Transportation officials say the government is requiring new hybrid and electric cars to make noise when traveling at low speeds so that pedestrians, especially those who are blind or have poor eyesight, will hear them coming.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the new rule could help prevent about 2,400 pedestrian injuries a year once all hybrids on the road are equipped to make noise.
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Hybrid vehicles use both a gasoline engine and an electric motor. Electric motors make little noise compared to gasoline engines.
The rule requires hybrid and electric vehicles to make audible noise when traveling in reverse or forward at speeds up to about 19 mph. The sound alert isn't required at higher speeds because other factors, such as tire and wind noise, provide warning.