Local MP Jo Swinson attended a reception at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday where Guide Dogs’ called for the installation of a vital safety feature on quiet hybrid and electric vehicles to keep pedestrians safe. Jo was one of the many MPs who came to find out about the charity’s call to install artificial noise generators on quiet vehicles.
Research shows that some quiet vehicles cannot be heard until one second before impact and, in certain conditions, are more likely to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian than conventional vehicles. Guide Dogs held the reception, where Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Norman Baker spoke, to highlight the charity’s concerns about the safety implications of vehicles that cannot be heard.
Commenting Jo said:
“Silent vehicles can pose a real danger to blind or partially sighted pedestrians.
“It is no wonder that Guide Dogs’ are trying to guarantee that those who can’t see a car coming can at the very least hear it.”
James White, Guide Dogs’ Campaigns Manager, said:
“As the number of quiet vehicles increases on our roads, we need to ensure they are safe. Blind and partially sighted people rely on the sound of an engine to cross a road safely. If you can’t see or hear a car then how do you know it is there?”
“Quiet vehicles must be safe for all pedestrians and we urge the Department for Transport to take steps to ensure this happens”
Jo with Tim Gebbels and his dog Alice at the Guide Dogs reception
About the Guide Dogs
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is a British charitable organisation founded in 1934. Guide Dogs provides independence and freedom to thousands of blind and partially sighted people across the UK through the provision of guide dogs, mobility and other rehabilitation services. It also campaigns passionately for the rights of those with visual impairments. Guide Dogs is working towards a society in which blind and partially sighted people enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else.
 US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Incidence of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crashes by Hybrid Electric Passenger Vehicles
Rosenblum, L, University of California Riverside: Hybrid Cars Are Harder to Hear