MEPs have voted to introduce mandatory acoustic vehicle alerting systems (AVAS) to new electric and hybrid cars in order to protect vulnerable road users. Currently these vehicles emit very little sound which is particularly dangerous for partially sighted and blind pedestrians.
Initial EU proposals from the European Commission called for the installation of an AVAS system to be done on a voluntary basis only, but Liberal Democrat MEPs successfully introduced an amendment making this a mandatory requirement for all electric and hybrid vehicles. Following today’s vote manufacturers in the EU will have 5 years to comply with the new rules.
The acoustic warning devices will make a sound very similar to that of cars with a regular combustion engine so that people will be able to clearly hear these vehicles, allowing them to judge how safe a road is to cross.
Liberal Democrat European Environment spokesperson Chris Davies commented:
“Quiet electric cars could become a common sight on our roads in years to come but we have to ensure that this doesn’t jeopardise the safety of blind and partially sighted people.
“Installing sound generators will ensure that all pedestrians are able to hear these vehicles and cross the road safely.
“By working at an EU level we have been able to place this requirement on all car manufacturers and prevent needless accidents in future. It’s a good demonstration of why Liberal Democrats insist that Britain must stay at the heart of decision-making in Europe.”
Notes to Editors
The final text of the report can be found here
Guide Dogs (formerly Guide Dogs for the Blind Association) campaigned for the introduction of AVAS for electronic vehicles at EU level