Electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf can be great for the environment, but they are often so quiet that pedestrians don’t hear them coming. As a result, more and more road-crossing accidents have occurred. We can only assume as the popularity of these cars rises, more accidents will happen.
To prevent a large increase in injuries and deaths among people hit by all-but silent electric and hydrid gas/electric cars and SUVs, Congress passed the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010. The law requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue standards for how loud motor vehicles without gas- or diesel-powered engines would have to be.
The legislation followed from studies that showed electric cars were involved in more pedestrian accidents than traditional vehicles and that people wearing blindfolds could hear a regular gas-powered car approaching from as far away as 36 feet but could not hear a hybrid until it was within 11 feet.
As our world changes and technology improves, society needs to adapt as quickly as it can in response. Though these hybrid and electric cars have potential for lowering carbon footprints, they could theoretically cause more harm than good if their noise issue isn’t remedied. One solution? Faux engine noise, the NHTSA suggested.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.