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When an eight-year-old boy on a bicycle gets hit by a car while riding in the middle of the street, the blame often points directly at the youth. However, if the car in question just happens to be a quiet hybrid-electric... there just may be reason to accuse the vehicle.

Last weekend, a youthful Owen Erickson was riding his two-wheeler with a friend when he was struck by a Toyota Prius and tossed onto the hood of the popular hybrid. Thankfully, he was unhurt. His mother, however, was quick to place some of the blame on the "totally silent" Prius, claiming her son never heard it coming. As a scapegoat, the hybrid-electric vehicle is taking more than its fair share of heat. Two years ago, we blogged about the silent danger of hybrids. Earlier this year, Maryland launched a study, and passed legislation aimed at vehicle noise levels (more specifically, the "lack of" audible decibels), citing a legitimate concern for the blind. Just last month, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives to study whether or not a "minimum sound level" needs to be established for these highly-efficient silent runners.

We obviously haven't "heard" the end of this hybrid-electric argument as it begins to gain momentum around the country. Whether future Prius models are equipped with blaring sirens or not, we do know that Moms will still need to teach their children to not play in the middle of the street. Thanks for the tip, Tyler!

Related GalleryReview: 2007 Toyota Prius Touring

[Source: KARE 11]