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NHTSA Proposes Sound Safety Standard for Hybrid, Electric Vehicles

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Jan. 16, 2013—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently proposed a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard regulation regarding minimum sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles.

According to the Automotive Service Association (ASA), the NHTSA’s proposal was made under the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act (PSEA) of 2010. The proposed rule establishes a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard that would require all hybrid and electric vehicles that are able to move forward and reverse without operation of an internal combustion engine to make specific sounds.

The ASA said the purpose of the proposed regulation is to allow blind or visually impaired pedestrians to be aware of nearby hybrid and electric vehicles. An analysis conducted by the NHTSA revealed that roughly 2,800 pedestrian injuries and 35 pedestrian fatalities would be avoided with enactment of the rule.

The proposed regulation would encompass all hybrid and electric vehicles, including passenger cars, light trucks, vans, medium and heavy-duty trucks, buses, low-speed vehicles and motorcycles.

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