Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Quiet, Too Quiet

I went to dinner last night with someone driving a Prius and agree: these cars are dangerously quiet. It may be that at some point, we adjust and start watching more carefully for quiet cars--and bicyclists that zoom between lanes of cars and then wonder why they get hit--but right now, we're all trained to hear as well as see traffic. But mean time, they're too quiet. It would seem logical that an artificial noise could be added.

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) -- Electric and hybrid vehicles may be better for the environment, but the California Legislature says they're bad for the blind.

It has passed a bill to ensure that the vehicles make enough noise to be heard by visually impaired people about to cross a street.

The measure would establish a committee to study the issue and recommend ways the vehicles could make more noise.

The state Department of Motor Vehicles says more than 300,000 of the vehicles are on state roads. Officials say they don't keep statistics on pedestrian accidents involving those vehicles.

The bill has been sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has not taken a position.

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