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Guide Dogs heard loud and clear on quiet vehicles, but more must be done for vulnerable road users

03 Apr 2014

Guide Dogs is celebrating a milestone in the Safe and Sound campaign following a landmark European vote yesterday, but says more must be done to make quiet vehicles safe for people with sight loss and other road users.

Yesterday the European Parliament passed a regulation requiring car manufacturers to fit artificial sound generators to quiet hybrid and electric vehicles, making them safer.

This has come about as the result of a two year lobbying campaign by Guide Dogs and our campaigners, which has been supported by 21 other organisations representing road users and disabled people.

You can help us now with the next stage of the Safe and Sound campaign.
Please write to your MP in support of mandatory sound generators.

Guide Dogs' Senior Public Affairs Officer Jennifer Keen said: "We’re delighted that European Union has recognised the problems quiet vehicles cause for pedestrians who can't hear them coming, but the regulation does not go nearly far enough. New quiet vehicles will not have to be fitted with an artificial sound generator until 2021. This is too late to protect blind and partially sighted pedestrians. 

"The other major problem with the regulation is that the artificial sound generator will be fitted with a pause switch, allowing the driver to turn it off as they choose. This will make it void as a safety feature." 

Guide Dogs will continue to campaign to make the pause switch illegal on UK roads and for the Government to make the installation of artificial sound generators a precondition of its subsidy to the electric and hybrid vehicle market.

Miss Keen said: "The numbers of quiet cars on our roads will increase year on year and the Government has already committed £500 million between 2015 and 2020 to support the market and increase uptake. We will continue campaigning to make sure these vehicles can be heard."