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Stop the quiet danger blighting our road safety

25 Mar 2015

Safe And Sound Research

Guide Dogs joins forces with Paralympian Libby Clegg to highlight dangers of quiet vehicles on our roads.

Leading charity Guide Dogs has teamed up with Paralympian Libby Clegg to call on the public to back a change.org petition, to protect pedestrians from the dangers posed by quiet cars. 

Quiet hybrid and electric vehicles are 40% more likely to collide with pedestrians than cars with a regular combustion engine. Guide Dogs wants the government to make it compulsory for all quiet vehicles to have sound generating systems built-in and turned on, to limit the risk for pedestrians. 

As the numbers of quiet electric and hybrid vehicles on our roads continues to increase Guide Dogs believes that the risk to pedestrians living with sight loss is growing significantly, as many rely on being able to hear a car to cross the road safely.

To support the campaign, Guide Dogs has also released a video that demonstrates the dangers to pedestrians living with sight loss.

A study commissioned by Guide Dogs and conducted by the TAS Partnership Ltd shows that quiet vehicles are a growing danger. The study found a 54 percent increase in accidents where pedestrians were injured by quiet vehicles from 2012 to 2013.

An online YouGov survey commissioned by Guide Dogs found that the general public share the charity’s worry that quiet vehicles are a safety hazard for pedestrians. In the poll of 2,000 adults, over three quarters (76%) agreed that quiet vehicles make the roads less safe for pedestrians with visual impairment.

The findings also showed that the problem goes much wider – 78 per cent say quiet cars make roads less safe for older people and three quarters say the same for children.

James White, Campaigns Manager for Guide Dogs, said: "Quiet vehicles put pedestrians at risk outside schools, in residential areas and in our towns and cities. The Government is spending hundreds of millions of pounds to increase the numbers of quiet cars on the roads, and while we support the development of environmentally friendly vehicles, more needs to be done to protect pedestrian safety.”

Paralympic sprinter and guide dog owner Libby Clegg has experienced near collisions with quiet cars. She says: "As a guide dog owner I rely on being able to hear cars to judge when it’s safe to cross the road. It’s terrifying to cross when you’re unable to hear quiet hybrid and electric vehicles. Ensuring all quiet vehicles have sound generating systems installed and switched on would ensure that millions of people, like me, who are living with sight loss, would be protected from the growing safety hazard."

Guide dogs is campaigning for it to be compulsory for new quiet electric and hybrid vehicles to be audible though artificial sound generators. The charity is concerned that between now and 2021 – when EU rules will require all new quiet vehicles to have artificial sound generators – thousands more quiet cars will be on our roads putting pedestrians in danger. The charity is urging car manufacturers to do the right thing and fit sound generating systems to quiet vehicles before it becomes compulsory.

People can sign Libby Clegg’s petition on Change.org and see the video on the Guide Dogs YouTube channel.



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