Electric cars and hybrids may be too quiet

January 8, 2013 12:20:26 AM PST
The federal government says the rules of the road need to change because hybrids aren't noisy enough. Many hybrid drivers like the fact that these cars are quieter than traditional vehicles, but the transportation department says thousands of accidents are being caused each year because pedestrians can't hear them coming.

Hybrids and electric cars are supposed to be the vehicles of the future. They're clean burning, fuel efficient, and very quiet. They are so quiet, they can be a hazard.

"I have friends who are blind who say it's really dangerous," said Lindsay Ackerman, Glendale.

"I've been a little surprised, I would prefer not to be surprised... Doing the jump," said Laura Inman, South Pasadena.

That is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a rule requiring automakers to make electrics and hybrids noisier. More specifically, the cars, which are virtually silent under 18 miles per hours, would have to make noises whenever traveling under that speed.

People out on the street have their own suggestions on what it should sound like. "Have songs or something," said Richey Ackerman.

So after decades of trying to make cars quieter, automakers have apparently been too successful.

The public now has 60 days to comment on the rule proposal.