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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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good idea
By invidious on 4/23/2009 12:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
This isnt just about blind people, its also about letting otherwise cautious pedestrians be aware of bad/distracted drivers. Some idiot in a hybrid SUV almost backed up into me as I was walking in a parking lot the other day, I had no idea his car was even on.

If your outside in the city the ambient noise complete drowns out the wimpy gas engines these things use. What if your on a bicycle and one of these is coming up behind you, you would have no idea until it passed or hit you.

RE: good idea
By TomZ on 4/23/2009 12:46:20 PM , Rating: 2
What if your on a bicycle and one of these is coming up behind you, you would have no idea until it passed or hit you.
If you're concerned about safety while riding a bike, you would be using a mirror on your bike anyway. Hearing is not an adequate cue for safety on a bike, IMO.

RE: good idea
By FITCamaro on 4/23/2009 1:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe you should try looking at his tail lights?

And if you're on a bike perhaps you should practice good safety and look over your shoulder before you move into the street.

RE: good idea
By afkrotch on 4/23/2009 2:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently cautious pedestrian means "I wasn't paying any attention to the other cues that vehicles put off when reversing."

What annoys me is noise. Nothing more annoying than a car with a backup noise. Some Euro countries require it and so my car has the stupid "beep beep beep" noise when I reverse. Like my squealing tires, large smoke cloud, or burning rubber smell isn't enough.

RE: good idea
By Jimbo1234 on 4/23/2009 7:51:42 PM , Rating: 2
Haha, what's even more annoying is the Prius that has the noise only inside the car! As if the driver didn't know they were backing up.

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