Wednesday, 6 February 2013

MEPs Vote For All Vehicles To Make Noise Whilst Protecting The East Of England Specialist Carmakers

MEPs today backed a Liberal group proposal for mandatory introduction of 'acoustic vehicle alerting systems' (AVAS) in quiet vehicles such as electric and hybrid cars, to protect vulnerable road users. Road safety groups and organisations for partially sighted and blind people such as the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association had called for these acoustic warning devices in order to avoid increased accident risks.

In legislating for much stricter levels of sound emissions from both tyres and engines, the European Parliament has also recognised the special needs of the regional sports car industry of firms like Lotus of Norwich and Radical Sports cars in Peterborough in having higher than average noise levels in their premium sports cars.

Research from the United States indicates that very quiet vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident as vehicles fitted with an internal combustion engine - most typically when the vehicle is slowing or stopping, moving in reverse or entering or exiting a parking space.

Lib Dem MEP for the East of England Andrew Duff commented:
"Many of the East of England's busy roads can be difficult to navigate for visually impaired road users. Quiet cars are to be welcomed, but not if they are so quiet that safety is put at risk."

"The sound of a braking car can provide a signal to a blind or partially sighted person that it is safe to cross, but if this is too quiet on an electric car, AVAS can solve this problem by providing a warning."

"Silent vehicles are not only an issue for blind and partially sighted people but also for children and other vulnerable road users. That's why Liberal Democrats voted in favour of mandatory acoustic warning devices in silent cars today."