Posted by: Henness & Haight Team

To reduce the number of pedestrian accidents, The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that all newly manufactured hybrid vehicles are required to make a sound while traveling at low speeds.

The new ruling would require that all hybrid and light electric vehicles with four wheels and a gross weight rating of 10,000 lbs. or less make a sound when traveling at a speed of 19 mph or less. When traveling at faster speeds, the NHTSA has decided that the natural noises of the vehicle is sufficient enough.

The NHTSA estimates that adding a noise requirement to hybrid and electric vehicles, which function soundlessly at low speeds, will help prevent 2,400 pedestrian injuries annually.

Manufacturers have until Sept. 1, 2019, to equip all new hybrid and electric vehicles with sounds that meet the new federal standard. The NHTSA has also stated that half of the vehicles must be in compliance within one year of the deadline.

The new standard, entitled Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141, is in response to Congress’ mandate in the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 that hybrid and electric vehicles contain an audible alert for hearing or visually impaired pedestrians.

Advocate groups, like the American Council of the Blind, are applauding the decision made by the NHTSA. The group states that the new regulation will help create safer streets for those who are visually impaired and all other pedestrians who share the road with hybrid and electric vehicles.

The state of Nevada has also had its own problems with pedestrian fatalities. In March, the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) declared an epidemic, as the pedestrian fatality rate had increased by 46 percent from the same time period in 2015.

The NDOT has already proposed roadway safety projects that will make certain intersections in Las Vegas safer for foot traffic and hopes to reduce the number of pedestrian-involved accidents in these areas.

The pedestrian accident attorneys at Henness & Haight are dedicated to fighting for the rights of the injured and their families. If you or someone you love has been struck by a vehicle, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation.