New Quiet Car Rule: Make Some Noise!

November 15, 2016

About 2,400 pedestrians are injured every year due to too little noise from passing cars.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it is adding a sound requirement for all newly manufactured hybrid and electric light-duty vehicles to help protect pedestrians.

The new federal safety standard will help pedestrians who are blind and have low vision, and will allow other pedestrians to detect the presence, direction and location of hybrid and electric vehicles when they are traveling at low speeds.

Under the new rule, all hybrid and electric light vehicles with four wheels and a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less will be required to make audible noise when traveling in reverse or forward at speeds up to about 19 miles per hour (30 kilometers per hour). At higher speeds, the sound alert is not required because other factors, such as tire and wind noise, provide adequate audible warning to pedestrians.

Manufacturers have until September 1, 2019, to equip all new hybrid and electric vehicles with sounds that meet the new federal safety standard. Half of new hybrid and electric vehicles must be in compliance one year before the final deadline.

Read the NHTSA Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Final Environmental Assessment  here.