Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act Gets Green Light
The bill calls for the US Department of Transportation to study and report on the minimum sound level necessary to be emitted from a motor vehicle to alert blind and other pedestrians of vehicles in motion.
Manufacturers are one step ahead of the legislation, which is yet to be approved by House of Representatives. Nissan already announced the Leaf electric vehicle would be using an alert sound technology. GM has also stated its intention to introduce a similar technology on the Volt.
In Nissan's case, the sounds are generated by a synthesizer under the hood and transmitted through a speaker in the front driver’s side wheel well.
The system sweeps from 2.5kHz at the high end to a low of 600Hz. The sound emitted by the system is louder when the car starts, being released as an intermittent sound when the car is in reverse and disengaged when the Leaf exceeds 30 km/h (18 mph), because the sound generated by the tire and the wind makes the car audible enough.
"The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is proud of this legislation, which is the result of our cooperative relationship with advocates for blind pedestrians," said Dave McCurdy, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers CEO.
"We believe that this legislation represents a common-sense approach to ensure that the blind and other pedestrians remain safe as new vehicle technologies emerge."