Are electric vehicles too quiet to be safe?
Because of designated sidewalks and mandatory yield signs, many parts of New Jersey are walkable for pedestrians. Still, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 175 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents in the Garden State in 2019 alone.
While electric vehicles are likely to have less of an impact on the environment than those with internal combustion engines, the news may not be so positive for pedestrians. That is, because these vehicles are comparatively quiet, they may endanger walkers, joggers and runners.
The sound of silence
Even though many sounds contribute to noisy cities, gasoline-powered vehicles are louder than you may think. Most pedestrians know to listen for approaching engines before crossing a street or stepping into the road. In addition to their eyes, ears keep pedestrians safe.
For those who are blind or have partial vision loss, noisy vehicles are particularly helpful. As electric vehicles become more common, it is important for all pedestrians to exercise additional caution when walking near traffic.
The manufacturer’s burden
Even though state legislators have been slow to regulate the sound production of electric vehicles, many car manufacturers install pedestrian alert systems on their vehicles. These systems emit a series of tones when pedestrians are present.
In the future, regulators are likely to impose sound-emitting requirements for electric vehicles. Until that happens, pedestrians may continue to be in danger of suffering catastrophic injuries. Furthermore, pedestrians must learn to recognize vehicle alerts.
Ultimately, if you suffer a life-changing injury in an accident involving an electric vehicle, it may be beneficial to pursue financial compensation to help you through your recovery process.