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You're probably familiar with the recent problems with quiet and silent vehicles and people with less-than-perfect sight. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has been on the case for a while, but there is one angle of their advocacy I didn't know about until Harper's printed the lyrics. The lyrics to what, you might ask? Well, the lyrics to a reworked version of the 1943 song Surry With the Fringe on Top (from Oklahoma!) and used by the NFB's Committee on Automobile and Pedestrian Safety. Mary Ellen Gabias wrote new lyrics to the song that go:
Kids and dogs won't know when to scurry.
Silent death arrives in a hurry.
All who walk have reason to worry 'Bout the hybrid car.
We all want to stop the polluting, Save a lot of gas while commuting.
If they made sound there'd be no disputing With the hybrid car.
Saving the planet we all hold dear, Nobody wants to destroy it.
Please make cars pedestrians can hear 'Cause we want to be 'round to enjoy it.
We don't need a noisy vrum-vrumming, Just a simple audible humming,
So that we can know when you're coming In a hybrid car.
Then we all can walk with safety on the street Without fear that we will accident'lly meet
A hybrid car.

Gabias told AutoblogGreen she hoped the song "would make people think about the issue, especially pedestrians who are not blind and may not have considered how they would be affected by nearly silent automobiles." Many thanks to Gabias for permission to post this song. You can download it yourself here and listen by pushing play, below:



This version is sung by Tom Bickford with piano by Chris Danielsen.

[Source: National Federation of the Blind via Harper's, thanks to Ann]




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Okay -- the song did make me think about the problem.

      I've thought about it and thought about it and I've decided blind people should stay off of the roads. Incidently -- I wish they would stop making so much noise over the lack of noise. My hybrid is just as load in motion as a normal car.

      And while we're at it, what about the deaf? Should we install flashing strobes?
      • 7 Years Ago
      You can't hear the motor on an ICE car either. It's the tire noise. They are dicriminating against EVs. That's okay, I've resigned myself to a mad max future. I hope the blind can afford $20 per gallon and have uber-prowess with a siphon hose.
      • 7 Years Ago
      can ANYONE produce one documented case of this actually happening?
      • 7 Years Ago
      there is such thing as noise polution. are they suggesting that the noisier the better? there is enough noise in NY, LA and other big cities already. cut the crap - install electronic devices emitting signals up to the distance of 300-500 ft in all the electric cars and give receivers to the blind so it would buzz when the car gets close to them. it would have the same effect as the noise of the car, except the car would not produce any noise.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This song reminds me of the old joke about the Aggie faith-healer.

      He made the blind lame.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Seriously? This isn't a Simpsons episode, right?
      • 7 Years Ago
      "What about those that live next to busy main roads or motorways? "

      That'd be me. I hear tire noise. It's especially bad during/after a rain. The exception would be motorcycles and some trucks. There needs to be more noise restrictions on motorcycles.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hey based on the way sighted morons walk out in front of cars in our parking garage like it is some god given right to walk in front of all traffic, maybe ALL cars and truck should have these. No wait, they do... they're called horns.

      But seriously, let's take a step back for a second and think about the Prius or other vehicle that can run on electricity only. At 5 MPH or so, how much tire noise is there really at those slower speeds? Like at the speed when you're going while looking to the left for traffic at that red light before you pull out into the intersection, but forget to look right for a pedestrian with the stepping into the crosswalk?
      • 7 Years Ago
      up until now, I just THOUGHT I,d heard everything
      • 7 Years Ago
      OK, so can we also add smell to all Hybrid cars to accommodate those are blind and deaf?
      • 7 Years Ago
      seriously, you guys have posted on this idiotic topic numerous times before. Next time, show us some stats on decibel levels from a prius coasting by compared to that of a regular old ICE coasting by. Surely the numbers will be so close that you'll decide to stop putting these posts here in the first place...
      • 7 Years Ago
      My vote goes for the sounds that the cars made on the JETSONS!!!!!!!!! who's with me?

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