GEM Motoring Assist is warning pedestrians and drivers of electric vehicles to “be wise to the risks of silence on the roads”.
GEM points to research which it says shows that electric and hybrid vehicles are 25% more likely to be involved in a collision which injures a pedestrian.
At present, electric vehicles are extremely quiet but recent European legislation means some sort of noise must be added to them in the next five years, as a warning to pedestrians.
David Williams, GEM chief executive, said: “It seems we are all too accustomed to hearing the vroom, vroom of an approaching engine. If we don’t hear anything, we tend to assume there is nothing coming because we are not good at looking properly.
“GEM is concerned that the risks are much higher for blind and partially sighted pedestrians, many of whom rely on what they can and cannot hear to determine when it’s safe to cross the road.
“Manufacturers still have nearly five years to decide what sounds they will include. During that time, we urge all pedestrians to be especially vigilant before stepping into the road, and to look carefully, just in case an electric vehicle could be coming round the corner.
“We also urge electric vehicle drivers to ensure they act as the eyes and ears of vulnerable pedestrians who won’t be able to hear them and are unlikely to be expecting to see them.
“Electric cars can certainly play their part in offering a cleaner road environment, but protecting the safety of all pedestrians must remain a priority.”
GEM has published on its website a list of safety recommendations for pedestrians and electric car drivers.