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04/10/2008 04:09 AM ID: 69890 Permalink   

U. S. House Considering Bill to Make Hybrids Louder


Representatives Edolphus Towns (D) and Cliff Stearns (R) have introduced a bill to Congress which would require a 2-year study to determine whether hybrid automobiles should have sound making devices to warn blind people of their presence.

The National Federation of the Blind lobbied for the measure. They are not aware of instances in which blind individuals have been hit by hybrids they didn't hear, but according to president Marc Maurer, "It's only a matter of time."

Testing demonstrated that hybrid vehicles moving slowly could not be heard from as great a distance as conventional vehicles. If the bill is adopted, the first louder hybrids could be sold beginning 2012.

    WebReporter: H. W. Hutchins Show Calling Card    
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  First story  

This really upsets me. Well, closer to outrage. The perfect example of the special interest going against the public interest. Drivers ought to be responsible for their manouevers, not blind pedestrians.
  by: H. W. Hutchins   04/10/2008 04:12 AM     
  good first summary  
trading air pollution for noise pollution is stupid. rather than make hybrids louder, money would be better spent developing radar devices for the blind or just making everything else quieter.
  by: ManilaRyce     04/10/2008 04:18 AM     
  I'm with you guys  
This is definitely a case where more effort needs to be put into teaching people how to drive, and watch the road properly.

In fact, that could help with a lot of road-related injuries & incidents - not just hypothetical hybrid vs unfortunate blind person collisions.

I mean, seriously now, are they afraid that blind people are driving the hybrids in these instances?

The only real problem here though, is what happens when a blind person steps out into the street - and there isn't enough time to stop.

Here we have an issue, but presumably hybrids aren't *so* quiet that this is very likely?
  by: Restraint   04/10/2008 04:25 AM     
  No, it's a good idea  
Blind people might very well gauge whether they can cross a road by whether they hear any traffic coming. If hybrids are too quiet to hear, they might step right out in front of one of them. If you hit someone who stepped into the road in front of your car, you can't very well be called a poor driver.
  by: lĀ“anglais     04/10/2008 06:06 AM     
Yeah, that's the only angle I can find where it works out alright - really.

But, just how quiet are these damn cars?
And there must be a better solution than filling the air with noise.

Sure, there needs to be a way for people - the blind in particular - to know where the cars are, but modifying them so they make extra noise seems particularly inelegant, yes?
  by: Restraint   04/10/2008 06:10 AM     
Don't hybrids have horns?

What about bicycles? Do we make it a legal requirement to fit spokey dokes?
For those that grew up after the 80's...
  by: jendres     04/10/2008 06:27 AM     
So basically, jendres, you're saying that they should honk their horn all the time?

Oh and H. W. Hutchins I could care less about your personal interests in light of people getting hurt.

Do realize that these are peoples lives at risk, both driver and pedestrian?
  by: splicer   04/10/2008 08:43 AM     
  Just retarded.  
At purdue they installed this really loud beeping cross walk that beeps 24/7 for one blind student who lived in the dorms one street off the north of campus. The kid doesn't live in the dorm anymore(maybe isn't even a student anymore) but the beeping is still going despite the fact that no one uses it. The houses right next to it must suck to have to listen to it all day all year round. Doing something for one blind something is stupid. They can get dogs, or dare I say it, get a friend.
  by: insomniac   04/10/2008 08:54 AM     
it is interesting to note that nobody has been hurt because a hybrid is quiet. This is just a solution looking for a problem.

I am suggesting that a driver slows down and beeps if a person looks like they will cross in front of them.
  by: jendres     04/10/2008 09:17 AM     
  let's hear it for for bipartisan efforts.  
Looks like Representatives Towns and Stearns don't want to be re-elected.
  by: theironboard     04/10/2008 10:03 AM     
  My take  
Pedestrians should cross in cross walks when they are allowed to cross. Drivers should yield for pedestrians in crosswalks. If only these two ideas were laws then blind people wouldn't need anything special attached to a car. Oh yeah, they are already laws.
  by: qwerty017   04/10/2008 10:19 AM     
Quieter doesn't mean less safe. People, blind and able to see, have been getting hit by cars making noise for the past 80? years.
  by: qwerty017   04/10/2008 10:22 AM     
Wow. What a STUPID idea. I really just have nothing else to say.
  by: vant   04/10/2008 10:32 AM     
  Actually, it is a good idea  
I've got a Prius, and when I'm in a parking lot and driving slowly, the thing's damn
near silent. Several times I've had to drive very slowly behind some people walking in
front of me because they didn't know there was a car 2 feet behind them. The
problem with the horn there is that I don't want to blow it and scare the bajeezas out
of them. The best idea someone had was for me to turn the music up and roll down
my window, so a little noise making device (maybe of a motor) would accomplish the
same thing, probably a little better for blind people who don't necessarily know that
it's not some guy walking by with a boom box.
  by: Mister crank     04/10/2008 03:48 PM     
  If it were me  
I'd just hit the horn, I'm ignorant and people don't need to walk in the middle of the road.

In Toronto and a lot of Ontario built up cities I've been in, there are these odd things called SIDEWALKS, and at INTERSECTIONS the sidewalks have hand signals when the traffic light is green in the direction for the pedestrians.

