestrian safety seriously. That’s why we’re so encouraged whenever we hear about a new technology or regulation that will help all members of the road community to thrive and remain safe.
According to a series of news reports, Washington drivers as well as drivers across the nation will soon be driving electric or hybrid vehicles that will emit sounds while traveling at low speeds. This is due to the fact that many pedestrians who suffer tremendously while crossing the street when newer, silent vehicles are traveling by, are often the victims of accidents. According to an estimate released by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 2,400 pedestrian injuries would be prevented if all newer electric or hybrid vehicles were fitted with alarms or noises.
Automakers will have until September 1st, 2019 to make sure that all of its hybrid or electric vehicles are fitted with these alarms.
While the NHTSA has determined that vehicles going at about 19 miles per hour will have to emit these sounds, vehicles driving at higher speeds won’t have to do the same. Light-duty vehicles are being targeted because their design and technology make them very quiet vehicles. If pedestrians who are blind or visually-impaired aren’t able to hear the vehicles coming, they will be more likely to be involved in a crash.
The NHTSA’s new standard is known as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141 and it’s a response to the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, which requires that hybrid and electric vehicles meet important requirements, providing an audible alert for the blind and visually-impaired.
We hope more technologies are developed by automakers to make sure that drivers, pedestrians, and several others are not vulnerable. We’re glad to see more companies and government regulators working together to help bring the number of serious and deadly crashes down.
In a state like Washington, where drivers are conscious of environmental concerns, this type of mandate will help us to stay safe while also being good citizens.
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