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NHTSA Releases Safety Standards for Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid, Electric Vehicles

Posted 02/01/2013

Rule enacted under the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010

Recently, the Federal Register published the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for minimum sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles, as required by the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act (PSEA) of 2010. The rule establishes a federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) setting minimum sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles.

The new standard will require hybrid and electric passenger cars, light trucks and vans, medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses, low-speed vehicles and motorcycles to make specific sounds. The rule applies to electric vehicles and to hybrid vehicles that are able to move forward and reverse without an internal combustion engine operating, so that blind or visually impaired pedestrians are able to be aware of nearby hybrid and electric vehicles.

According to NHTSA’s analysis, 2,800 pedestrian injuries will be avoided due to this proposal, which will equal 35 lives saved.

The Automotive Service Association had released information on the PSEA in late 2010 when the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the act to direct Ray LaHood, the secretary of transportation, to study and establish a motor vehicle safety standard that provides for a means of alerting the blind and other pedestrians of motor vehicle operation.

Comments on the proposed regulation must be received by March 15, 2013.

To view the regulation in its entirety, please visit ASA’s legislative website at




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