EU Parliament Requires Electric Cars To Make Noise

Last week, the European Union's Parliament adopted an amendment requiring car manufacturers to equip their ‘silent’ electric and hybrid cars with an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) as to avoid endangering people with sight loss that are not able to either see or hear such vehicles.

The European Blind Union (EBU) President Wolfgang Angermann welcomed the decision and stated: “Blind and partially sighted people have a right to be out in the streets. Silent cars are dangerous and minimum noise levels to ensure our safety is paramount. I am happy to see that the European Parliament has listened to us. Now we want Member States to do the same and endorse this all important requirement.”

Electric and hybrid, or so-called ‘silent’ cars are too quiet for all pedestrians to detect, but they pose a bigger problem to blind and partially sighted people. Those individuals are unable to hear or see the vehicle, a fact that might result in an accident. In particular, the crash rate of silent vehicles is twice as high as that of cars with internal combustion engine in slow-speed manoeuvre conditions such as slowing, stopping, backing up and entering a parking space. For these reasons, MEPs are promoting the use of AVAS in order to reduce such accidents.

In his 1985 novel The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Robert Heinlein introduces the idea of an automotive sound tape for otherwise silent cars.

Starting about 2150 or a little bit earlier... supreme swank for an Iowa farmer was to own and drive a working replica of a twentieth century "automobile" personal transport vehicle. Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil: Even the People's Republic of South Africa had laws against placing poisons in the air. But with its Shipstone concealed and a sound tape to supply the noise of a soi-disant "IC" engine, the difference between a working replica and a real "automobile" was not readily apparent.

You might want to check out some of the reader comments on this idea when it was first introduced; see comments on 'What Should Electric Cars Sound Like?'.

Via New Europe.

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