Electric and hybrid cars could be forced to make a sound

11th January 2013

Electric and hybrid cars could soon be made to have a minimum noise level, at least in the US, if new proposals are passed in the country.

The US Department for Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called for a "minimum sound standard" to be introduced on such vehicles.

This is after the organisation carried out research recently, which underlined that as many as 2,800 pedestrians and cyclists are injured each year due to cars without the assistance of a noisy internal combustion engine being too quiet.

As such, the NHTSA believes that a distinctive noise should be present on all electric and hybrid vehicles, which can be heard until the motor reaches 18mph.

This noise would have to be audible above "a wide range of street noises and other ambient background sounds", though not necessarily as loud as that made by a petrol- or diesel-engine vehicle.

"Safety is our highest priority, and this proposal will help keep everyone using our nation's streets and roadways safe, whether they are motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians, and especially the blind and visually impaired," commented US transportation secretary Ray LaHood.

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