Concerns about the potential dangers of ‘silent’ hybrid and electrical cars have been raised by ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardisation.
In a report titled ‘Silent but dangerous: When absence of noise is a risk factor for pedestrians’, ANEC claims that although the cars are better for the environment, the lack of engine noise means they could be dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.
While no vehicle is completely silent, electric and hybrid cars are much quieter than most. Their muted engine is seen as a positive for manufacturers, as they contribute to a quieter neighbourhood, but concerns have been raised that pedestrians and cyclists will not be able to hear them coming. Road user groups particularly at risk include the blind, children, cyclists and people with impaired hearing.
A number of solutions have been proposed including vibrating sensors for deaf people, artificial noise producers and legislation ensuring that cars have a minimum noise requirement.
Click here to read the ANEC report.