The U.S. Department of Transportation has finally passed the law that manufacturers must add noises to their hybrid and electric vehicles.
Congress first sought to put this rule in place back in 2010. Now, by 2020, all cars are required to emit a noise while traveling under 18.6 mph.
And by September of 2019, at least 50 percent of manufacturers' vehicles must be compliant with this new law.
According to NHTSA, any speed over the required 18.6 mph will generate noise naturally from the wind and tires.
Hybrid and electric cars are inherently silent, which in turn, poses a threat to pedestrians and cyclists who often share the road with these vehicles.
Dr. Mark Rosekind, NHTSA administrator, comments, "This is a common-sense tool to help pedestrians — especially folks who are blind or have low vision — make their way safely. With pedestrian fatalities on the rise, it is vitally important we take every action to protect the most vulnerable road users."
Plain and simple—the point of this law is to ensure the safety of every form of pedestrian.
"This regulation will ensure that blind Americans can continue to travel safely and independently as we work, learn, shop, and engage in all facets of community life," reports Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind.
Additionally, it's reported that drivers will be able to choose the noise they wish to emit from a selection of available sound choices. Automakers will be required to install at least one external speaker, from which the noise will be emitted.
This concept isn't entirely out of nowhere, however, as we see this technology in play already.
Toyota Prius' hums, Chevy Bolts chirp, and Toyota RAV4 Hybrids beep.
Late last year, Nissan debuted the iMX at the Tokyo Auto Show. Part of this model's debut was its "singing" capability.
Named "Canto," which means "I sing" in Italian, this system audibly alerts pedestrians that it's approaching via a song-like tune while traveling at low speeds.
Altogether, this noise-making law is expected to avert 2,400 injuries a year when fully implemented.
NHTSA anticipates an inventory of 530,000 hybrid and electric vehicles that would require the implementation of soundmakers by the time the law goes into effect.
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