The Dangers Posed by Electric Cars to Blind People


The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (the UK charity which trains assistance dogs for visually impaired people) is campaigning to raise the issue of the danger posed by electric cars to those with sight loss.

Electric vehicles make little noise which make them particularly dangerous to people who are visually impaired and rely on their hearing to get around safely.

To watch the video please follow this link:

11 thoughts on “The Dangers Posed by Electric Cars to Blind People

    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Many thanks for sharing Chris. I should have added that electric cars have advantages in that they reduce carbon emissions and benefit the environment which, of course is to be welcomed. However the undoubted environmental benefits need to be weighed against the dangers posed by vehicles which are virtually silent. They are, in short a great idea but more work needs to be done to ensure they are safe to avoid accidents or death.

  1. amberleaghes

    It makes my blood boil when people treat guide dogs badly. This includes those people who design these electric cars, these silent killers. A guide dog realise on hearing the approaching danger, (the car), so if it can not hear the electric engine, which is very likely. Therefore these cars are a danger to the blind & their guide dogs … and to children too

    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Many thanks for your comment. You are right, electric cars as currently designed pose a danger to visually impaired people and their guide dogs together with children. They do have envioronmental benefits in that they reduce carbon emissions which is, of course to be welcomed. It is, however vitally important that electric vehicles can be heard by blind people and more work needs to be done in this regard, as a matter of urgency by the manufacturers. Kind regards. Kevin

  2. michaeljmcfadden

    At first I thought this was a spoof aimed government over-regulation, but then, before I even started to read, the hearing aspect hit me — both because I though of how much more dependent dogs are on hearing than sight and because, as a bicyclist, I’m aware of how often I depend on hearing to be alerted about traffic coming up behind me. The hearing dependency even applies to some extent as I’m crossing at an intersection as I combine both sight and sound to warn me of the speed and actions of traffic, particularly traffic not making the proper “slowing” sounds, approaching from two directions. I become most aware of its role there when I’ll occasionally have a close call with another bicycle that might be improperly speeding through a stop sign or against a light. I’ll have visually checked for cars at a distance in both directions, and checked for close pedestrians, but the low-visual and auditory profile of another bicycle, particularly if it is acting against traffic regulations, catches me dangerously off-guard at times despite my awareness of the problem.

    I remember a sad incident with a guide dog at my college as a freshman in the 1970s. A newly blind student enrolled and after his first month or so at the school he became partnered with a labrador guide-dog. I don’t know if the dog was not properly trained to stay within its role despite temptation/distraction as the only dog on campus surrounded by lots of friendly/playful kids, or if the blind boy himself was simply reluctant to treat the dog sternly when it would stray out of its work-role, or if it was simply the fault of other students wanting to be friendly and play with the friendly labrador; but at some point the dog darted out into traffic when some friends called out a greeting from across a street. The dog was hit and died, and the blind student committed suicide in a dorm closet a month or so later. It was a very, very sad situation, and something I’ll never forget.

    The electric car/noise problem could be solved fairly easily with a small computer-controlled sound system that would broadcast realistic “car sounds” that would vary with speed etc. Not just motor sounds, but again speaking as a bicyclist, the sound of the tires on the road and perhaps a bit of “approaching object” sound that a small electric car would emit as a lesser volume than a regular full-sized car.

    – MJM

  3. noelleg44

    I own a Prius and people have told me they can’t hear the car when it first starts, so I will have to be VERY careful from now on. A good reminder for those of us who are trying to be green.


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