Safe and Sound

Quiet electric and hybrid vehicles are hard to hear as they make less sound than conventional cars. To protect all pedestrians, including people with sight loss, Guide Dogs wants the Government to make it compulsory for quiet vehicles to have sound generating systems built in and turned on.

As the number of quiet vehicles on our roads continues to increase, the risk to pedestrians living with sight loss is growing because many rely on being able to hear a car to cross the road safely.

Did you know that:

  • Quiet hybrid and electric vehicles are 40% more likely to collide with pedestrians than cars with a regular combustion engine (1)
  • There was a 54% increase in accidents where pedestrians were injured by quiet vehicles from 2012 to 2013 (1)
  • In some environments, quiet vehicles may be heard just a few seconds before impact (2)
  • More than three quarters of people (76%) in our YouGov poll agreed that quiet vehicles make the roads less safe for pedestrians with sight loss (3)
  • In our YouGov poll, 78% of people said that these cars make roads less safe for older people and three quarters say the same for children (3)

In the next few years, we think there will be thousands more quiet vehicles on our roads.

Guide Dogs has been working with the Royal Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the World Blind Union (WBU) to ensure that our concerns about the dangers that electric and hybrid cars pose to pedestrians with sight loss are exposed.

  1. A study commissioned by Guide Dogs and conducted by The TAS Partnership. The research undertaken by TAS was initially conducted in September 2013 and updated in November 2014
  2. US Research from 2008 found quiet vehicles travelling at low speeds cannot be heard until they are just one second away from impact with a pedestrian
  3. Research from YouGov Plc. The fieldwork was undertaken online between 2 and 3 March 2015 and the total sample size of the research was 2,228 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+)

Paralympian Libby Clegg has had two near misses with quiet vehicles.

As a guide dog owner I rely on being able to hear cars to judge when it’s safe to cross the road. It’s terrifying to cross when you’re unable to hear quiet hybrid and electric vehicles. Ensuring all quiet vehicles have sound generating systems installed and switched on would ensure that millions of people, like me, who are living with sight loss, would be protected from the growing safety hazard.

Libby Clegg, guide dog owner

Emily Davison, guide dog owner, talks about the dangers of quiet vehicles

We’d love to hear from you!

c/o London Mobility Team, 7 Manor Road, Woodford, Woodford Green, IG8 8ER

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