Legislation is designed to improve safety, particularly for visually impaired pedestrians
Legislation to make electric vehicles artificially noisier comes into effect today.
Manufacturers of certain types of electric and hybrid cars will now be required to equip vehicles with a sound system that can produce a noise that mimics that of a petrol or diesel engine. The system – which the government said could be “be temporarily deactivated by the driver, if judged necessary” – will otherwise automatically emit the noise when a vehicle is reversing or travelling at a speed of below about 12 miles per hour.
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The law is primarily designed to “allow those who are visually impaired to hear vehicles more easily”, thereby reducing the risk of accidents.
Regulations will initially apply to “all new types” of quiet electric or hybrid vehicles released to market. From July 2021, all newly manufactured quiet vehicles will be covered by the law.
Roads minister Michael Ellis said: “The government wants the benefits of green transport to be felt by everyone, and understands the concerns of the visually impaired about the possible hazards posed by quiet electric vehicles. This new requirement will give pedestrians added confidence when crossing the road.”