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Bill is sponsored by Senators John Kerry and Arlen Specter

One of the big forms of pollution in major cities that won't harm the environment is noise pollution. All of the vehicles on the road produce a significant amount of noise. The noise that cars produce often allows pedestrians to hear when a car is close to them and helps them to avoid accidents.

The problem according to some Senators is that many of the new electric and hybrid vehicles produce little or no noise making them hazardous to the blind and visually impaired pedestrian. To remedy this issue, Senators John Kerry and Arlen Specter have introduced a bipartisan bill (S.841) that intends to protect the blind and visually impaired form the dangers created by these near-silent vehicles. The bill is called the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. If adopted, the bill will require the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study on how to protect the visually impaired form being injured or killed by hybrid, electric and other silent engine vehicles.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind said in a statement, "The National Federation of the Blind appreciates the wise and decisive action taken today by Senators Kerry and Specter to preserve the right to safe and independent travel for the blind. The blind, like all pedestrians, must be able to travel to work, to school, to church, and to other places in our communities without being injured or killed. This bill will benefit all pedestrians for generations to come as new vehicle technologies become more prevalent. The blind of America will do everything in our power to ensure its swift passage."

To most people, one of the big benefits of hybrid and electric vehicles is that they product little noise. One possible way that the bill could affect hybrid cars is by forcing manufacturers to use a system that produces artificial noise. Lotus has already developed a system that uses speakers under a vehicle to produce sound to alert pedestrians of the cars location.

Senator John Kerry said, "I'm a major proponent of hybrid vehicles -- I own one, I drive one, and I've seen firsthand their environmental and economic benefit. The market is demanding new technologies in the auto industry, and Americans are demanding we finally kick our foreign oil addiction. As we continue to promote our energy independence, however, we must do more to ensure the safety of those who use senses other than sight to navigate the roads. I look forward to working with Secretary LaHood to ensure that hybrid vehicles are safe for everyone."

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Lack of Noise
By InfantryRocks on 4/23/2009 12:09:33 PM , Rating: 5
Wasn't the lack of noise made by electric motors supposed to be one of the benefits to leaving behind the ghastly internal combustion engine?

Save the planet--run over blind people!

RE: Lack of Noise
By StevoLincolnite on 4/23/2009 12:14:24 PM , Rating: 3
They could always install an external sound system to Electrics so instead of the "Eeeeeeeeeeeee" sound that they make you get a "Vroooooooooom!" - Just like real cars! And sounds cooler to boot. :)

RE: Lack of Noise
By Mr Perfect on 4/23/2009 1:00:30 PM , Rating: 3
What was that one internet video where it was some guy just making fake car noises? It was a year or two back. He was just saying things like "Bring dingdingding Bwaaaaa! Bwaaaaa! Weeee!". People had it as ring tones and such. Might as well have some fun with this. Use that.

RE: Lack of Noise
By Spivonious on 4/23/2009 1:08:54 PM , Rating: 3
and then they made it into that accursed Crazy Frog song.

RE: Lack of Noise
By Souka on 4/23/2009 1:33:26 PM , Rating: 2
In cities, just cut grooves into the pavement like they did in the honda comerical...

That way, all cars are treated equally... no car-siscm...

RE: Lack of Noise
By austinag on 4/24/2009 1:15:26 PM , Rating: 2
Take a lesson form New York drivers; honk the damn horn. Problem solved.

RE: Lack of Noise
By dever on 4/25/2009 1:35:25 PM , Rating: 4
And for those who are both blind and deaf, they'll require the vehicles create foul-smelling emissions of burnt whale blubber & sulfur pumped toward pedestrians.

For those who can't see, hear or smell, vehicles will be required to drag a giant ball and chain that can shake the sidewalks.

Thanks for looking out for me. We love you Washington DC. Hugs & Kisses. My congressman is so smart... and dreamy.

