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NHTSA 12-11

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Contact: Karen Aldana

Telephone:  (202) 366-9550


Safety agency launches assessment of hybrid and electric vehicles to fulfill Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act


WASHINGTON – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that the agency is taking the first major step toward proposing regulations that will protect unsuspecting pedestrians and the visually-impaired from accidents involving hybrid and electric vehicles.


"America's streets must be safe for everyone who uses them," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  "As we improve the environment with cleaner cars, we must also consider how it affects those on bikes and on foot."


Today's action, which is mandated by the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, will help NHTSA lay the groundwork for a proposed rulemaking to help pedestrians detect the presence of quieter vehicles.  NHTSA will evaluate the merits of possible rulemakings, including requiring electric and hybrid carmakers to add sounds that alert the visually-impaired and other pedestrians when these vehicles are operating in certain low speed maneuvers.


"Even as we make giant leaps forward with hybrid and electric vehicles, we must remain laser focused on safety," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.  "With more and more quiet vehicles on the road, we have to consider their effect on pedestrians."


Once the notice is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 30 days to submit comments on this NHTSA action. 


>> View the scoping notice

U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
1-800-424-9153 (TTY)