This will seem counterintuitive at first, but this new federal law makes way more sense than it appears: it requires electric vehicle manufacturers to equip their green machines with noise-making devices.
Now, many Wisconsin residents may think to themselves "I thought less noise pollution was a good thing." And, indeed, it is. Along with the greatly reduced emissions of an electric or hybrid vehicle, the reduced noise they produce is also a big positive.
However, it comes at a cost -- a public safety cost, one that federal lawmakers were unwilling to pay. At speeds of 18 miles per hour or less, electric vehicles are essentially inaudible; placing pedestrians at a sensory disadvantage and creating a huge problem for those who are visually impaired. Noise pollution certainly is not categorized as a "good" thing; but when it comes to cars, it actually serves a minor purpose.
So the new rule has taken effect, and it is expected to cost electric car manufacturers upwards of $25 million. But that will be nothing to the lives spared and injuries avoided as a result of the newly-equipped noise making -- a study says that, in driving situations that dictate slow speeds (parking, accelerating after idling), electric or hybrid vehicles are nearly twice as likely to strike a pedestrian as a vehicle with an internal combustion engine.
The federal government is also looking into another safety law that would require vehicles to have a back-up camera, allowing drivers to better see behind them when driving in reverse.
Source: Bloomberg News, "US will require too-quiet electric cars to make noise," Angela Greiling Keane, Jan. 8, 2013
- To learn more, please visit our Waukesha personal injury page.