RE: Lack of Noise
By Mr Perfect on 4/23/2009 1:49:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, that's the one. Any idea what it's called(the origonal clip, not the song)?

RE: Lack of Noise
By Iger on 4/24/2009 4:49:46 AM , Rating: 2
Saw it on youtube just yesterday accidentally. It's still Crazy Frog :)

RE: Lack of Noise
By crimson117 on 4/24/2009 11:57:00 AM , Rating: 2
I first heard it delivered as a powerpoint presentation; someone has it posted here:


RE: Lack of Noise
By TomZ on 4/23/2009 12:22:52 PM , Rating: 4
I kind of wonder about the need for this. I'm not blind, but if I was, I don't think I would cross a road regardless of whether I could hear any cars or not.

Also, a blind person could be seriously injured by a biker, so you would think that if silent cars need some kind of safety mechanism, then bikes would, too.

Of course, all this assumes the driver of the car or bike is not paying attention at all.

RE: Lack of Noise
By MrBungle123 on 4/23/2009 12:30:23 PM , Rating: 5
Hooray nanny state!

RE: Lack of Noise
By GaryJohnson on 4/23/2009 1:21:20 PM , Rating: 2
a blind person could be seriously injured by a biker

Or joggers for that matter.

RE: Lack of Noise
By MrPeabody on 4/23/2009 1:31:34 PM , Rating: 5
Or bears.

RE: Lack of Noise
By bodar on 4/23/2009 2:46:41 PM , Rating: 3
Patch notes: "Blind people crossing the street should aggro every bears."

RE: Lack of Noise
By mondo1234 on 4/23/2009 1:31:43 PM , Rating: 2
"Officer, I only play my rap music that loud is so the blind can here me from 2 blocks away. Its a safety issue.."

Maybe this is why the vehicles on the Jetsons all make that purring sound (:P)

RE: Lack of Noise
By mondo1234 on 4/23/2009 1:35:14 PM , Rating: 5
There are two more parts to the bill:

1. All bicycle riders will put a playing card in their spokes

2. It also mandates the spraying of water out of your vehicle for the deaf and blind.

RE: Lack of Noise
By bespoke on 4/23/2009 3:03:50 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget non-horseless carriages - if the horse was traveling on soft ground, it might be nearly silent. We'll need some sort of audible alert system for horses, too!

RE: Lack of Noise
By Spuke on 4/23/2009 12:38:39 PM , Rating: 5
Most noise coming from cars nowadays is tire noise. And hybrids and electrics still make that noise.

RE: Lack of Noise
By stromgald30 on 4/23/09, Rating: -1
RE: Lack of Noise
By Spivonious on 4/23/2009 1:09:35 PM , Rating: 5
If the car is already stopped, then the blind person has no problem.

RE: Lack of Noise
By Spuke on 4/23/2009 1:28:03 PM , Rating: 2
If the car is already stopped, then the blind person has no problem.

RE: Lack of Noise
By stromgald30 on 4/23/2009 4:57:09 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, I guess I should've been more clear. When it is idling or going at a very slow speed. Priuses cut off their gas engines at like 5 mph. Of course there's some pavement noise, but not much.

If someone was say, backing out of parking space, or coasting up to a stop sign in a residential neighborhood, a blind person could walk in the path of the car or walk into the car itself. You could say it's always the job of the driver to be aware, but that doesn't always happen.

Just last week, I was walking with co-workers to a restaurant for lunch and the guy in front almost got ran over by somebody backing out of a driveway. Mostly because he hadn't reached the street, wasn't considering pedestrians on the sidewalk, and was talking to the passenger in the car.

RE: Lack of Noise
By Jimbo1234 on 4/23/2009 7:40:54 PM , Rating: 3
At 5 MPH most engines are idling. Those are already so quiet that it doesn't make any difference if it's electric or gasoline powered.

This gives new meaning to "Loud pipes save lives."

