National Highway Safety Administration Report

For the past year the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) has studied the impact of hybrid and electric vehicles on blind and visually impaired pedestrians.  

Earlier this week NHTSA released phase I of a study entitled Quieter Cars and the Safety Of Blind Pedestrians.  

NHTSA’s findings confirm what we in the blind community have known for years. Hybrid and electric vehicles traveling at low speeds are extremely difficult to identify due to the lack of sound emission. The NHTSA report says “This research provides information to better understand the safety risk to blind pedestrians associated with the acoustic profiles of quieter cars in various maneuvers and ambient sound conditions.”  

ACB along with NFB, Representative Towns’s office, and the Society of Automotive Engineers have met with NHTSA about the study and its progress 5 times over the last 12 months. Phase II of the study is expected to begin later this summer and is expected to focus on sound emission standards.  

The link to NHTSA’s full report is at the end of this message. This is a long and detailed report but I encourage those who are interested to read the
executive summary.  

Eric Bridges 
Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs 
American Council of the Blind 
2200 Wilson Blvd. Suite 650 
Arlington, VA 22201  
Phone: (202) 467-5081 
        Fax: (703) 465-5085  

Read the report at
http://www.acb.org/washington/Quiet-Car-Report-DOT-Phase-I.htm#sumfind