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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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Discrimination!
By nafhan on 4/23/2009 1:08:29 PM , Rating: 2
I just realized that blind people probably have a difficult time playing tennis because the ball doesn't make much noise as it's flying across the court. Someone needs to pass a law to equip all tennis balls with buzzers so blind people can tell where they are and how fast they are going by the doppler shift...
Seriously, I'm all for helping the physically handicapped, but sometimes lawmakers can go a little overboard. I can just imagine future roads filled with noisy hybrid vehicles.




RE: Discrimination!
By arbindc on 4/23/2009 5:44:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure I believe that you are "all for helping the physically handicapped." The ability to play tennis is a convenience; the inability to know when to cross the street is a safety issue.

But someone should take your idea and run with it. I'm sure the visually impaired would have a lot of fun playing tennis if they could hear the ball whizzing around them! Sure it's a niche market, but it would help not just the visually impaired but anyone who wants to play tennis at night.


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