Hybrid Cars May No Longer Run Silently in Maryland ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Hybrid Cars May No Longer Run Silently in Maryland

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hybrid Cars May No Longer Run Silently in Maryland

Maryland may mandate vehicles to make some noise in order to protect the safety of blind pedestrians. This would be a rule targeted on hybrid and electric vehicles, which can run silently when the gas engine is turned off. Blind pedestrians rely on the sound of the engine to be sure there is no car approaching.

"When compared to vehicles using traditional combustion engines, hybrid vehicles are virtually silent when accelerating and decelerating, making it impossible for blind individuals to detect their presence," the National Federation of the Blind said in a statement this week.

A bill was presented by Sen. Norman Stone (Dem) to create a task force which will recommend a minimum sound requirement for new vehicles sold and licensed in Maryland.

Both Toyota and Ford told Automotive News that the issue should be addressed by the industry as a whole, in other words, there should be just one solution.

Source: Md. lawmakers consider minimum vehicle sound levels - Automotive News

The image comes from flickr. It's my attempt at bringing a little levity to a very serious issue.

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Anonymous said...

This is such a stupid idea! How many Blind are in the population, and how many amongst the blind are actually affected by silent cars? Note that I'm against finding a solution for blinds, but why adding noise on a car when -at last- we could reduce the noise pollution of our cities?
Why can't they find a solution for the blinds, instead, like a infra-red captor (you know like the ones installed on cars to help you parking) that would tell blind people when *anything* come close to them? I'm thinking of a theremin like this one : http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/218 Virtuoso Pamelia Kurstin plays and discusses her theremin, the not-just-for-sci-fi electronic instrument that is played without being touched.

This would have the double advantage of the *blinds* making noise so other pedestrians can be careful when walking near them. And keep our streets silent!

Anonymous said...

The proposed law quite close resemble the famous XIX century "Locomotive Act" (also known as Red Flag Act). More than 150 years have past, but the idea remaings the same.

Unknown said...

That's such an interesting comparison. I had never heard of the red flag act, thank you for pointing it out.

I'm not sure I buy the similarity, but it's so interesting to see something like that.

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