Automakers Worried NHTSA ‘Quiet Cars’ Rule Could Result in Too Loud Sounds image

Automakers express their concern regarding government’s ‘quiet cars’ rule aimed at helping blind pedestrians avoid EVs and other silent vehicles.

Automakers are concerned that this rule will result in warning sounds which will be too loud, as the government requests minimum sound levels to warn both blind pedestrians and bicyclists. NHTSA’s proposal was mandated in 2010, but it was unveiled in January, and immediately attracted automaker’s oppositions as they believe the sounds will be louder than some high-performance sports vehicles.

The rule “is too complicated and is unnecessarily prescriptive. If implemented as proposed, it would result in alert sounds that are louder than necessary, create driver and occupant annoyance and cost more than necessary,” said the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Association of Global Automakers.

According to NHTSA there is a 19% risk of a EV-pedestrian crash and 38% for a car-bicycle crash. The rule should be phased beginning with September 2014, but automakers say this is impossible, asking NHTSA to revise its proposal.

The NHTSA predicts that the rule will cost the auto industry around $23 million during the first year and around $35 per vehicle. After taking into consideration the development time and technology necessary for this change, automaker predict that the cost will be five times higher.