Failure to make eco-cars heard could result in more road traffic accidents involving vulnerable pedestrians, Labour has suggested.
Shadow transport minister Richard Burden wants compulsory fitting of sound generators before electric and hybrid vehicles become more popular.
He warned they present a danger to blind and partially-sighted pedestrians, children, autism sufferers, older people and cyclists.
Estimates put the growing number of electric cars in the UK at around 3,000 and over 133,000 hybrid vehicles.
Mr Burden wants action now before a rise in accidents because these vehicles have not been heard.
Ministers are expected to ask manufacturers to voluntarily introduce the safety feature.
This would put an extra cost of around £20 on each car, North Tyneside MP Mary Glindon told fellow members as she moved a debate in Westminster Hall.
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MP sounds road traffic accidents plea
Ms Glindon suggested that the risk of road traffic accidents was underlined by new research from the US.
This indicated that some electric cars travelling slowly could not be heard until they are only one second away from hitting a pedestrian.
Cross-party backing of quiet eco-vehicles to be made noisier emerged during the Westminster debate.
Issues raised included ensuring that existing cars can be retro-fitted and the sound generators’ decibel levels.
Charities, including the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, are supporting upgraded safety features.
Talks to make sound alert systems compulsory in quiet vehicles will continue at European level next month.
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Date Published: November 1, 2013
Author: David Brown