Proposed Minimum Sound Requirement Rule for Hybrids and EVs - Please comment

Here are is the article published by the NHTSA about their rule proposal for noisemakers on Hybrids and EV's. The proposal was sent for publication in the Federal Register yesterday. After publication in the Federal Register there is a 60 day public comment period. You will find a link to the proposal at the bottom of the article. Instructions for submitting comments are in the document.

I would encourage thoughtful comments on this proposal. Personally, I think that the requirements are excessive and I am not convinced that it will have any impact at all on their safety goals. I think that constant noisemaking at speeds of 18 mph and below will just add to the problem by increasing ambient noise and confusion making it even more difficult to identify moving Hybrids and EV's.

I think that they can do much better.

If there must be a sound, a low rumble is a bad idea. Low sounds give poor direction clues; the wavelength is too large for the ears and brain to detect a difference between arriving waveforms. Mid-tone NON-COMPUTER GENERATED complex waves work best. (Computer waveforms are identical, also preventing ear and brain from distinguishing one from another. Why modern phones etc. are so hard to locate when "ringing".)

They claim a study which says that this law would prevent something like 35 deaths per year. But it seems to me that if all cars were silent, then pedestrians might pay more attention, and wouldn't that save more than 35/year?

It is hard to pay attention to sounds car make, when you are busy walking, texting, and listening to music on your iPod.

Stupid idea. I'm looking forward to a day when all vehicles are silent and electrical. Less noise polution, not more.

What next? Should my Tesla make a smell so people behind it know it's on?

Ever see one of those massive dump trucks pulling a second dump box on a long boom? They call them a transfer dump truck or sometimes a truck and pup. They are common here. The boom is perhaps 30 feet long seperating the two parts of the vehicle. One of my company's best and brightest was texting and stepped off the curb after the truck went by, only to be run over by the box a split second later. He could see but he wasn't paying attention. He could hear, but he had headphones on. And these trucks are loud enough that you can feel them through the soles of your feet.

Sometimes, bad stuff happens. But noise polution is not the answer. As the driver you need to be alert, non-distracted, and aware of your surroundings. It's YOUR responsibility to manage the safety of pedestrians.

The study is seriously messed up. 35 deaths? at 18 MPH because of lack of sound. That is what I find hilarious. What probably really happened is someone ran over a pedestrian and crushed something important with the tire. Again NOISE isn't going to do much if the driver is texting while executing maneuvers on the sidewalk.

Here is the real kicker. I guess they interviewed the dead person and they said they didn't hear the car.

So you are driving 40 mph in a 15 mph. The cop asks the dead guy how fast you were going. The dead guy say he didn't hear the car. The cop asks you how fast you were going.... what do you answer? "Oh officer I was speeding... like 45-50 mph. I am so sorry." or "I was only going 15 mph in this school zone and the kid just JUMPED right out in front of me."

Such extrapolations from thin data are a curse. They can be hyped to justify damn near anything. It's almost always pure bafflegab.

The studies are non-scientific and unsubstantiated. Not that this matters to congressman who wish to provide a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. The morbidity and mortality data for "quiet" cycling would seem to be a more compelling target. This has lobbyist written all over it.

Comment submitted. Gist of my comment is that if the rule is really required for safety, then ALL vehicles should be required to meet it. Including ICE cars with idle stop, or quieter ICE cars. This will 1) level economic playing field and 2) avoid need for followon rulemaking as ICE cars get quieter.

Also I commented that the noise level should be different in quiet environments (neighborhood) than noisy ones (city) to avoid noise pollution.

BTW the proposed rule making is very clear that this is about blind people and their ability to detect cars. Generally I have not seen blind people texting or with earphones- they depend on their ears to detect their environment.

It is notable that the Associations for the Blind are NOT pushing for it. Just busybodies, "on their behalf".

This is a usual waste of time.

People get hit by cars because someone isn't paying attention (cars hitting motorcycles, cyclists, pedestrians). This happens in quiet rural towns just as much as in noisy cities.

I nearly get hit by NY Taxi all the time; most are ICE cars. I take my share of the responsibility for it and accept the risk as a fact of life.

If technological solution is to be mandated, I prefer to put control where it is going to do the most good - in the hands of the driver. I'd prefer to build in an alert system. Perhaps something like parking sensors on steroids; when an obstruction is detected an alert is emitted to alert the driver (coded sound for Front, Rear, left, right).

As stated by other in this forum, the world is plenty loud enough; there is no need to make it any louder.

There should not be noise pollution added. There are already protections in place. There are sounds at crosswalks telling the very small number of visually impaired when to cross, and drivers are legally required to give way to active crosswalks. More noise pollution neither indicated nor desired. We are harming society by continuously bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator.

I 'almost' got run over by a bicycle. I didn't hear a thing!

I need to retract my suggestion.

We don't need more regulations. It's already illegal to run people over with vehicles. The safety onus is already on the driver.

This society has gone nuts and is drunk on Big Government.

I think I have decided that I will upgrade to the performance so I won't have to hang around the noisy <18mph speed for more than half a second. The solution to this problem with just be speeding from <18 mph school zones and parking lots. Problem solved.

I am guessing that just sitting in the driver seat of a Model S will require the car to squeal since you never know when the death machine will start running over the blind people.


I giggle happily while driving my Model S, can I just roll down my windows and that will suffice as sound??

BYT, you only need to giggle below 18mph according the NHTSA!

Embedded automated peashooters. Pelt the offenders from 50 yds!

while I don't like this 'law' in any way, what I do miss on silent cars is something like bycicle bell. I only have my horn, so if someone walks on the street befor me talking to each other they might not hear me, pushing the horn would probably kill them by a heart attack. opening the window and shouting a is kinda weird ^^

Horn doesn't scare me, bicycle bell causes rapid heartbeat every time. Some less powerful horn sound could be useful though assuming the initial one is like some foghorn. (I have installed a better horn in my friend car once, the factory installed one had very anemic "meep meep" -sound, very much like some moped horn)

While I wouldn't want noise either, is it technically possible to " focus" noise so that it is projected in a very restricted ( collimated) cone and not audible within the vehicle? This can be done with x rays, so why not sound? That way it achieves the stated object, does not contribute to general noise pollution, and keeps the vehicle as is, quiet.

...unless you happen to be on the path of the sound beam.

LRAD does just what you are talking about.

Problem with sound is that once it hits anything it deflects and scatters and in city environment where that would be needed most and where sound pollution as problem is worst you quite fast end up in situation where sound would be coming from all directions anyway.

Ringtone of an ice cream van, no less

"Ringtone of an ice cream van, no less"

Don't want that, disappointed kids will pelt your car with eggs.

Emit Led Zeppelin or maybe Italian Opera :-)?

Maybe the sound of a baseball card on a bicycle wheel anyone :-).

I was walking thru an underground parking garage today and I heard the sound of just tires on pavement approaching me slowly. I turned hoping it saw a Model S but it was a Prius. No engine noise, it was traveling about 5-10 mph, and I had no problem hearing it from behind me.
Good thing I wasn't blind or I'd probably be dead. (Mel, for your information the last bit there was sarcastic and meant to be humor.)

We don't need more noise. We need more quiet electric cars.

I'm bumping this topic because we are getting close to the close of the comment period.

Please act!

I don't know about most people, but I tend to drive around with the stereo bumpin' - so you'd hear me coming anyway...

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