Road safety authorities in the US have extended a deadline for car makers to add a sound emitting device for quiet vehicles, according to a report from news outlet Reuters.
The so-called 'quiet car' rules are designed to improve pedestrian safety, forcing models with near-silent electric powertrains to produce an audible noise up to 30km/h.
Citing the coronavirus pandemic, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pushed the deadline back by six months, but is seeking public input on whether the deadline is further increased to a full year.
Car manufacturers were given an additional 12 months to comply with the September 2019 deadline, but are seeking an additional 12 month extension.
With the increase of quieter fully-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the danger to pedestrians – particularly those who are visually impaired – is significant at lower speeds.
In 2017, President of the US National Federation of the Blind, Mark Riccobono, said: "This regulation will ensure that blind people can continue to travel safely and independently as we work, learn, shop, and engage in the other activities that are part of living the lives we want".
In the 12-month period to July 2020, 146 pedestrians lost their lives in Australia.
The NHTSA estimates vehicles with electrified powertrains are 19 per cent more likely to be involved in a road accident involving pedestrians than models with traditional internal combustion engines.