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Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to approve a measure that would require hybrids and plug-in vehicles to emit a sound to warn nearby pedestrians. After approving the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, a measure backed by Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Senate handed it over to the House of Representatives. The House responded with a vote of their own: 379 members approved of the act and only 30 voted to shoot it down.

The bill requires that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sets a standard for an alert sound that will allow pedestrians to "reasonably detect a nearby electric or hybrid vehicle" while operating at low speeds. Drivers won't be required to manually activate the sound, as the measure states that the system must be automatically controlled by the vehicle. The act gained traction after two major auto trade groups – the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers – and advocacy groups for the blind expressed support for the law's passage.

[Source: Detroit News]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 2 Months Ago
      I have started a petition on change.org to request that President Obama veto the Senate bill 841: Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010.
      I also sent a letter on Whitehouse.gov to the President as well.

      I respectfully request any and all support this as well, even if you are for it. The main issue is that this law is on track to be passed and it is not based on any evidence that it is needed at all. I do not support Congress passing laws that have no supporting facts.

      The law will require automotive manufacturers to include noise makers in motor vehicles driven by electric motors. This includes pure Battery Electric Vehicles, and hybrids that can run in EV only mode.
      You will NOT be able to disable the noisemaker. You will NOT be able to make any changes to the sounds the noisemaker makes. If you wish to by an EV or Hybrid, you will have a car GUARANTEED to be noisy.
      And there is no scientific evidence that adding this noisemaker will in any way affect the number of pedestrian collisions with EVs or Hybrids, mainly because there is no scientific evidence that these type of cars are any more dangerous to pedestrians than cars with internal combustion engines.

      The bill was passed unanimously in the Senate, and was voted on in the House WITHOUT DEBATE. According to govtrack.us: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-841 “The vote was held under a suspension of the rules to cut debate short and pass the bill, needing a two-thirds majority.”

      Nobody has even thought for a second about the detrimental effects of requiring cars to make noise, or the detrimental effects to sales of less polluting cars because they require noisemakers.

      Please join my appeal to President Obama to take a step back and prevent passing of a “Nanny” law that really only guarantees noisier streets, but does not guarantee pedestrian safety.
      My petition is here:
      http://www.change.org/petitions/view/vote_against_adding_noise_to_cars

      • 2 Months Ago
      congress: 13% approval rating.
      Q.E.D.
      • 2 Months Ago
      This kills me, I was hoping for this deafening noise to go away, and now this......pathetic.
      • 2 Months Ago
      I drive a hybrid vehicle. It already has a noisemaker installed which is easily activated by a push of my hand. It's called a HORN!

      This issue is really a non-issue. My mom's Park Avenue was not a hybrid, but it was so quiet, that she forgot to turn her car off before getting out and locking her car.
      • 2 Months Ago
      For a second I thought the picture shows the guy flipping those blind people off.

      With this article I say that would actually be appropriate.
      • 2 Months Ago
      WIRE CUTTERS
        • 2 Months Ago
        They'll probably make it a felony for you to tamper with it ... Welcome to AmeriKa.
      • 2 Months Ago
      Some people have dulled senses.
      You know, like the blind...
      Empathy. Try it some time.

        • 2 Months Ago
        You realize of course, that other senses become stronger in the absence of others. In this case, hearing gets stronger when sight is lost. And it's scientifically proven!

        Doing a little research. Try it some time.
      • 2 Months Ago
      Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

      congress
      • 2 Months Ago
      There is no common sense in foggybottom.
      The only noise ANY modern car makes is tires on pavement.
      And what is the ratio of blind pedestrians to sighted ones?
      Like most lobbyists, the motive is greed , not safety.
        • 2 Months Ago
        Which one do you bet, Big Oil or Insurance companies? Anybody with a half a brain can see that this is just anti-EV strike.

        Luckily US laws do not apply here so when I get my EV, if it has a artificial sound not already removed it's work for wire cutters.
      • 2 Months Ago
      Just when you thought LA rush-hour traffic could not get any worse, now you'll have a sea of odd noises instead of just background motor noise. I wonder if the car makers will institute a fixed white noise, or whether they'll allow personal care noises.
      • 2 Months Ago
      Oh good old do good-er Senator Karry. All these safety do gooders can be very proud they made the world a louder and supposedly safer place. Now if they just pull their heads out far enough to realize that a new Caddy is just as quiet and put the same shit on them we would be on a equal playing field. What a bunch of pieces of crap, our Congress hard at work solving problems that don't exist. Morons! Congratulations congress you did something totally stupid but you did something, that is a miracle.
      • 2 Months Ago
      I's funny how the more things change the more they stay the same. At the beginning of the railroads they had the same problem. People weren't used to listening for the sound of a steam engine approaching a road crossing. The Congress of the time took action and mandated that all railroad engines shall have bells to warn pedestrians of their approach. 170+ years later and we still have bells on or trains. This will end up the same way
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