SNP Euro MP Alyn Smith has today [Wednesday] welcomed a vote in the European Parliament which will prevent completely silent vehicles on the EU’s roads.
The growth in recent years in hybrid and electric vehicles means traffic is becoming quieter and quieter. This may be a welcome development for many, but for the blind it is a real source of danger, as it means they may no longer be able to hear and react to oncoming traffic.
Commenting, Smith said after the vote:
“It might at first appear a little odd to be backing even nosier traffic but with the advent of these new hybrid and electric vehicles, which are a fantastic development but bring along their own set of issues.
“Quiet vehicles are potentially dangerous to all pedestrians, but especially so to the blind or partially sighted who rely on hearing engine noise when they’re crossing the road.
“In the USA, the government has recently announced that it plans to force manufacturers to install a sound generator on all quiet hybrid and electric vehicles. It believes that the move could prevent thousands of accidents a year, and I’m sure that’s true in Europe too.
“The vote today, whilst not giving concrete protections is a very welcome move.”