Japan is to launch a government review on whether to add a noise-making device to hybrid and electric cars after they were declared dangerous by some users and visually-impaired people.
After the recent sales successes of petrol-electric hybrids such as the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, a Japanese transport ministry official said they had received complaints about the lack of noise such cars emit when they switch from fuel to battery mode.
The official said: “We have received opinions from automobile users and vision-impaired people that they feel hybrid vehicles are dangerous.
“Blind people depend on sounds when they walk, but there are no engine sounds from hybrid vehicles when running at low speed."
The ministry has launched an advisory panel consisting of scholars, vision-impaired groups, consumers, police and the automobile industry to look into the issue.