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Hybrids and electric vehicles may turn up the volume for safety

Laws governing U.S. roadways continue to be established to keep motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians safe. Laws have been established in North Carolina and throughout the entire country to prevent drivers from operating their vehicles while being distracted by cellphones. And many states require the use of seat belts to better protect drivers and passengers in the event of a collision.

In another effort to increase safety on the road, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently suggested that automakers should make hybrid and electric vehicles louder so that other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists can hear the vehicles on the road. When pedestrians and bicyclists are on the road, they may be able to avoid being hit by a vehicle when they can hear that a vehicle is approaching.

The NHTSA is recommending that hybrid and electric vehicles be designed in a way that would make the vehicles emit louder sounds when traveling at speeds below 18 mph. This change could prevent more than 2,500 injuries over the life of each model year of vehicles, the NHTSA claims.

Adding sound-producing technology to the vehicles would entail installing speaker systems. Auto manufacturers would also be able to choose whatever sounds they want to have the models emit. And the cost of adding the technology to vehicles is relatively low.

Some automakers have already begun adding speakers to vehicles in order to make their vehicles safer for all who are on the road. The Chevrolet Volt allows the driver to activate a warning sound using a button on the end of the turn signal lever, while the Nissan Leaf plays a sound at speeds of up to 18 mph.

The NHTSA's proposal has not been approved yet.

Source: Automotive News, "NHTSA proposes rules for automakers to add sound to hybrids, EVs," Gabe Nelson, Jan. 7, 2013

  • Our firm handles a wide variety of motor vehicle accident claims, including car vs. pedestrian accident claims and car vs. bicycle accident claims. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our North Carolina auto accident attorney page.

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