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Government invest millions of pounds in electric vehicles without considering safety

29 Apr 2014

On the day that the Government are announcing huge pay-outs to road users willing to swap to electric vehicles, Guide Dogs are calling for people to make a noise about the dangers their quietness poses to pedestrians

Nick Clegg has today announced a cash boost for quiet electric cars. The initiative will extend a £5,000 subsidy which is hoped will encourage drivers to buy the vehicles.

However, despite throwing £500million at the project there appears to be no consideration surrounding the risks these cars represent to the public, in particular pedestrians who are visually impaired. 

Responding to the Government's announcement, Campaigns Manager James White has commented:

"The Government is spending a huge amount of money to increase the number of quiet hybrid and electric vehicles on our roads. But they have given no consideration whatsoever to the fact that they are 25% more likely to injure a pedestrian than a conventional vehicle."

"Quiet vehicles can't be heard until just one second before impact with a pedestrian. Blind and partially sighted people rely on their hearing to cross the road so this creates an unacceptable level of risk for them."

"The Government are showing scant regard for pedestrian safety by giving everyone who buys an electric vehicle £5,000 without insisting that devices which generate engine noises are fitted, which at just £20 per vehicle is not a big ask. We would like the Government to make it compulsory for sound devices that cannot be switched off to be fitted to electric cars at the point of manufacture to protect people living with sight loss and other vulnerable road users.”

The European Union recognise the threat posed by quiet vehicles in the regulation on the Sound Level of Motor Vehicles that requires the installation of an artificial sound generator but this is not applicable until 2021, by which time it  is too late to ensure all pedestrians are kept safe.

Act now by writing to your MP, asking them to take action to make sure quiet vehicles are made safe for pedestrians.