I recently took a ride in a friend’s Toyota Prius in New York City and I noticed as the vehicle backed up there was a beeping sound from inside the car. That made me wonder, ‘Why is the beeping sound inside of the vehicle? Shouldn’t the sound come from the outside of the quiet hybrid car to alert nearby pedestrians instead of beeping inside the vehicle?’
Apparently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognized the same concerns as I did on my recent car ride. In November of 2016, the NHTSA announced that it would be adding a sound requirement for “all newly manufactured hybrid and electric light-duty vehicles to help protect pedestrians.” This new federal law will help all pedestrians but especially those who are blind, or have poor vision detect the presence, direction and location of these quiet vehicles when they are traveling at low speeds. The study done by the NHTSA estimates that the new regulation will help prevent about 2,400 pedestrian injuries every year once all hybrids and electric cars are properly equipped. As of now, most hybrid and electric cars are nearly silent when driving at low speeds like when in parking lots or garages. As a result, pedestrians frequently have trouble hearing them. Research shows that in low speed situations these quiet cars have higher rates of crashes with pedestrians.
Although the new sound requirement is definitely a step in the right direction to prevent these types of accidents. However, the requirement only applies to newly manufactured cars and therefore doesn’t affect the millions already on the road. As a result, the problem of quiet cars hitting unknowing pedestrians will likely continue to be an issue for some time.
If you or a loved one is struck by an electric or hybrid vehicle that you couldn’t hear approaching, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The attorneys and paralegals at The Law Office of Richard Kenny have over a century of combined experience dealing with pedestrian knockdown cases and we promise to do everything in our power to get you what you deserve. Call our office today at 212-421-0300 for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys!