europarliamentThe European Parliament, citing health concerns, has drafted legislation to limit new cars' noise later this decade.

The parliament also recommended adding sound to hybrid and electric vehicles to alert pedestrians.

According to research by the European Environment Agency traffic exposes half of the EU's urban population to noise levels above 55 decibels (db).

The parliament adopted the draft legislation with 401 votes in favor, 228 against and 20 abstentions. Once the law is adopted, the new rules will start taking effect six years later.

The draft legislation limits noise for mid-sized vehicles to 68 db from 74 db currently. More powerful vehicles would be allowed a margin of 2 to 6 extra decibels.

The parliament expressed concern that electric and hybrid car engines, which are effectively silent, can pose a threat to pedestrians. Hence, the parliament is asking for a compulsory requirement to add sound to these vehicles.

Draft legislation says a number of standards must first be developed for such "Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS)".