**Before I get flamed because this was about blind people allow me to get to my point.

AT These intersections there is a SPECIFIC tone for each direction set (north/south and east/west) that is active during the walk signal and disactive at the time the signal flashes to hurry across or NOT cross the intersection. All stoplights are known to have a specific time limit from the time the tone stops to the time the light is red, and this is universal in Toronto, as in, every street light has the same time length.

But thats just a better and cheaper idea than making a vehicle louder.
  by: hl2k   04/10/2008 04:30 PM     
  Also interesting to note that  
these politicians are doing something that MAY improve the safety of a limited portion of the population. They are not, however, doing something that WILL improve the health of the majority of the population. eg. Setting exhaust emissions so stringently that polution spewing vehicles such the Hummer are banned.

What better serves society - something that MAY benefit a few, or soemthing that WILL benefit many?
  by: Zpravodajec     04/10/2008 07:26 PM     
  They should..  
..have the hybrid create a noise so high in pitch that we can't hear it. However, all blind people should carry a device which picks up this noise and lets them know when there's one nearby. :)
  by: agnaram   04/10/2008 08:23 PM     
I don't know if you were being sarcastic but that is actually a pretty good idea.
  by: qwerty017   04/11/2008 03:11 AM     
I stepped out in front of a hybrid bus the other day because I couldn't hear it.

I'm not even blind.
  by: jamesmc   04/11/2008 06:47 AM     
  This may have been done before  
What about having someone walk in front of the car waving a red flag?

  by: stretchman     04/11/2008 06:58 AM     
ROFL that is perfect. I can see it now.

I'm thinking my spokey dokes can be adjusted for hybrids.

Re the red flag. From wikipedia:
"In the late 19th Century, the introduction of the automobile resulted in opposition from special interest groups, including railroad corporations and stagecoach lines. These interests promoted legislation to regulate operation of motorized vehicles and prompted lawmakers to impose command and control policies under the guise of safety, with which to regulate behavior of, and impose nonpecuniary costs upon the motorists driving the new machines."

Special interest groups... Call me cynical, but they wouldn't be involved in this legislation at all would they?
  by: jendres     04/11/2008 08:14 AM     
  I agree with this  
I walk allot of places, and have to say that the lack of noise that these car put off scares the hell out of me. They can seriously sneak up on you.
  by: shoezacks   04/11/2008 11:26 AM     
Agnaram- Good idea. Why make everybody suffer when you can create something that helps them without hindering everyone else?

Shoezachs- Didn't your parents teach you to look both ways before crossing the street? :P
  by: redheadedwonder   04/11/2008 04:19 PM     
I saw a kid in our town that had spokeydokeys on his pushy, first time in cough cough twenty something years. Another idea that comes from my childhood(which is probably in the same mists of time as your own) is attaching a playing card to the deadly treadly so it gets flick by the spokes and makes a motorbike noise.

Stupidly I showed my kid how to do it once, now I know just how annoying it is!
  by: stretchman     04/11/2008 04:24 PM     
The facts are that people get hit by all cars, not that the quieter a car is, the more likely it will collide with pedestrians. The fact that you would degrade the quality of life of a society for this interest group's psuedo-scientific claims is offensive to me.

Maybe they ought to invest in a service animal (dog) before trusting traffic by ear.
  by: H. W. Hutchins   04/11/2008 07:20 PM     
  To all of you  
naysayers who don't have a clue what you are ranting about let me ask you one question. If you were blind would you be such idiots? I think not.
  by: JonSmith     04/11/2008 07:49 PM     
  Super Senses?  
Has anyone here stopped to think that proposing this for the blind is ridiculous? If anything the should be proposing this for the average person. Studies have already proven that when a person loses the ability of a sense, the other senses heighten themselves to compensate for the lost sense. So in fact, most blind people can hear BETTER than most people with sight.

"What better serves society - something that MAY benefit a few, or soemthing that WILL benefit many?"

Get out of here you commie! ;)

That is probably the most valid argument in this whole thread IMHO.
  by: Daev     04/11/2008 07:56 PM     
Silly me, I always thought I was supposed to avoid blind pedestrians while I was driving, I guess since my car is loud enough I should expect them to hear it coming.
  by: Kolman   04/11/2008 11:24 PM     
  This is stupid  
but there could be a compromise. I say that hybrids should only make noise if they are traveling at a certain speed, so when they are on the highway they don't make any noise. That way if all cars become hybrid then highways will be quieter and blind people will here them coming.

Other then that this is a stupid idea that should be looking for other ideas. Down with air-pollution!
  by: Vhan     04/12/2008 03:32 AM     
  Idiots and Morons  
This is just plain old STUPID! Do they have any ideas on what to do to the car so deaf people won't get hit by the car? This just confirms that idiots and morons are running the country.
  by: yorkydee   04/12/2008 05:33 AM     
And to think cities could have been quiet again after 100+ years. If you live in a big city you know how ridiculously loud traffic is. How about the blindies just don't go outside? There's nothing to see anyway.
  by: promontorium   04/13/2008 09:36 AM     
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