NHTSA Requires Hybrids to Make Noise Starting in 2019

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Nov. 15, 2016—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Monday mandated that all new electric or hybrid vehicles make at least some noise, so that the visually impaired can hear them. The mandate applies to all new vehicles as of Sept. 1, 2019. Half of new hybrid and electric vehicles must be compliant one year prior to the final deadline.

Any vehicle weighing up to 10,000 pounds must make noise at speeds up to nearly 20 mph, the NHTSA declared. At higher speeds, the sound alert is not required due to other factors, such as tire and wind noise.

“Having raised concerns on behalf of blind Americans about the dangers posed by silent hybrid and electric vehicles, the National Federation of the Blind is extremely pleased that technical specifications for a safe level of sound to be emitted by such vehicles have now been issued,” said Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind.

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