Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Questions (607)

David Stanton

Question:

607. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the need for electric vehicles to be fitted with devices that will emit sound so that pedestrians, cyclists and, in particular, persons who are visually impaired will be alerted to the fact that such vehicles are approaching; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12223/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Electric and electric-hybrid vehicles which are effectively silent, particularly at low speeds, present a potential danger to vulnerable road users such as the visually impaired, as well as cyclists and pedestrians.  In an effort at ensuring road and occupational safety, a proposal for an EU Regulation on the sound level of motor vehicles - COM (2011) 856, included provisions regarding the minimum noise for electric and electric-hybrid vehicles through ‘Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems’ (AVAS). During Ireland’s term as Presidency of the European Council in the first half of 2013, the Road Safety Authority chaired the Working Group meetings at which this proposal was progressed. Early in the discussions, Ireland made a submission that hybrid and electric vehicles would require the mandatory fitment of AVAS. Other Member States were supportive of these proposals and by the end of the Irish Presidency a consensus was achieved which requires vehicle manufacturers to install AVAS in new types of vehicles within four years and then to all new vehicles within six years. Once consideration of the proposal has been completed at official level, it will go to the Council of Ministers, where the mandatory measures for AVAS will receive my support. Based on the progress being made so far, it is anticipated that a formal EU Regulation on vehicle noise will be adopted before the end of this year.