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Your thoughts about DOT requiring our cars to make noise at slower speeds

Your thoughts about DOT requiring our cars to make noise at slower speeds

I guess I overlooked this news tidbit until now, but the DOT, in an effort to protect unwary pedestrians, will require all EV and hybrid manufacturers by 2020 to install devices which make our peaceful, quiet cars emit a sound recognizable as a motor vehicle at lower speeds up to 19 mph. https://electrek.co/2019/01/10/tesla-model-3-safer-noise-machine/

I’m all for driving carefully around pedestrians but this noisemaker requirement seems like an overreaction. As far as I know, there’s not an epidemic of a bunch of people being run over unawares by EVs, is there? Isn’t that the exception and not the rule? (Part of me thinks let’s just fire the emissions testing mode at people walking in front of our car, but I digress…).
So nope, I’m not a fan of this requirement. I like my nearly silent car. It reduces air AND noise pollution.

In the article link above, Elon has mentioned a creative way to solve/abide by this; “I think the sensible and ideal thing long-term is to have proximity sensors that direct a pleasant sound in the direction of where somebody is walking – so therefore, it’s the least amount of noise, and it’s not annoying, and it’s only going to where it needs to go. That’s what I think is the right long-term solution.”

I guess if we have to, this is an option...

What are your thoughts about this requirement from the DOT?

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

I have not honked my horn yet in my M3 (delivery 08/18)... I am not a big honker. But I get your point

lbowroom | January 11, 2019

Thanks, some are taking it like their civil liberties are being violated. The FIAT product by the way just requires you to unplug one terminal on the speaker to silence it. No need to cut the wire.

drhelmutroth | January 11, 2019

This regulation nudged me to buy before it went into effect. A fair regulation would be: At low speeds an EV must make as much noise as the quietest non-EV. Singling out EVs and requiring only EVs to have noise makers demonstrates how corrupt (or incompetent) politicians are.

I always have to remember Hanlon's razor:
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

gballant4570 | January 11, 2019

My thoughts.... I am quite glad I got my Tesla before this crap was mandated. I am hoping that by the time the Tesla Pick Up comes out, we will have regained our senses.

Go to India. All drivers use their horns constantly while the car is in motion. Result? The horn is 100% ineffective and meaningless. Once more and more people are driving EV's, this will become apparent. At that point some energetic tenacious person or group can tackle the job if getting rid of the dumb ass law, which will be defended enthusiastically by delusional blowhards.

Magic 8 Ball | January 11, 2019

Forcing people in vehicles to make noise when traveling below certain speeds is a violation of our freedom and is, as already pointed out, biased in favor of those blessed to have good hearing. I like driving slow at night to observe wildlife and I hope I am not forced to be making noise doing that.

The compromise is a voluntary method (friendly horn) to warn pedestrians. The cool people on bikes, that buzz by us, give a whistle, ring bell, or shout on your left/right to give warning.

lbowroom | January 11, 2019

Was the sound level prescribed as louder than the quietest EV?

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

Does our M3 have the hardware for such a noise regulation?

lbowroom | January 11, 2019

Sorry, meant non EV

gballant4570 | January 11, 2019

Far more pedestrians are hit by ICE drivers texting than EV drivers. Far, far more.

lbowroom | January 11, 2019

So?

M3phan | January 11, 2019

@whazupman and howard: yes and yes...sigh.

@vmulla: more useful than the already existing horn? The difference is I control the horn, and (I assume) I don’t control the noisemaker.

@teslu3: I was thinking the same thing, in stop and go on the freeway, my car nonstop chirping or peeping or clicking or whatever the heck the noise will be.

I get we might not even hear the noise in our cabin, I just really dislike unnecessary regulations applied to what are imo non-issues.

