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Older Electric Vehicles May be Forced to Add Noisemakers

» Posted May 22, 2023Resources | Share This Post

Federal regulators are growing increasingly concerned about one feature of older electric vehicles: they do not make enough noise.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation to determine if an audible alert should be required on electric and hybrid vehicles produced before 2021, Car and Driver reports.

The question is a public safety matter. Electric and hybrid cars are much quieter than internal-combustion engine vehicles. That means pedestrians, especially those who are visually impaired, and others may not be aware when the cars are oncoming.

Newer electric vehicle models are required under federal law to be equipped with a pedestrian warning sound. An unidentified person petitioned NHTSA to extend that requirement to older EVs, according to Car and Driver.

“The law was created as a protection for visually impaired and blind people who depend on auditory cues when crossing streets,” Jack Fitzgerald reports for Car and Driver. “NHTSA documents note that this concern dates back at least as far as 2010, with the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, which became law in January 2011.”

Pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents hit a four-decade high in 2021, according to data compiled by the Governors Highway Safety Association. The numbers have continued to rise, including a 5% jump in the first half of last year, a trend the group called “deeply troubling.”

Extending the requirement for older models could pose a logistical challenge, as an estimated 9.1 million vehicles could be on the list to be recalled for a retrofitted pedestrian warning. 

Meanwhile, BMW was recently forced to recall some 3,500 newer electric vehicles over malfunctioning noise generators. The recall covers certain i4 models and iX models produced between January 13th and December 21st 2022.

Car Defects and the California Lemon Law

Major car manufacturers continue to struggle to ensure that their vehicles are actually safe to drive, whether they are powered by electricity or gas.

Carmakers call back slews of vehicles every single year, citing a wide range of defects and malfunctions that pose safety hazards for everyone on the road. The callbacks often come long after the defective vehicles have been sold to unsuspecting buyers.

The good news for car owners in California is that you have some important rights under the state’s lemon law.

Known officially as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, the lemon law forces automakers to perform a full range of repairs on cars while they are under warranty. It also requires the companies to buy back (or replace, in some cases) vehicles that they are unable to or simply decline to fix. 

Talk with a California Lemon Law Attorney

If you have been stuck with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, a California lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you fight back. That includes forcing the manufacturer to buy back or replace the car.

Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a California lemon law attorney.

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Posted By: Clay Coker