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9/6/2011 - NHTSA looks to add noises to fuel-efficient vehicles

Electric cars' quiet may actually be a safety hazard.

Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are discussing ways to make quieter cars more apparent to pedestrians who may have trouble seeing or hearing.

"America's streets must be safe for everyone who uses them," said Ray LaHood, secretary for the Department of Transportation. "As we improve the environment with cleaner cars, we must also consider how it affects those on bikes and on foot."

NHTSA and DOT are primarily concerned about hybrid and electric model vehicles, which tend to run at a lower noise level than standard vehicles. The NHTSA may require auto manufacturers to add sounds to hybrid vehicles that alert impaired pedestrians of their presence.

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