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The Threat Of Silence…Electric Cars May Pose Risk To Pedestrians

Electric cars should be equipped with an audible sound emitter while traversing at low speeds so that their presence can be felt by pedestrians. This requirement will soon be fulfilled through an EU directive beginning from July 2018 that necessitates all electric vehicles to send noise signals while cruising at low speeds. Cars, currently on roads will need retrofitting the device till 2021.

The chances of such cars hitting pedestrians and leading to accidents are higher than conventional vehicles and more so, with respect to blind and low sighted individuals. As per studies about 93% of visually impaired individuals have faced issues with regard to electric cars. With the number of such cars increasing rapidly to reach a figure of 140,000 registrations in Britain today as against the 2013 figure of 3,500, the new law was welcomed by one and all.

Lot of debates on the nature of the sound emitter ensued and it was consensually decided to adopt a combination of white noise or tonal sounds which shall stop once the car picks up speed of 20mph and the tires’ sound become audible. The source direction of white sounds can be recognized instantly and they are pleasing too. This will serve dual purposes; ensuring the safety aspect of pedestrians and preventing environmental disturbance. The approach of the electric cars can be understood by all individuals easily.

Heightening the noise levels of the electric cars to some extent was also welcomed by politicians promoting them. And not surprising for the electric car is here to stay long into the future. Factors of safety will be ensured as the electric cars get inducted as a mainstream transport mode. If predictions of the National Grid are to be believed then about 9 million electric cars will be plying on the roads of Britain by 2030.

The electric car’s attributes of being pollution free and environmentally friendly will prove beneficial in truest sense once the safety aspect is being addressed.