A Delicate Balance: Road Safety and the Environment

Noise pollution

Congratulations lads and ladies, take a well-deserved pat on the back! It seems the good old UK delivery driver is embracing the commitment to being kinder to the environment, with more and more of us switching to electric and hybrid vehicles. Three cheers for us!

But without wanting to be a downer, the number of EVs on the road has also created a problem that nobody really expected…

Shhh… It’s Electric

Best not to say that too fast…but don’t you just love the sound (or lack of) an EV? But pleasant as it is to zip around in a nifty and very quiet van that’s friendly to the environment, they’ve actually been branded as ‘silent killers’, due to the danger they place on unwary pedestrians.

A report has shown that if something isn’t done to counteract this problem, it’s going to lead to deaths – and this especially affects older pedestrians, children and disabled people. (Research shows that blind people are more than 40% more likely to be struck by an EV than a regular one.)

Geez, so we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” I hear you say. Well Mr or Mrs Delivery Driver, please don’t unplug your socket and throw your hands in the air just yet.

New Legislation on Safety

New legislation is about to be passed requiring all electric and hybrid vehicles to emit a noise when they’re travelling at low speeds – which means in built up areas. These Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS) will need to be standard on all vehicles registered after September 2019.

Great. So that covers new vehicles, but what about those already on the road or manufactured before the legislation goes into place?

Quiet Vehicle Sounder

From the people who brought us the very annoying but very useful reversing alarm back in the 70s (yes, that long ago!), comes the aftermarket Quiet Vehicle Sounder. Brigade Electronics has developed the alarm, which has a range of sounds to alert nearby pedestrians, depending on the vehicle’s speed and position.

While the alarm has been designed to be fitted retrospectively, Brigade’s CEO has urged manufacturers not to wait until they’re forced by law to produce vehicles with such alarms. Let’s see if they’re listening, but it seems like pretty, err, sound advice if you ask me…

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