M3phan | January 11, 2019

@lbowroom: “some are taking it like their civil liberties are being violated“, I hear you. One poor regulation is not the end of freedom. I think of it more like death by a thousand paper cuts, or a thousand poor regulations, if you will.

bj | January 11, 2019

BEVs need separate traffic and pedestrian horns. The latter is more friendly and much quieter. Cowbell would be good, Elon always wanted more cowbell.

I almost never use the traffic horn to warn pedestrians in my LEAF because it would be interpreted as gross rudeness and totally over the top. Which it is. And that’s even with the LEAF’s inbuilt pedestrian alert noise which is pretty ineffective.

jim | January 11, 2019

If this comes to pass, it will create an after market cottage industry of various solutions to disable the noise maker. And If Magic 8 Ball's comment about the state requiring an inspection (like a smog check) happens, then they will figure out how to create a bypass so you can turn it on for the test and disable it the rest of the time.

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

Does our M3 have the hardware for such a noise regulation?

gballant4570 | January 11, 2019

RES IPSA, I sure hope not..... or an over the air update will give me something I do not want.....the silence of my Tesla is one thing I really value....

jim | January 11, 2019

@RES IPSA It probably wouldn't be too hard to add hardware that would enable this, but I doubt the law would require retroactive installation. I suspect it would be like catalytic converters in ICE cars from back in the 70's, where they were only required for new cars. Cars made before the law came into affect were exempt.

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

Agreed... I like my silent car... as well as one pedal driving

Mike83 | January 11, 2019

Tires make plenty of noise and many cars like the Prius are run electrically at low speeds. Seems like a gimmick to add more costs to EVs. Then they should require all cars since they are also very quiet. I had a Prius for about 16 years and people do sense the car in parking lots.
A solution looking for a problem.

lbowroom | January 11, 2019

Its quieter than most ice cars.

mmclean708 | January 11, 2019

I think its dumb. That being said, I want my car to play "get this party started" by pink to alert dumb pedestrians. For hearing impaired, I could crank the bass...

M3phan | January 11, 2019

In the article I reference is a link to Tesla youtuber DÆrik (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rqTThDlMnAU&feature=youtu.be) who found what looks like a small speaker grill under the right front of the bumper. Looking into that area are what appear to be what he calls “melt points” for attaching something by retrofit. He also refers to a model S schematic from a couple years ago that appears to detail the noisemaker.
I’m taking s look under my 7/2018 delivered 3...

M3phan | January 11, 2019

Just looked; no speaker type grill under my front bumper. Nice.

lbowroom | January 11, 2019

Stated another way, it's no louder than tire noise at 19mph

drhelmutroth | January 11, 2019

How much do we want to go out of our way to make it safer for people to cross the street without looking?

lbowroom | January 11, 2019

More for parking lots where you're under 19 mph

vmulla | January 11, 2019

There seems to be lot of aggravation because folks are imagining this to be an irritating loud sound.

The noise maker is one of the features I like in the Nissan leaf - the noise is for the pedestrians, speakers are well seperated from the cabin, so it's not loud or irritating inside. Next, Teslas (and other EVs) are too damn quiet - I've had several situations where folks are pushing a cart/stroller and have absolutely no idea I'm behind them, they're not blocking me on purpose, but they would have given way if they knew I was there. I could honk, but I'm not like that. That situation hardly happens when I'm in my Leaf, all because of the humm which is very low from inside the cabin, but loud enough to get attention outside. The noise maker shuts off at speeds where the tire noise can be heard.

I welcome this change.

Magic 8 Ball | January 11, 2019

The change should be a choice to turn it off in situations where being quiet is desirable and no one is around to need to be warned you are going to run them over.

M3phan | January 11, 2019

@M8B, yes it would be nice to have a choice, an on off switch.
@vmulla: For me, the 3 isn’t too quiet, I love that it’s quiet. If a person walks in front of me I’d give them a quick horn toot and then give a smile and Thankyou wave as I drove by. You don’t have to honk if you don’t want to. Personal choices.

roxybalboaguy | January 11, 2019

Can the unelected bureaucratic bozos just stay home already. Thank you mr. president for shutting down govt.

jjgunn | January 11, 2019

Have fun enforcing this noisemaker on my Tesla.

kevin_rf | January 12, 2019

I find it humorous, they have been debating this since the Prius and Insight came out in 2001/2002. Only took them eighteen years to come up with a regulatory solution. I have to laugh at government efficiency.

