Feds want louder hybrid cars

Posted at: 01/08/2013 10:41 PM
Updated at: 01/08/2013 10:42 PM
By: Joe Vigil, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Federal government wants hybrid and electric cars to make a lot more noise.

The cars are extremely quiet at low speeds when the battery is engaged instead of the louder motor. Albuquerque resident Art Schreiber, who is blind, said he was almost hit by a hybrid car that he did not hear downtown. He walked right in front of it.

Schreiber said the cars aren't a hazard only for the blind. People have been hit in parking lots. "You could be putting groceries or parcels into the trunk of your car and step back right into the path of a hybrid because you can't hear it," Schreiber told KOB Eyewitness News 4.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration wants hybrid and electric cars to make more noise, under 18 miles per hour, to warn pedestrians, bicyclists and the visually impaired.

It is estimated that 2,800 pedestrian and bicycle accidents could be prevented every year. The changes will not impact electric and hybrid cars that are currently on the road. The changes will be phased in on brand new models.