European Blind Union Press Release
11th February 2013
MEPs to protect blind people from dangers of silent cars
In a vote on 6 February, the European Parliament adopted an amendment requiring car manufacturers to equip their ‘silent’ cars with an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) which will ensure that these vehicles are heard by people with sight loss.
Electric and hybrid, or so-called ‘silent’ cars are too quiet for blind people to detect them.
The crash rate of silent vehicles is twice as high as that of cars with internal combustion engine in slow-speed manoeuvre conditions such as slowing, stopping, backing up and entering a parking space. All pedestrians are at risk but blind and partially sighted pedestrians are most at risk of experiencing collisions with quiet vehicles because they cannot see or hear them coming.
This danger is expected to increase as sales of silent cars are set to grow.
EBU President Wolfgang Angermann welcomed the decision taken by the European Parliament: “Blind and partially sighted people have a right to be out in the streets. Silent cars are dangerous and minimum noise levels to ensure our safety is paramount. I am happy to see that the European Parliament has listened to us. Now we want Member States to do the same and endorse this all important requirement.” The European Blind Union has been campaigning long and hard for the adoption of mandatory minimum noise requirements and will continue to do so.
Note to editors:
European Parliament decision - plenary vote on European Parliament legislative resolution of 6 February 2013 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the sound level of motor vehicles (COM(2011)0856 – C7-0487/2011 – 2011/0409(COD)) http://bit.ly/11rvthX
EBU is a non-governmental, non profit making European organisation founded in 1984. It is one of the six regional bodies of the World Blind Union. It protects and promotes the interests of blind and partially sighted people in Europe. It currently operates within a network of national organisations of the visually impaired in 45 European countries.