Green Cars Won't Be Getting Safer For The Deaf And Blind Anytime Soon

Politics

The silent strikers will remain just that.

Hybrid and electric cars are great for the environment but they can be dangerous to those who are deaf and blind because in all-electric mode they aren’t very loud. That means pedestrians who are hard of hearing or who can’t see very well run the risk of walking right into them while crossing the street. US lawmakers have been trying to pass a bill requiring automakers to add an audio warning system since 2013. Now according to a Reuters’ report that system is being held up even longer.

There was no reason given by the Transportation Department as to why the legislation is being delayed, with the official line being “additional coordination is necessary.” The bill will be picked up again in mid-March. One big reason why the law keeps getting delayed could be automakers. The proposed law would require all hybrid and electric vehicles to have an audio alert system that is triggered when a vehicle is doing 18 mph or less. Car companies have pushed back, saying the speed should be lower and that the alerts are too loud and complicated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says hybrids are 19 percent more likely to be involved in a pedestrian crash than gas-powered vehicles.

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The NHTSA estimates that if the law were put into place then there would be 2,800 fewer pedestrian and cyclist injuries each year. Of course money trumps all, and it’s estimated that it’ll cost $23 million in the first year to implement the audio warning system, this due to the need to install a waterproof external speaker.

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