Sorry... beyond me why it took so long.

That said, it amazes me that number of people that don't know you are always supposed to walk facing oncoming traffic. Never turn your back to it.

They use to teach that in school, heck Selkirk NY had signs up and down 396 stating such and referencing the relevant state law.

M3phan | January 12, 2019

@kevin_rf: how’s that old saying go? “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.”

mcmack15 | January 12, 2019

If it comes to pass there should be a switch or icon that provides options for the noise------and one option should be the deep gurgling sound of a powerful muscle car form the late 60's. I would love to have this sound when I am at a light, and then have it sound just like a muscle car accelerating as I take off.

wiboater4 | January 12, 2019

Since the Tesla has radar and sensors etc wouldn't it be better to just have the car stop if radar detected a person in front of the car? Or have it only make noise when it detected a person?

EM34ME | January 12, 2019

"There seems to be lot of aggravation because folks are imagining this to be an irritating loud sound."

The sound in my 2012 Prius Plug-In is like a swarm of buzzing bees. It is not an irritating loud sound. The problem is, it is so subtle we can't hear it because we are hearing impaired. In fact it is so subtle, people with full hearing don't notice it either! Your response might be, "well make it louder." And then you start down that slippery slope of how loud is too loud.

If DOT proposed that this noise maker be retrofitted to all existing cars, be included on ICE cars, be included on all motorcycles and bicycles,,,,,,it would die an immediate death. This is nothing more than DOT pro-oil, anti-BEV personnel trying to squelch the transition to BEV.

Pedestrians always have the right-of-way, even when they are violating the law. You can't just run over someone just because they are jaywalking. Drivers need to be more patient to avoid inattentive or rude pedestrians.
Pedestrians do need to be more vigilant (particularly the hearing impaired) to avoid inattentive or rude drivers. Everyone, both drivers and pedestrians, needs to be more personally responsible. BEV noisemakers are not going to solve that. It is a waste of time, money, and effort.

Magic 8 Ball | January 12, 2019

@Kevin_rf It amazes me how many people do not understand pedestrian right of way. In our neighborhood the roads are undivided and the traffic drives down middle of road until oncoming traffic is seen then both cars try to squeeze by each other. Some roads are so narrow that traffic has to back up until the other car can get around. Walking against "oncoming" traffic is not really the best option. The best option is to stay wide on the blind curves (max visibility) which means crossing back and forth over the road. There is no law a pedestrian has to walk against oncoming traffic and the pedestrian has right of way.

ccfiiimd | January 12, 2019

The idea is to help blind people avoid injury. Deaf people can look both ways. I got over government regulation when seatbelts were required. In the early days, folks used to disconnect their seat belt alarms. I would be surprised if that happens much anymore.

kevin_rf | January 12, 2019

@Magic8Troll

You where saying?
http://ypdcrime.com/vt/article27.htm

Magic 8 Ball | January 12, 2019

@kevin_rf I live in CA where pedestrian has right of way no matter which side of a road we walk on. It is stupid to require pedestrians to walk on the inside of a blind curve.

EM34ME | January 12, 2019

"The idea is to help blind people avoid injury. "

Then why not require noisemakers on the new quiet ICEVs and bicycles?

EM34ME | January 12, 2019

And electric motorcycles?

gballant4570 | January 12, 2019

ccfiiimd, it turns out that the seat belt law actually helps the person making the decision to wear one or not. Even the most feeble minded have either figured this out or been killed off over the last 40 years.... this sound regulation can never have that outcome, unless circumstances develop in which sufficient car owners are sued for big money due to hitting pedestrians with their "silent" cars. Then it could be construed that making noise can save you from bankruptcy. I am willing to risk that.

