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Electric cars to be made more noisy?
February 7, 2013

European Parliament voted yesterday and the vote is more than likely going to ensure new rules come into force by the end of 2014 regarding electric cars and the noise they make. The rules might sound ridiculous, but one of the main problems people seem to have with electric cars, is the fact that some of them are completely silent. The new rule will ensure that silent or almost silent vehicles will have extra noise added to them so people can hear them coming.

This shows victory for groups who have been campaigning for the course, for example Guide Dogs for the Blind explained how the cars are definitely a threat, when travelling at low speeds when they are almost silent or completely silent. It falls under the same sort of ideal that cyclists should try fitting a bell on their bike, due to the lack of noise they make, although this is not compulsory. If this measure is ratified by the European Council, then the European Union would be in line with the likes of the United States and Japan, who have already addressed this problem and has fitting laws in place.

The original proposal had wondered whether to make additional noise to silent vehicles voluntary, however the regulation became strengthened by European MPs. People who have sight problems use their hearing to gage whether it is safe to cross the road, if they cannot hear a vehicle they may step out right in front of it. Chief Executive of Guide Dogs for the Blind Richard Leaman stressed this point. The change will obviously make our roads a lot safer and will not only be useful in helping partially sighted people and the blind, but cyclists and pedestrians and any other vulnerable road users. After all, what are children taught at school, stop, look, listen, live, it may become confusing if they cannot hear a vehicle, though still cannot cross the road. With the point stressed throughout school, children could easily cross the road thinking it is safe if they cannot hear a vehicle coming.

There are, according to latest figures on British Roads, 2,703 electric cars at the moment and 133,555 hybrids, like the Toyota Prius. There are around 30 different model choices for customers, though this is likely to gather within the next couple of years as more and more carmakers begin to enter into the electric market. Two years ago, The Government's Transport Research Laboratory revealed that by taking into account vehicle numbers on our roads, pedestrians were a lot more likely to be involved in an accident with an electric car than a conventional one. At around the same time, Lord McColl brought the issue up in Parliament and suggested, as a joke, that a swiss cowbell noise would take care of the problem.

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