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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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RE: Look out!
By afkrotch on 4/23/2009 1:56:24 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is it's impossible to accommodate everyone everywhere. What happens in areas with no sidewalk? Areas where the sidewalk is at the same level as the road? A sidewalk made out of bricks, so a lot of the bricks pop up and create bumps?

For this case, everything should fall on the drivers. I've never heard of blind ppl running wildly into the road

I'm more inclined to put some kind of audible device on the blind person, then each car has some kind of transmitter to cause the device to beep when coming closer to the device. The closer the car comes, the more frequent and faster the beeps occur. You can even make the device rumble for the deaf.

At least then the only noise around would be coming blind ppl's devices. Instead of causing noise pollution everywhere else the blind ppl aren't.

RE: Look out!
By gmyx on 4/23/2009 2:04:17 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, especially since they already have speaking GPS products on the market that work very well.

RE: Look out!
By monomer on 4/23/2009 3:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
All blind people should be required to wear four-way flashers at all times while traveling outdoors.

RE: Look out!
By Parhel on 4/23/2009 5:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
You can even make the device rumble for the deaf.

You'd have to run that by Immersion Corporation first. Before them, the world was without rumbling, and nothing can rumble without their permission.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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