Thursday, 28 November 2013

Vehicles should be quieter but not silent

The newest trend among my friends is to invest some money into buying noise-cancelling headphones. You use them not only in public spaces where on the one hand you may want to block out noise made by traffic and strangers and on the other hand you could try to limit the noise you are making. No, you use them also at work, at home, to improve your concentration by eliminating any external noise. Surrounding yourself with silence seems to be a goal nowadays. In similar spirit, the European Parliament´s Environment Committee endorsed on Wednesday new proposals for regulating traffic noise in order to protect pedestrians´ health (noise made by standard cars would need to be limited from 74db to 68db in 12 years).  Consumers would be better informed as to the noise level their vehicles make due to an introduction of a new labeling system. Interestingly, the soundless electric and hybrid cars raise worries among the MEPs, since they are seen as potential threat to pedestrians who won’t expect their approach and therefore, a cause for more accidents. The proposal would be to add some acoustic to these vehicles in order to increase road safety. (Environment MEPs back law to turn down harmful traffic noise)  It seems then that the goal is to limit the noise but not to cancel it.
Additionally, on Tuesday MEPs and member states’ negotiators reached an informal deal regarding new rules on CO2 emissions that should be achieved by 2020 (95g/km as mandatory target applicable to 95% of new cars). (Car CO2 emissions: MEPs reach a deal with Lithuanian Presidency of the Council)

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