Just last week we told you about the amount of work Jaguar had put into ensuring pedestrians can hear the new I-PACE. Now a report by Vision Australia and Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has further highlighted how things need to change quickly in this country. In recent months we have reported on any number of major players who are set to unleash EV cars, including the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Nissan Leaf.
MUARC identified that 35 per cent of people who are blind or suffer from vision problems had either had a collision or near-miss with an electric or hybrid car. This problem has been occurring for years even with pedestrians who have 20/20 vision. Trust me, I know having owned a Toyota Camry Hybrid for the last eight years.
While the overall numbers of hybrid and EV cars is still very low we can expect a dramatic uptake over the coming decades. Some estimates predict electric vehicles will make up 90 per cent of the overall car population by 2050.
Vision Australia General Manager Karen Knight said, “While there are many advantages of electric cars, the quiet engines make it incredibly difficult to hear them coming especially when they’re travelling at low speeds.”
“This can be a real problem in car parks and near driveways, and is a major concern for distracted pedestrians, children, the elderly and people who are blind or have low vision.”
MUARC research fellow Dr Sara Liu added, “Our research has highlighted that the risk of incidents between electric and hybrid vehicles is likely to increase unless measures are taken to protect vulnerable road users.”
“With the number of electric vehicles globally and in Australia projected to increase, with cumulative estimates of more than 500 million electric vehicles sold globally by 2040, it’s important to do something now.”
Vision Australia is urging the Australian Government to adopt the Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS). This system is found onboard the the Jaguar I-PACE.
“The AVAS would require an electric or hybrid vehicle to make a noise when travelling up to and include 20km/h, while travelling forward or in reverse”
“Regulatory authorities in the US and Europe moved quickly with regulations on minimum noise standards for electric and hybrid vehicles and we believe now is the time for Australia to follow suit,” Karen Knight said.
It’s time for government legislators to step up and address this problem that’s fast approaching.