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When quiet is a bad thing: NHTSA requires noise in certain cars

We all like a little peace and quiet. This is especially true during the holiday season, when it seems like every time we turn around bells are ringing and carols are singing. Although the festivities are enjoyable, a moment of quiet to catch our breath is often welcome.

But quiet isn't always a good thing. The United States Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a safety standard that focuses specifically on making things louder which, according to the federal agency, is for our own good.

What is the NHTSA making louder? The NHTSA's safety standard deals specifically with cars.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but having cars that are too quiet poses a whole range of risks. This is particularly true in now that electric cars are becoming more common. The lack of engine noise common to cars is not present in these vehicles. This means there is no noise to signal an oncoming vehicle. This can put pedestrians at increased risk of involvement in an accident.

In an effort to reduce this risk, the NHTSA has required qualifying hybrid and electric light-duty vehicles produce some sort of audible noise.

Is this requirement really necessary? The federal agency thinks so. The press release by the NHTSA outlining the new standard states that there are approximately 2,400 pedestrian accidents every single year throughout the United States. The agency also seems to be concerned that quiet cars will result in an increase in car accidents involving pedestrians.

When does the standard go into effect? The standard specifically targets new vehicles. Manufacturers of qualifying vehicles must meet the sound standard by September 1 of 2019.

What does this mean for pedestrians? Hopefully this translates to fewer pedestrian accidents.

Unfortunately, even when steps to increase pedestrian safety are taken accidents can still happen. As such, those who are injured are wise to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss whether they can hold the driver of the vehicle responsible for any costs that result from the accident.

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