A new law means new electric and hybrid vehicle models must feature a sound system to stop them being too quiet — in a bid to improve the safety of vulnerable road users.

Now manufacturers of electric and hybrid vehicles must fit a device that makes a noise if the vehicle is reversing or moving at around 12mph.

The thinking behind this is that a car is most likely to be near a pedestrian when moving slowly or reversing. It’ll mean it’s easier for someone who’s visually impaired to hear an electric or hybrid car approaching — the new law follows complaints from Guide Dogs charity that EVs are too hard to hear.

The device, known as the acoustic vehicle alert system (Avas), makes a sound like that of a regular engine and it can be temporarily switched off by the driver.

Roads Minister Michael Ellis said: “The government wants the benefits of green transport to be felt by everyone, and understands the concerns of the visually impaired about the possible hazards posed by quiet electric vehicles. This new requirement will give pedestrians added confidence when crossing the road.”

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