New Regulations Ask Automakers to Turn up the Volume

Ever been startled by a Prius silently sneaking up behind you? Those days may soon fade in the rear view mirror if U.S. Department of Transportation proposals for minimum sound requirements on hybrid and electric vehicles are approved.
January 9, 2013, 9am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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David Undercoffler reports on a proposal announced this week by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that would require hybrid and electric vehicles to emit sounds at speeds below 18 miles per hour.

“This proposal will help keep everyone using our nation's streets and roadways safe, whether they are motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

While the report sounds a bit like something out of The Onion, silent vehicles are no laughing matter. "The Department of Transportation estimates the proposed changes to hybrid and electric vehicles would result in 2,800 fewer injuries to pedestrians and cyclists for every model year that such a system is required."

The NHTSA has even posted 14 samples of sounds that automakers could choose from.

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Published on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 in Los Angeles Times
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