Print 52 comment(s) - last by monkeyman1140.. on May 28 at 4:15 PM

All-electric Tesla Roadster
One of the benefits of having an electric car is about to be erased

There are many good things about hybrids and electric vehicles. They save fuel costs for the drivers and produce less pollution. However, for some people hybrids and electric cars pose a big problem, particularly for the visually impaired.

A bill was proposed in April of 2009 in the Senate that would force automakers producing electric and hybrid vehicles to integrate a system that would produce sound when the vehicles are running on electric power alone. Many hybrids and electric vehicle running at low speeds produce no sound to alert a pedestrian that the vehicle is coming.

CNN reports that a study conducted last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that hybrid cars tend to hit pedestrians more often than other cars because the pedestrians can't hear the car approach, particularly in areas where the car can't be seen. Ahead of any legislation by Washington, carmakers have agreed with blind advocates to propose plans to Congress for minimum noise levels on hybrid and electric cars.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of International Automobile Manufactures, the National Federation for the Blind, and the American Council for the Blind have banded together to propose language to be included in the Motor Safety Act of 2010. This bill would create a number of new safety rules for automakers; some of these rules are to address issues like unintended acceleration.

While the exact details of the proposed sounds for hybrid and electric cars are unknown,
CNN reports that the sound would mimic the sound patterns of internal combustion engines at low speeds with rising intensity as the vehicle moves faster. This would allow blind pedestrians to determine if a vehicle was idle at a stop light or accelerating from a standstill. The NHTSA would be in charge of choosing the sound and setting the minimum level.

And for those looking to “pimp your ride”, you wouldn't be able to customize the sound coming from the vehicle.

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Dumb Queston(s)...
By maevinj on 5/24/2010 11:51:49 AM , Rating: 2
Why are blind people walking in the street? And if they are in the street, shouldn't they be accompanied by someone/something that can see and alert them?
Is this going to start a trend of everything silent needing to make a noise?
What about my ultra quiet pc that is on the floor? Will I be required at some point to have it make a sound so that a blind person won't trip over it??
Maybe we sould equip blind people with active sonar...

RE: Dumb Queston(s)...
By geddarkstorm on 5/24/2010 12:27:49 PM , Rating: 2
Um... blind people aren't a new phenomenon. And this isn't just for them, but pedestrians in general. We all rely on the sound of a car to help us stay aware.

RE: Dumb Queston(s)...
By fic2 on 5/24/2010 4:08:33 PM , Rating: 4
Non-blind pedestrians should have learned to look both ways when they were in 2nd grade like the rest of us did. That way they could see my bicycle coming at them. I guess next bicyclists will be required to put playing cards in their spokes to sound like a motorcycle.

RE: Dumb Queston(s)...
By JediJeb on 5/25/2010 12:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
Just use the playing cards in the wheels of the hybrids, that would be the cheap way to solve the problem.

RE: Dumb Queston(s)...
By chick0n on 5/24/2010 11:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
non-blind people should keep their eyes on the fucking roads, not on their iPhone/iPod/PSP/NDS/Chick's boobs.

This is why when ppl get hit, unless the driver ran thru a red light, I just dont pity them. I just think they fucking deserves it. oh, NYC got a lot of those assholes. they just love to walk without looking.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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