GM's Electric Cars Seek To Make Some Noise

Chevrolet Volt General Motors

How quiet is too quiet when it comes to electric and hybrid cars?

General Motors will announce it's working with an advocacy group for blind people to answer that question, according to a USA Today report Wednesday. The move comes amid mounting concern that the growing number of environmentally friendly vehicles may pose a threat to pedestrians, particularly the vision impaired.

As the report notes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded in September that more pedestrians and cyclists are being struck by hybrid cars than by conventional vehicles.

Congress is currently considering a bill - the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act - that would mandate a solution to the problem.

GM will work on a technological fix with the National Federation of the Blind, seemingly getting a jump on their competition. Toyota and Nissan say they're still studying the issue and Tesla isn't ready to give up on its noiseless running - an attribute they market to consumers.

GM plans to outfit the new Chevrolet Volt with a new pedestrian warning system - a short horn pulse comparable to a telephone ring that would go off as the driver operates the turn signal, according to the report.


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