In many cases, being able to hear a possible danger is equally or more important than seeing it. That’s the logic behind NHTSA’s new sound requirement for all newly-manufactured hybrid and electric vehicles.
This new federal safety standard will help pedestrians, especially those who are blind or who have low vision, detect the presence, direction and location of these vehicles when they are traveling at low speeds.
We estimate it will prevent 2,400 pedestrian injuries each year once all hybrids in the fleet are properly equipped.
In the coming years, automakers will start equipping newly manufactured hybrid and electric vehicles with sounds that meet the new federal standard. The final deadline is Sept. 1, 2019 and half of new hybrids and electrics must be in compliance one year before that.
Adding sounds is a common-sense tool that will help improve pedestrian safety, but it’s not the only action that needs to be taken.
Traffic deaths are on the rise in the U.S., and last year alone, we lost 5,376 pedestrians in traffic crashes. Our goal is to reduce that number to zero.
To get there, it’s vital that motorists and pedestrians take every action to protect their safety and the safety of others.
In the coming weeks, daylight hours will further decrease, providing less visibility on our roads. I urge motorists and pedestrians to take the following precautions:
- Slow down. During the early morning and evening hours, you need more time to see a pedestrian in your path.
- Obey traffic signals, signs and pay attention – never drive distracted or drunk.
- Keep in mind that pedestrians who are wearing headphones or hats may not hear your vehicle as it approaches.
- Cross where drivers expect to see you. That means avoid jaywalking and crossing between parked vehicles.
- When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars from the curb and use cross walks if available.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If you must walk on the street, face traffic.
- Wear reflective gear, carry a flashlight or add fluorescent tape to clothing, backpacks, purses, and briefcases. These materials reflect light from headlights back to drivers, making it easier to see you.
Our mission on the Road To Zero requires us to take different approaches. Safety includes everyone in society and working together, we can reach a day when there are no fatalities on the nation’s roadways, sidewalks, and bicycle paths.
For the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, visit: https://www.transportation.gov/