WASHINGTON (CN) - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to establish a minimum sound requirement for hybrid and electric vehicles.
The new rules are being developed as required under the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act (PSEA) of 2010. Under the act, a new federal motor vehicle safety standard would also set a minimum sound requirement for light trucks and vans, medium and heavy duty trucks and buses, and low speed vehicles and motorcycles.
The NHTSA, which operates under the Department of Transportation, must "establish performance requirements for an alert sound that is recognizable as a motor vehicle in operation that allows blind and other pedestrians to reasonably detect nearby electric or hybrid vehicles operating below the crossover speed."
Crossover speed is the speed at which tire and wind noise, as well as other factors, "eliminate the need for a separate alert sound." The NHTSA has set the crossover speed at 30 km/h.
"The PSEA defines alert sound as 'a vehicle-emitted sound to enable pedestrians to discern vehicle presence, direction, location and operation."
The requirement applies to vehicles that can move in forward or reverse without using an internal combustion engine. The PSEA requires the final rule to be issued by Jan. 4, 2014. It includes a phase-in schedule.
Along with the proposed new rules, and pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, the administration has prepared a draft environmental assessment to analyze the impacts of the proposed new rules.
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