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‘Noisy’ campaign gets backing from the blind

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Blind and partially sighted people have put their weight behind a campaign calling for newly manufactured electric cars to generate a sound when driven.

Among those backing the bid is Adeyfield householder Derek Batt, who is registered blind and uses guide dog Lucas to help him get about.

The pair were almost hit by an electric car in Hemel Hempstead while on their way to attend a meeting about the issue with Herts MEP Richard Howitt at Boxmoor’s Social Centre for the Blind on Monday.

Loyal Lucas had tried to stop Derek from crossing the road but because he could not hear the electric car he insisted that the dog proceed.

“All of a sudden the car was on top of me,” said Derek.

“I think the campaign is fantastic.”

Luckily the car managed to stop before hitting Derek or Lucas and the pair were unscathed.

Mr Howitt said: “I voted recently in the European Parliament for the compulsory requirement to add sound to electric and hybrid vehicles, after listening carefully to the case made by local campaigners and the Guide Dogs Safe and Sound campaign.

“The number of electric and hybrid vehicles on the road will grow apace as we all want better fuel economy and to reduce carbon emissions but these new vehicles are virtually silent and can pose a threat to pedestrians and cyclists, especially the safety of blind and partially sighted people.

“Research in Britain, taking into account the number of vehicles on the road, shows pedestrians more likely to be hit by an electric car than a conventional one.”

Mr Howitt was joined in Hemel Hempstead by Guide Dogs community engagement officer Sue Rowen.

 

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