Skip to main content

U.S. regulators delay audio alert requirements at low-speed for electric and hybrid cars until March 2016

electric car and the blindAccording to a recent government filing obtained by Reuters, U.S. regulators are delaying a ruling on low-speed sound alert requirements for electric and hybrid cars until at least mid-March 2016.

A ruling on this issue has been in the works since 2013, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that the odds of an electric or hybrid vehicle being involved in a crash with a pedestrian are 19% higher compared with a louder gas-powered vehicle. Under its latest form, the regulation would require automakers to add automatic audio alerts to their electric and hybrid vehicles traveling at 18 miles per hour or less. The proposal could reduce pedestrian and bicyclist injuries by 2,800 instances every year.

Once regulators approve the rule, auto manufacturers will have 18 months to implement the audio alert in their vehicles. According to NHTSA in 2013,  the agency estimated that the implementation would cost the auto industry about $23 million in the first year.

In anticipation of the law, automakers have been experimenting with different solutions to the issue of sound at low-speed. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even suggested the possibility of a system that could emit a sound only in the direction of passing pedestrians instead of a constant noise.

The problem is even more obvious when it comes to the blind and Fully Charged published a very interesting video on the subject last month.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.


  1. PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

    1) This is not only ridiculous, but the proceedings are going way too slow as well. We need to have this implemented asap, because ‘everyone’ (at least here in The Netherlands), whenever an EV comes up from behind, it scares the living daylights out of them. And understandably so, these cars are way too silent by itself, and new tarmac doesn’t help one iota.

    2) Oh look, another Dutch Tesla owner.

    3) Why did the photographer leave his tripod in the photo?

    • Gadgetdude - 7 years ago

      @PhilBoogie: Concerning your third point, please watch the video in the post. You will then see the tripod is there to record sound (3D) so the audience can hear what the person is hearing when a Tesla drives by very slowly.

      • PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

        Darn! Forgot all about the video I should’ve watched beforehand. Thanks for setting me straight!

      • PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

        That first video was a great one! Including the last 25 seconds.

  2. Roy - 7 years ago

    Seems a bit pointless when most pedestrians have their ears full of hifi


Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.

You can send tips on Twitter (DMs open) or via email:

Through, you can check out Fred’s portfolio and get monthly green stock investment ideas.