When we think in terms of decibel level and vehicles we commonly think more in terms of making them quieter, not louder. We invented mufflers for a reason. With the advent of electric and hybrid cars however, we created the opposite problem, namely cars that are too quiet.
Super quiet cars are a problem for visually impaired pedestrians who rely on the sound of the engine to alert them to the fact that a car is coming. When they don’t hear the sound of the engine they assume they are safe, putting them at risk.
Because of this the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is adding a sound requirement to federal safety standard in order to protect visually impaired pedestrians. “This new standard requires hybrid and electric passenger cars, light trucks and vans (LTVs), and low speed vehicles (LSVs) to produce sounds meeting the requirements of this standard.”
It is estimated that this addition to the standard will result in almost 2,400 fewer injuries each year.
The goal is to have all vehicles compliant by September 2018.