Seems like a good idea and one that can benefit EV and hybrid drivers as well. I know my dad has a Prius and he's recounted a story or two about he or my mom leaving the car running overnight because it's so quiet, they're distracted by something and forget to turn it off.
I agree, Jennifer. Not only that, we now have a technology that can do something about noisy traffic, but they want MORE noise. Even worse, since the noise is being artificially generated, how long is it going to be until you will be downloading "car-tones" along with your ring tones and every other car going down the street will be playing music both inside and out.
I think a large part of safety is in the hands of the driver, but it should not soley rest upon them. Yes, the driver is behind the wheel and controlling a vehicle, but the pedestrian should be aware of what is going on around them. If adding noise to the EV will increase safety and reduce injury I think it is something that should be followed up on.
A big part of the debate here is that NHTSA is most concerned with blind pedestrians. Electric cars are creepily quiet and blind pedestrians have virtually no way of knowing the vehicles are approaching. At the same time, drivers don't always have a chance to look and see if a pedstrian is blind, nor do they always have sufficient reaction time if a pedestrian unknowingly steps in front of their vehicle.
I agree with Jenn. The burden is on the driver to be careful. The last thing we need is a weird new barrage of noise. Isn’t the purpose of the alert sound on walk signals to allow visually disabled individuals to cross? What about bikes approaching intersections – will they also be required to emit sounds? What about people who are walking but are oblivious because they are texting or talking on their cell phones?
I get hives when the government goes nanny on us. GM may have the best solution with its driver-controlled soft noise. Yet, many drivers don't bother to use their turn signals, so why would we expect them to give a pedestrian warning. Ugh. I just can't see deliberately increasing noise pollution.
Charles, thanks for making this important point. Obviously drivers have a responsibility to drive safely, but it is unreasonable to expect drivers to be able to determine whether a pedestrian is blind. I'm not sure that adding a noise is the best thing, but it makes sense to investigate how best to protect blind people. This is a good example of the unintended consequences of new technologies. It may be preferable to deal with this issue through administrative rulemaking than to leave it up to the chaotic world of class-action suits (which is what will happen if enough blind people are hit by hybrids).
Dave, the driver doesn't need to know if a pedestrian is blind or sighted. All they need to know is that it's a person, and you need to be careful wen approaching an intersection. Maybe I'm missing something in this thread.
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