Print 135 comment(s) - last by assemblage.. on Apr 28 at 10:27 AM

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: Blind ppl, are there enough to worry?
By matt0401 on 4/23/2009 3:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
In Canada we have brail on our paper money. And our one and two dollar coins are significantly larger and heavier than the other coins to tell them apart from them, and have different texture so you can tell them apart from each other.

By arbindc on 4/23/2009 5:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
Excellent solution to an annoying problem.

RE: Blind ppl, are there enough to worry?
By gmyx on 4/23/2009 7:33:45 PM , Rating: 2
Technically, it's not braille. It's just groups of raised dots based of braille, they don't actually say 20 or 10 or 5. 1 group of 6 = 5, 2 groups = 10, 3 groups = 20, 4 = 50. Oddly, the 100 has groups spaced wider apart.

I know the individual responsible for the dots. His goal was to make it so that even someone how does not know braille can still tell them apart by the simple groupings.

Did you know that less then 10% of the blind population can read braille? When learning braille, you need to sensitize your fingers to read it. Hence, groupings: You only need to count the groups and not what they mean needing less sensitivity.

Fro more information:

Of note as well, the Euro uses different sizes for this reason as well.

RE: Blind ppl, are there enough to worry?
By matt0401 on 4/23/2009 8:50:27 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, thanks for the correction. I meant to say a system similar to braille. I think it's a better idea than different sized bills. Braille-like dots are probably an easier-to-implement manufacturing technique than to make every bill a different size, and it's probably more difficult to tell what bill it is unless you can more than one to compare. Each bill being a different size is relative, so you would need to either really be familiar with all the bills or have another to compare.

What I really like is Australia's paper money. It isn't. :P They use a laminated polymer money. I remember watching an episode of How It's Made where they looked at polymer money, and I found it cool how you could basically go swimming and not have to worry about forgetting your money in your pocket, it'd still be completely fine when you got out. Why other countries don't have this I have no idea!

RE: Blind ppl, are there enough to worry?
By croc on 4/23/2009 10:17:34 PM , Rating: 2
I believe AUS is marketing their money process to several other nations at the moment. The KIWIs may license the tech soon, and the Thais have been very interested.

The variable size of the bills and coinage is trivial to cater for, and helps the blind not to get swindled when purchasing goods. But of course, no moral 'merican would take advantage of a blind person proferring a $50 dollar bill for a $5 dollar purchase, would they?

Most crosswalks in AUS and NZ are equipped with what I call 'clackers' that make noise when the 'walk' sign is on.Now if AUS could just get private companies to put in handicapped ramps...

By matt0401 on 4/23/2009 11:14:44 PM , Rating: 2
Haha, ironically here in Canada those ramps are required by law, even for private businesses. :P I think the governments need to collaborate a bit so everyone benefits!

By afkrotch on 4/24/2009 2:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
The size differences are huge, so it's pretty easy to tell. Easier than trying to feel little braille-like dots.

Anyways, all money you don't have to worry about going swimming with it in your pocket. It's just that polymer lasts longer. The US government is tested it, but I doubt it'll go though. Americans don't want plastic money.

Plastic is associated with cheap. Plastic money feels slippery. Plastic money cost more, but does last like 4 times as long.

I think I'd rather have coin money before I'd have plastic money. Thailand went plastic, only to return to paper.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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