A U.S. House of Representatives committee last week approved an auto safety bill that calls for hybrids and electric cars to be equipped with “alert sounds” to make them safer for pedestrians, according to an article in The Washington Post.
Lawmakers aren’t expected to take action on the bill until later this year, but Nissan reportedly is already experimenting with chimes, melodies and whirrings that could be added to its forthcoming Leaf electric vehicle.
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last year found that hybrid vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in pedestrian crashes in certain situations.
The Japanese government has also studied the situation. Last year, it set up a panel to consider the idea of adding sounds to hybrids with the idea of making them safer for blind pedestrians. Proposed sounds included artificial engine noises, music, and ring tones, like those used in cell phones.