Research shows that some quiet vehicles cannot be heard until one second before impact and, in certain conditions, are more likely to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian than conventional vehicles. Guide Dogs held a Parliamentary reception, where Transport Minister Norman Baker spoke, to highlight the charity’s concerns about the safety implications of vehicles that cannot be heard.
Dame Anne said: “While the introduction of more environmentally friendly cars is to be welcomed, it is also important to acknowledge that we all rely on hearing approaching vehicles when crossing the road.
“Quiet hybrid and electric cars can also impact on the independence of blind and partially sighted people and their ability to go about their daily lives. I would, therefore, hope that manufacturers will ensure that hybrid and electric cars are easy to hear.”
James White, Guide Dogs’ Campaigns Manager, said: “As the number of quiet vehicles increases on our roads, we need to ensure they are safe. Blind and partially sighted people rely on the sound of an engine to cross a road safely. If you can’t see or hear a car then how do you know it is there?”
“We welcome Dame Anne’s support for our campaign. Quiet vehicles must be safe for all pedestrians and we urge the Department for Transport to take steps to ensure this happens”