U.S. regulator will ban electric cars from changing low-speed warning sounds

The U.S. auto safety regulator canceled a 2019 proposal to allow electric vehicle owners to choose a variety of warning tones. In 2019, NHTSA proposed to allow automakers to install some driver-selectable pedestrian warning tones, such as goats, on "low-noise vehicles."

At low speeds, electric vehicles tend to be much quieter than gasoline-powered models. Under rules authorized by Congress and finalized by NHTSA, automakers must add warning sounds to vehicles when hybrid and electric vehicles are traveling at speeds up to 18.6 miles per hour (30 kilometers per hour) to prevent pedestrians, riders, Cars, and blind people were injured.

However, currently, NHTSA says the proposal "was not adopted due to lack of supporting data." This practice can lead carmakers to add more confusing sounds to their vehicles.

NHTSA estimates that hybrid vehicles are 19 percent more likely to collide with pedestrians than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. Pedestrian alert systems could reduce 2,400 accidents a year, but costing the auto industry about $40 million a year due to the need to install exterior waterproof speakers in vehicles.

The agency estimates harm reduction benefits to be $250 million to $320 million per year.

In addition, in February of this year, Tesla recalled 578,607 vehicles in the United States because its "Boombox" feature played loud music or other sounds that could prevent pedestrians from hearing the warning sound when the vehicle was approaching.

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