Last chance to have your say on life-saving AVAS technology
Australians are being invited to share their views on the potential mandate of life-saving acoustic vehicle alerting systems (AVAS) in new light electric vehicles, with public consultation closing soon.
More than 130 public submissions have been received since the Australian Government’s AVAS Impact Analysis consultation paper was released in March.
More Australians than ever before are driving electric vehicles, with the numbers almost doubling in 2022, from around 44,000 to more than 83,000 EVs on our roads.
AVAS technology allows EVs to produce an external sound, alerting vulnerable road users including pedestrians and cyclists to their approach – thereby decreasing the risk of a collision.
This is particularly important for the blind and low-vision community, whose members rely on sound to negotiate the road network independently.
While all submissions are welcome, feedback is being specifically sought on areas including:
- Support for the proposed introduction of AVAS for new light EVs
- The cost-benefit analysis, including the assumptions on the effectiveness of the technology
- Concerns on functional and performance requirements, test requirements, or implementation
- Applicable vehicle categories, implementation timeframes, and alternative standards
- The feasibility of mandating AVAS for heavy EVs in the future
A cost-benefit analysis for mandating AVAS in light EVs in Australia, supported by independent analysis by the Monash University Accident Research Centre and advice from manufacturers, indicates that when it comes to pedestrian trauma, 65 lives could be saved and 5,000 injuries avoided over a 35-year period.
The benefits could be far greater, with AVAS technology also having the potential to reduce the risk of crashes involving other road users, particularly cyclists.
Consultation on the AVAS Impact Analysis paper is open until Friday, 26 May 2023.
To view the paper or to make a submission, visit: www.infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say/acoustic-vehicle-alerting-systems-electric-vehicles.
Quotes attributable to Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Carol Brown:
“As the popularity of electric vehicles grows and we work towards becoming a cleaner, greener nation, the Australian Government is committed to ensuring they are safe for both the driver and all road users.
“While EVs have obvious environmental benefits, we know they can be difficult for vulnerable road users and cyclists to hear, increasing the danger of collisions, serious injuries and fatalities.
“That’s why we are asking the community to share their views on the potential for mandating this life-saving alerting technology in Australia.
“AVAS technology is already mandated in the European Union, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea and the United States – and looking at the possibility of making it compulsory on home soil is another step in our commitment to boost road safety.
“Those in the blind and low-vision community have long been advocating for alert systems like this to be introduced in Australia.
“I thank everyone who has made a submission so far, and encourage everyone to share their thoughts with us as we take action on this important issue.”