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NHTSA adds new standard to help protect pedestrians from accidents

There are many technological advances that make cars on the road today not only more safe than they once were, but more enjoyable to drive. One such feature is receiving criticism from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its potential to make life more dangerous for pedestrians that may encounter these vehicles.

The NHTSA has recently added a federal safety standard stating that certain vehicles have a sound requirement. This generally refers to newly manufactured hybrid and electric cars that operate with little to no noise. Although the lack of engine noise may be nice for those who wish not to hear cars zooming through the neighborhood, the lack of noise can pose a danger to pedestrians.

Who is in danger from quiet cars? The NHTSA explained the reason for the new standard in a recent press release. According to the release, pedestrians with vision problems or those who are simply not paying attention to the road are at an increased risk of getting hit when they cannot hear an oncoming vehicle.

Are many pedestrians hit by cars? The federal agency also states that pedestrian accidents are an issue. Approximately 2,400 people are hit by cars every year in the United States.

NHTSA's Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind also stated within the release that "pedestrian fatalities [are] on the rise."

What are the details of this new safety standard? The standard requires hybrid and electronic vehicles with four wheels weighing 10,000 pounds or less have an audible noise when in reverse and when traveling 19 miles per hour. When traveling above this speed, the alert is not necessary as tire and wind noise make enough of a sound to alert pedestrians.

The standard will go into effect on Sept 1 of 2019. At this time, all manufacturers of new, qualifying vehicles must be installing the alerts.

What about victims of pedestrian accidents? Whether the accident is the result of not being able to hear an oncoming vehicle or if the driver was negligent, compensation may be available through a personal injury lawsuit. This can lead to funds that can help cover the costs resulting from the pedestrian accident. Contact an experienced attorney to discuss your options.

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