In the video above, Guide Dogs discusses the supposed dangers of quiet cars (electric cars).
We need to first mention that we are deeply sorry for those who suffer from blindness and apologize for offending anyone with our opinion on this matter.
However, if you frequent the InsideEVs website, you will see a repeat mention of EVs being silent, quiet, etc. and that most owners of electric cars absolutely love the fact of how quiet they are.
Auto manufacturers of EVs even advertise this. This quietness is one of the key traits of an all electric vehicle.
Of note: The recently released 2016 Chevrolet Volt specification sheet (full details here) notes that an "automatic audible signal" is activated "during low speed driving".
Going back to the "dangers" part, we noticed multiple problems. First, we noticed that one of the screen texts states; "Quiet cars are 40% more likely to be involved in a pedestrian collision than conventional cars. Source: TAS." We wonder, how did this TAS arrive at this conclusion, and what are the "quiet cars" today?
Vehicles (that make engine noise) have been around for over a century. Still today these loud vehicles are involved in ongoing incidents of a driver hitting a pedestrian ~ everyday, and most of these car/pedestrian incidents involve conventional cars, which suggests to us that vehicle noise has little relation to accidents involving pedestrians.
It is true that excessively noisy vehicles would tip off both those who are blind, hard of hearing or just unaware, but we suspect there is a threshold where the returns are diminished significantly. A low, unobtrusive whine or chime coming from an electric vehicle in the area is unlikely to drown out other sounds, or make pedestrians much more aware of its presence - especially as they become more common and the sound is present everywhere.
There is obviously a safety trade-off here if plug-in cars are truly silent, but perhaps it would be better to expect more vigilance (and safety precautions) on the part of pedestrians over a future of whirling and beeping cars all over the world?
Back to the video...
What caught our attention immediately is that the woman is jaywalking, which is illegal is the U.S. and probably elsewhere in the world too (but supposedly not in the UK where this video is filmed). Jaywalking is dangerous, which is why there are crosswalks and lights for pedestrians to cross the street.
More important than sound is that the driver of a vehicle and pedestrians are aware of surroundings, and obey all traffic and pedestrian laws.
Our hope is that governments and lawmakers don't take away our silence just because a few drivers and pedestrian were careless. Auto manufacturers think that this noise-emitting system for EVs is rather absurd too.
Call us crazy, but we think that it's all politics.
This is needless to say & has nothing to do with it being an EV or not...