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Sight-challenged welcome vote on hybrid cars
BLIND and partially sighted people in Dorset have welcomed a European Parliament vote to make it compulsory for all quiet electric and hybrid vehicles to begiven an artificial noise.
The regulation has to be agreed by the EU Council before it can become law but the vote marks a major breakthrough for safety campaigners concerned about the dangers presented by near-silent electric and hybrid vehicles.
Dorset Blind Association chief executive Jonathan Holyhead said: “This will make our roads safer for blind and partially sighted people and other vulnerable road users.”
The vote follows a major lobbying campaign by Guide Dogs and other organisations representing blind and partially-sighted people, which have called for it to be made law that drivers don’t have the option to turn off artificial noise systems in their vehicles.
In 2010 the US passed a similar law on noise levels in quiet vehicles and Japan already has regulations in place.
Mr Holyhead said: “People with sight loss have always relied on hearing engine noise from cars and vans to identify a safe gap in the traffic to cross a road.
“Electric and hybrid vehicles are much quieter so this change would make our roads safer and help protect not only the blind and partially sighted, but also pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users.”
YOU CAN HELP
DORSET Blind Association helps up to 1,000 blind or partially-sighted people each month.
It receives no regular government funding for this and relies heavily on donations, grants and legacies.
To help call 01202 712869 or visit dorsetblind.org.uk or send a donation to 17 Bournemouth Road, Lower Parkstone, Poole, BH14 0EF.