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House follows Senate; passes noise bill for EVs, hybrids

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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