Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Graham Hurdle's Blog: 14 March 2013 - Sound decision as electric vehicle proposals get a hearing
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Graham Hurdle's Blog: 14 March 2013 - Sound decision as electric vehicle proposals get a hearing

Date: 14 March 2013

Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World

MEPs have backed a proposal for the mandatory introduction of 'acoustic vehicle alerting systems' (AVAS) in quiet vehicles such as electric and hybrid cars to protect vulnerable road users. Road safety groups and organisations for partially sighted and blind people such as the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association had called for these acoustic warning devices in order to avoid increased accident risks and my feeling is that it's an important campaign.

Research from the United States indicates that very quiet vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident as vehicles fitted with an internal combustion engine - most typically when the vehicle is slowing or stopping, moving in reverse or entering or exiting a parking space.

What's important about this is that progress in one aspect of the automotive sector does not lead to problems in another. Electric and hybrid vehicles may be the way forward, but let's not go backwards with road safety.

I've thought for a while that the emergence of electric and hybrid vehicles could have the impact of increasing the number of KSI (Killed or seriously injured) accidents - particularly to pedestrians and cyclists.

I'm therefore pleased that organisations such as the Guide Dogs for the Blind have championed the introduction of AVAS, but also sad to read some reports of those in the auto sector belittling it. said, "Our beloved hard working MEP's have voted for all electric cars in the EU to be fitted with a noise making device for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. What do forum members think a suitable noise making device should sound like? A 1990 Ford diesel Transit with 500k miles on the clock? A Ferrari revving at over 7000 rpm? A Yamaha R6 motorcycle between 10,000 and 15,000 rpm? Or would it just be simpler to fit one of the above engines of your choice to the electric car and throw away, sorry recycle in a responsible way, the batteries? I expect we will end up with a constant "beeping" like a reversing truck though."

Perhaps this will be a source of jibe and amusement to some, but the harsh reality is that life could become very dangerous on our roads if you cannot hear vehicles coming towards you.

If we take the phrase of 'Stop, Look and Listen' we're removing a sizeable chunk of that if cars can't be heard. And for the blind or partially sighted it makes life extremely dangerous.

For that reason I, for one, am in favour of AVAS and I'd urge the fleet sector to back it rather than belittle it.