RE: Lack of Noise
By FITCamaro on 4/23/09, Rating: -1
RE: Lack of Noise
By afkrotch on 4/23/2009 1:46:00 PM , Rating: 1
lol. Guess someone had to point out the obvious.

RE: Lack of Noise
By FITCamaro on 4/23/2009 2:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'm waiting for him to argue that the blind suffer from "deer in the headlights" syndrome.

RE: Lack of Noise
By monomer on 4/23/2009 3:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, a blind person could seriously stub their toes, or break a cane by walking into an idling vehicle. And don't forget about all those massively harmful magnetic rays that will give them cancer from standing too near a running electric car for extended periods without even knowing it.

RE: Lack of Noise
By slashbinslashbash on 4/23/2009 12:40:15 PM , Rating: 3
Meanwhile, Sens. Kerry and Specter are standing at the back of the news conference shaking their heads and mouthing silently "We're just kidding guys, there's no way we will pass this bill, just play along!"

RE: Lack of Noise
By AntiM on 4/23/2009 12:41:06 PM , Rating: 3
It's just a bill. It probably won't pass. Politicians have a way of introducing these types of bills to make themselves look good. Whether it passes or not, they can say they tried.

RE: Lack of Noise
By aegisofrime on 4/23/2009 12:45:25 PM , Rating: 5
How about instead of making cars noisier so that blind people can hear them (still doesn't completely prevent accidents, nor does it help the DEAF and blind), fund more research to cure and prevent blindness? Stem Cells anyone???

RE: Lack of Noise
By MrPeabody on 4/23/2009 1:34:48 PM , Rating: 5
Are there that many deaf and blind people regularly crossing the streets?

And here I thought they spent most of their time driving in front of me on my morning commute.

RE: Lack of Noise
By cpeter38 on 4/23/2009 6:39:43 PM , Rating: 2
Since I can't rate you up more

RE: Lack of Noise
By pugster on 4/23/2009 4:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
These car companies spends millions on R&D to make cars quieter. Now Toyota did it and now the government wants to do the opposite. What irony.

RE: Lack of Noise
By Jimbo1234 on 4/23/2009 7:42:21 PM , Rating: 2
No one ever accused the government of thinking, and they've never been guilty of it.

RE: Lack of Noise
By Motoman on 4/25/2009 5:29:24 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. Democracy is a process by which the people are given no better a government than they deserve.

RE: Lack of Noise
By Sazar on 4/23/2009 5:18:07 PM , Rating: 2
I have a great way of not killing blind pedestrians crossing the street.

The drivers should use their EYES and USE THE BLOODY BRAKES.

Blind people crossing roads are far more responsible than the sighted as they wait for audible cues or seeing-eye dogs to cross. If a guy in a car wants to commit man-slaughter (person-slaughter since we're being so PC?) that's their perogative but last I heard, Hybrid's have BRAKES.

If the driver is not skilled enough to drive a vehicle and give way to a pedestrian in a right-of-way situation or follow signs to stop at crossings, there is nothing any new laws will change.

RE: Lack of Noise
By SilthDraeth on 4/23/2009 7:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
Actually a lot of the new cars, I can't even hear them running anyways, with exception of large trucks, etc. What I hear the most is tire noise on the road.

For instance, my 93 Toyota Corolla, and my 2005 make almost no noise when idleing and driving. Wind Noise, and Tire Noise is the most significant noise they make. Unless accelerating.

RE: Lack of Noise
By BailoutBenny on 4/23/2009 8:05:57 PM , Rating: 2
At which point your corolla yells WHOOOOPEEEEE! as it speeds off.

RE: Lack of Noise
By callmeroy on 4/24/2009 9:03:17 AM , Rating: 1
pfft...."ghastly internal combustion engine"......

Unless you are one of those neo-hippy tree hugging sons of bitches who buy into the global warming is caused by and can be stopped by US type of folks......

As far as vehicles go --- nothing sounds better than a well tuned ICE!!!!!

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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