The low-speed noisemaker would act as a safety feature and help nearby pedestrians to hear them and become aware of their presence.
The National Highway Transport Safety & Administration (NHTSA) is said to have started an investigation to check the need to install a low-speed noisemaker on electric and hybrid vehicles manufactured as early as 1997. As per reports, the noisemaker will act as a safety feature alerting pedestrians and other bystanders of its presence.
Back in 2018, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 141 was passed. As per the legislation, all EVs and hybrid-electric cars with a gross vehicle weight of less than 4.5-tonnes and manufactured on or after March 1, 2021, were mandated to have a noisemaker when travelling at low speeds of up to 18 mph (29 km/h). This was because EVs make little to no noise when travelling at low speeds. The low-speed noisemaker would act as a safety feature and help nearby pedestrians to hear them and become aware of their presence.
This leaves millions of EVs and hybrids manufactured before March 1, 2021, without pedestrian noisemakers. A petition, however, is trying to change that. The petitioner states that as per the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, all motor vehicles should establish a method of “alerting pedestrians” of the operation and presence of the vehicle nearby for them to travel safely.
Hence, NHTSA is said to have created a long list of EVs and hybrid vehicles, some manufactured as early as 1997, which could be required to have a noisemaker installed. Some of these vehicles include the Saturn EV1, 1999 Daimler Chrysler GEM NEVs, 2001 Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Nissan Leaf, among others.
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