A committee of experts from SAE International (formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers) is recommending that hybrid and electric vehicles have inch-high letters or badges on both sides and the rear of the vehicle so that they can be easily seen by first responders from as far away as 50 feet. The committee added that distinctive lettering on the dashboard that was easily seen through the windows would also do the trick. In addition, distinctive badges, such as Toyota's "Hybrid Synergy Drive" label on the backs of several models, would suffice.
While some in the industry have called such fears as unfounded due to other safety features and the bright orange coloring usually used for high-voltage lines, the committee believes the safeguard of printed warnings are important for the safety of rescuers.
Automakers aren't legally bound by the SAE Hybrid Technical Committee's recommendations. However, they fully participated in the committee's process for formulating the recommendations and they have historically followed its findings.