Electric Vehicles to Be Safer for Pedestrians

The good news in our industry just keeps coming in at the moment, especially when it comes to delivery drivers and their continued care and consideration for the environment. It seems that more and more of us are making the change to electric and hybrid vans, which has been a massive commitment but one that will see us move seamlessly into the future of our industry.

That said though, the increase in electric vehicles (EVs) on the road is causing a whole new problem for the busy delivery driver, and one that was never anticipated.

An Unexpected Issue

One of the big appeals of EVs has always been their quietness. Not only are they great for the environment, but they also offer a much quieter ride. It’s hard to believe then that their lack of noise pollution has actually caused them to have been branded ‘silent killers’. Recently they have been highlighted as a significant risk to unaware pedestrians who are caught by surprise when the vehicle approaches.

The risk has been recognised as being higher for older people, youngsters and those with a disability. For example, a blind person has a 40% higher risk of being hit by an EV than a petrol or diesel fuelled vehicle. Some believe that if the problem is not addressed, before too long, deaths will be the result.

It is frustrating for any delivery driver who believes they are doing the right thing by investing in an electric van, but thankfully there is a new legislation in the offing that focuses on the safety of EVs and hybrids on our roads.

New Safety Legislation

Our efforts to go green are definitely not going to be wasted though, because new legislation is about to come into play. What this means is that when EVs and hybrids are driving in towns and cities and travelling at low speeds they will have to emit a warning signal. The technical term for this prospective alarm is Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) and these are due to become standard on any vehicle registered after September of this year.

But it raises another issue: what about the cars and vans already on the road?

Quiet Vehicle Sounder

In the true style of our industry, no problem is insurmountable and the introduction of the aftermarket Quiet Vehicle Sounder is helping to solve this one. Developed by Brigade Electronics, the alarm emits a different sound depending on the vehicle’s speed and where exactly it is in relation to the pedestrian. As these can be retro-fitted, they can be used as of now.

Manufacturers are being encouraged to start fitting cars and vans with an alarm system as soon as possible and not wait until the enforced deadline. The abovementioned alarms can be installed on existing vehicles with relatively little fuss but, to help ensure the issue is sorted out before any deaths occur, it would be the best possible scenario for manufacturers to start getting on with the job now.

Here is hoping that they take heed!

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Courier Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Courier Exchange provides services for matching same day delivery driver jobs, and is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.

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