In 2019, the NHTSA proposed that EV owners have the option to customize their EVs with alternative, self-selected sound alerts. However, these custom pedestrian warning sounds are unlikely to come as the U.S. auto safety regulators scrapped the proposal on Tuesday, stating that it is a safety concern not to have a uniform sound.
Regardless, EV makers will have to install pedestrian warning sounds when their vehicles travel at speeds less than 18.6 MPH. These silent cars make no sounds at lower speeds, which can result in pedestrian injuries and deaths as there is a lack of warning, unlike their gasoline-powered counterparts. There is a lack of data to support that the proposal would work since it only includes a small portion of electric or hybrid vehicle owners.
EV automaker giant, Tesla, had to recall over 578,607 U.S. vehicles in February due to issues with the sound. Specifically, pedestrians could not hear the cars over the Boombox feature that plays loud music externally. The agency predicts that hybrid vehicles are 19% more likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident than their gasoline-powered counterparts.
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