While not exactly on schedule, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) said yesterday it is moving forward with the rule making process requiring an alert sound for pedestrians to be emitted by all hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs).
The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act (PSEA) that was signed into law January of last year gave NHTSA a statutory deadline of 18 months to begin rulemaking for setting federal standards for the vehicle alert sounds. Although that deadline – July 4, 2012 ¬– passed with no action, NHTSA is finally getting underway with the process.
In NHTSA’s notice of intent of rulemaking for the act, the PSEA standard must specify performance requirements for an alert sound that enables visually impaired and other pedestrians to reasonably detect EVs and HVs operating below their cross-over speed.
The administration defines cross-over speed as, “the speed at which tire noise, wind resistance, or other factors make an EV or HV detectable by pedestrians without the aid of an alert sound.”
The definition requires NHTSA to determine the speed at which an alert sound is no longer necessary, which the administration said today is less than 18 mph. Above that speed NHTSA says vehicles make sufficient noise to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to detect them without added sound.
The new rules would also apply to electric motorcycles and heavy-duty vehicles.
Some alternative fuels vehicles, like the Fisker Karma and Chevy Volt, already have a sound-making device in place, but most others do not.
Adding external speakers to quiet vehicles would cost about $25 million a year, or about $35 per light vehicle, NHTSA said. About $1.48 million of the annual costs would be to equip large trucks and buses and motorcycles with sound, according to NHTSA.
The PSEA requires that the final rule establishing the sound standard be issued by Jan. 4, 2014, and include a phase-in schedule that concludes with “full compliance with the required motor vehicle safety standard for motor vehicles manufactured on or after September 1st of the calendar year that begins three years after the date on which the final rule is issued.”
For example this means that if the final rule is issued Jan. 4, 2014, compliance would begin on Sept. 1, 2015, marking the start of a three-year phase-in period.
“Our proposal would allow manufacturers the flexibility to design different sounds for different makes and models while still providing an opportunity for pedestrians, bicyclists and the visually impaired to detect and recognize a vehicle and make a decision about whether it is safe to cross the street,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
NHTSA estimates that if this proposal were implemented there would be 2,800 fewer pedestrian and pedalcyclist injuries over the life of each model year of hybrid cars, trucks and vans and low speed vehicles, as compared to vehicles without sound.
“Safety is our highest priority, and this proposal will help keep everyone using our nation’s streets and roadways safe, whether they are motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians, and especially the blind and visually impaired,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
NHTSA has 14 sample sounds here that it says could be used as alerting sounds, some of which the administration says would not meet the proposed specifications.
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The world is full of remarkable people who, despite facing very difficult situations, not only come to grips with their hardship but also try to make the best of their lives.
Staff sergeant Mark Zambon was a U.S. Marines bomb technician deployed in Afghanistan. In January 2011, he lost both legs when a homemade bomb that he was trying to diffuse exploded.Read more »
As much as he loves his Italian exotics, Jay Leno is also a muscle car fan. In his wide (and wild) collection, there are two Dodge Challengers: a 1970 R/T and a 2008 SRT, the latter being the fourth car that rolled off the production line.
His 1970 Dodge is fitted with a Hurst pistol-grip lever, something that apparently increased the car’s “cool” factor. The Hurst name remained dormant for some time but now it has been resurrected, so Jay had to find out what the company was up to.Read more »
Regular Gasoline Retail Price
(Dollars per Gallon)
3.298 .. U.S.
3.403 … East Coast
3.496 …. New England
3.500 …. Central Atlantic
3.302 …. Lower Atlantic
3.221 … Midwest
3.107 … Gulf Coast
3.016 … Rocky Mountain
3.457 … West Coast
3.288 … West Coast less California
3.554 …. California
2.987 …. Colorado
3.351 …. Florida
3.402 …. Massachusetts
3.075 …. Minnesota
3.700 …. New York
3.319 …. Ohio
3.094 …. Texas
3.391 …. Washington
3.396 …. Boston
3.384 …. Chicago
3.313 …. Cleveland
2.987 …. Denver
3.076 …. Houston
3.612 …. Los Angeles
3.520 …. Miami
3.538 …. New York City
3.585 …. San Francisco
3.413 …. Seattle
On-Highway Diesel Fuel Retail Price
(Dollars per Gallon)
3.918 .. U.S.
4.006 … East Coast
4.154 …. New England
4.105 …. Central Atlantic
3.904 …. Lower Atlantic
3.885 … Midwest
3.830 … Gulf Coast
3.746 … Rocky Mountain
3.991 … West Coast
3.928 … West Coast less California
4.045 …. California
In some places, a little bit of salt and a pickup truck fitted with a plow will do fine to clear the roads when Mother Nature shakes her head and sprinkles her dandruff, but in certain areas, it's just won't do the trick, at least not in a timely manner.
That's when you need some heavy machinery to do all the hard work. If you have ever wondered how they do it, a YouTube user filmed a snow removal crew from Canada swiftly clearing up tons of snow with what could be one of the largest snow blowers we've seen working together with several dump trucks.Read more »
Does every car video have to be about (legal or…illegal) quarter mile runs, drift stunts and strange accidents? Of course not, where's the fun in that?
One nicely directed clip that recently captured our attention on YouTube simply shows two friends in their road-hugging Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X performance sedans going out for a ride with the appropriate music heard in the background.Read more »
After corn, you will likely end up with some transformed algae in your fuel tank soon.
As part of the bi-partisan “Fiscal Cliff” legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on Jan. 1, 2013, algae-derived fuels are, for the first time ever, a “qualified feedstock” under section 40 of the United States Code.
This means that producers of algal fuel are eligible for a $1.01 per gallon tax credit.
Algae can be used to produce both biodiesel and green fuel, as well as aviation fuel.
“Achieving tax parity with other biofuels has been a key legislative priority for ABO since our founding in 2008,” said Mary Rosenthal, executive director of the Algae Biomass Organization, the trade association for the U.S. algae industry. “This new designation is the culmination of years of hard work, outreach and advocacy of ABO and our members as well as others in the algae industry. It is also a reflection of the increased understanding of, and enthusiasm for, algae-based fuels among members of Congress and the Obama administration.”
Under the legislation passed earlier this week producers of fuels derived from algae, cyanobacteria or lemna (another free-floating aquatic plant with biofuel potential) will be allowed to benefit from the $1.01 per gallon tax credit that was previously only available to cellulosic feedstocks.
The bill also includes language that extends a special depreciation allowance on biofuel plant property to producers using algae.
“This is a huge win for our members and America’s energy security,” Rosenthal continued. “By leveling the playing field, this legislation will help foster the continued investment in algae technology companies as well as accelerate the commercial production and the sale of algae-based fuels.”
The association says the new classification comes at a critical time for the industry, as several algae-based fuel companies move to commercial production and research continues to create breakthrough opportunities for new technology and products. In the past year algae-based fuels have been successfully demonstrated in military aircraft and ships, and in late 2012 were introduced into commercial markets for automotive fuel for the first time.
Algae is a unique biofuel feedstock that can simultaneously be refined into vehicle fuels, recycle CO2 and provide nutrition for animals and people. The association says this can be done without harmful impacts on freshwater supplies or valuable agricultural land. More information can be found at www.allaboutalgae.com.
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