RedShift | January 12, 2019

I just put on some loud hip hop music, roll the windows down, and.. people seem to automatically want to go far away from me.

gballant4570 | January 12, 2019

I've only been to California while travelling through airports, but it struck me as the kind of place that might have sidewalks for pedestrians. One of the problems we have in the US - plenty of laws, but no consideration for pedestrians in a vehicle centric society. Mandating that vehicles make a minimum noise level is of course far cheaper than having safe places to walk.....

Of course parking lots are different. No readily apparent ways to separate vehicles and people, without getting into pedestrian bridges. I'm not sure why blind people would be walking through parking lots unaccompanied, or using crosswalk signs.... but I'm sure that is due to one of my many character flaws.

Seanderson | January 12, 2019

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

How about personal responsibility... drivers need to be extra cautious driving a quite car and pedestrians needs to always be aware of their surrounding when on or near streets / parking lots.

A woman in a parking lot walked right into my M3. I had previously noticed she was looking at her phone so I payed extra attention. I had completely stopped my vehicle a few seconds before she walked right into my car. Thankfully she was reasonable and kinda laughed it off. Luckily she was not the type to make a false claim of injury and take it from there
-----

Now, there's the rub: "cellfoneitis" the inability to see or hear the world around you because you are addicted to your cellfone. Physically impaired people are far more aware and cautious of their surroundings as are folk afflicted with cellfoneitis. It'll eventually be showned that the old piece of auto hardware is the best safety measure: the horn.

ccfiiimd | January 12, 2019

@EM34ME this is a situation where a minority group, blind people, are advocating for decreasing their probability of injury. I am sympathetic, and certainly laws may be crafted where auditory warning signals are not based on the type of engine, ICE versus EV, but based on the ability of blind people to hear them approaching, i.e., the sound generated at low speeds by a vehicle. As to bicycles, you may find two minority groups lobbying against each other bicyclists versus blind people. I don’t really have an answer for that one. This is why we have a democracy, s different groups can advocate for their interests. I do favor looking at the science of something like this rather than crowdsourcing opinion from people who don’t suffer from this disability. If you are blind, the world is completely different. The rest of us, accommodating blind people with a $10 sound device seems like simple compassion, if it works, AND it can be designed to work well. We here in the United States have lots of ADA Laws that have melted into the background and we don’t realize the beneficial effects for disabled people. My wife is from South America, and you should see a person in a wheelchair and try to get around where the street curb is 2 feet high at the crossing corner. There is some preliminary science on this, and I don’t think it would take a lot to figure out how to help blind people be aware of approaching cars. From their standpoint, imagine being at the intersection trying to figure out if it’s safe to cross. I doubt many blind people are standing at a street crossing, listening to music blithely ignoring their surrounding environment since they are dependent on auditory cues. As I did a little Google search on this, one thing I ran across is the idea that blind people are excited about full self driving vehicles. What a great boon for them.

Here is an interesting scientific paper on this issue:

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d9d8/bc5c3cf62dc981b9747814f57d07e6fc40...

ccfiiimd | January 12, 2019

@gballant4570 The thing is that blind people want to be protected from people who are willing to accept the risk of running over them.

kevin_rf | January 12, 2019

8 ball, wrong again

Relevant CA code:
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sect...

21956.
(a) No pedestrian may walk upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district otherwise than close to his or her left-hand edge of the roadway.

Magic 8 Ball | January 12, 2019

"A pedestrian may walk close to his or her right-hand edge of the roadway if a crosswalk or other means of safely crossing the roadway is not available or if existing traffic or other conditions would compromise the safety of a pedestrian attempting to cross the road."

As a pedestrian walking on an undivided roadway my safety is compromised when walking on the inside of a blind curve. Traffic conditions, on a blind curve allow for me to walk on the side that is safest.

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