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U.S. Lawmakers Delay Work On Law That Mandates Noisemakers for EV's

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On: Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 10:36AM | By: Carl Malek

U.S. Lawmakers Delay Work On Law That Mandates Noisemakers for EV's

Electric cars have always been known not only for their exceptional fuel economy figures, they are extremely quiet. This has helped reduce noise pollution, but unfortunately has created a new problem due to the cars wreaking havoc on pedestrians, especially the visually impaired. Many automakers are aware of the issue and some have developed tentative solutions, but mandatory regulation for all EVs and hybrids to have them has been slow in coming.

A law, first proposed in 2013, has been making its way through the federal legislative process. It would have made all automakers equip their EV and hybrid offerings with automatic audible warnings for pedestrians. However, according to a report from Reuters, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has delayed future work on the proposal until at least March of 2016. It was originally expected to be passed this fall, and was on track for such a feat prior to the delay.

While extending the wait for a few extra months might not seem like a major deal, the DOT states that if the law were to be enacted on schedule, there would still be an 18-month for automakers to equip their EVs and hybrids with the noisemakers. The DOT adds that their use will help reduce injuries and deaths, that as many as 234 fewer accidents with cyclists and pedestrians would occur each month if audible devices were equipped to automobiles right now.

A key factor for the delay appears to be the failure of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to deliver a final draft of the regulations to the DOT and legislators. The NHTSA was supposed to have produced the regulations by January of 2014. Though the agency's director said that they should be ready in November, then released a statement that they would not be able to meet the deadline; the DOT declared that "additional coordination is necessary." The NHTSA had nothing further to add.

However, I suspect that it is the costs that automakers would have to pay for compliance that is the main sticking point in this hold up. Initial estimates are that $23 billion will be needed to meet the cost of the first year of mandatoryimplementation.Many auto companies possibly are trying to negotiate terms that would lessen the financial blow to their respective bottom lines.


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