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Euro MP beeps the horn for road safety campaign backed by Uttlesford sight-loss charity

By Herts & Essex Observer  |  Posted: June 10, 2013

  • MEP Richard Howitt visited Support 4 Sight in Saffron Walden to back a road safety campaign highlighting the potential dangers of hybrid cars to blind and partially sighted people. Mr Howitt is pictured with, from left, Helena Gibbons , Paul Atkins, Ian a

  • MEP Richard Howitt visited Support 4 Sight in Saffron Walden to back a road safety campaign highlighting the potential dangers of hybrid cars to blind and partially sighted people. Mr Howitt is pictured with, from left, Helena Gibbons , Paul Atkins, Ian a

  • MEP Richard Howitt visited Support 4 Sight in Saffron Walden to back a road safety campaign highlighting the potential dangers of hybrid cars to blind and partially sighted people. Mr Howitt is pictured with, from left, Helena Gibbons , Paul Atkins, Ian a

  • MEP Richard Howitt visited Support 4 Sight in Saffron Walden to back a road safety campaign highlighting the potential dangers of hybrid cars to blind and partially sighted people. Mr Howitt is pictured with, from left, Helena Gibbons , Paul Atkins, Ian a

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EURO MP Richard Howitt made some noise for road safety when he joined campaigners in Uttlesford.

Mr Howitt popped into to meet volunteers at Support 4 Sight to raise awareness of a campaign to add sound to the new generation of electric and hybrid vehicles.

The Saffron Walden-based charity, who supports 4,000 partially sighted and blind people in Essex, has joined forces with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to promote its 'Safe and Sound' initiative and the potential dangers of 'silent vehicles' on vulnerable adults and children.

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 vrtually 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 are more likely to be hit by an electric car than a conventional one.

"This move to add sound will bring the European Union into line with the USA and Japan, where there are already laws in place to address the danger."

Support 4 Sight centre and volunteer manager Paul Atkins said: “We at Support 4 Sight would like to thank Richard Howitt MEP for showing such a keen interest in local charities, especially those that work with sensory deprivation. It is good to see a Member of European Parliament be so engaged with local voluntary organisations and what they do.”

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