Silent Cars Campaign

From 23 to 25 May, the German Federation of the Blind represented EBU at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig. This year’s edition of the high-level conference of Transport Ministers and experts from all over the world focused on the topic of safety. Two experts from the German Federation presented the EBU campaign on silent cars, which highlights the safety implications of electric vehicles on blind and partially sighted pedestrians. The discussion with transport officials and members of the ITF emphasised that electric vehicles are dangerous for all pedestrians, sighted or not. Especially children, the elderly and inattentive persons require acoustic cues from cars to safely navigate traffic.

In previous years, the EBU campaign has laid successful groundwork for making roads safer for everyone. New standards by the United Nations and mandatory European legislation require electric vehicles to have a so-called “Acoustic Vehicle Alert System” (AVAS), which is an artificially created engine-like sound. AVAS will only be active at low speeds and at volume levels below current conventional cars. From October 2018 onwards, pause switches for AVAS will also be prohibited in Europe. While EBU is in principle content with these outcomes, implementation remains problematic. The legislation will only fully enter into force for new cars in 2021 and there is no provision to equip the around 1 million electric vehicles with AVAS that will be roaming European streets by then. Finding ways to retrofitting will be the main focus of the EBU campaign on silent cars in the time to come.
Follow the silent cars campaign on the EBU website.