US lawmakers to de-silence electric cars
Or make them smelly
A bill that will require electric and hybrid cars to make enough noise so that blind folks can hear them coming has been introduced in the US Senate.
The bill, S. 841 - more pedestrian-ly known as the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 - doesn't specifically mention adding noise to otherwise silent vehicles. It merely instructs the US Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study to devise and require a "non-visual alert regarding the location, motion, speed, and direction of travel of a motor vehicle."
Sounds like noise to us, though. After all, what else would work? Smell?
Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, endorsed the bill, saying in a statement that "The blind, like all pedestrians, must be able to travel to work, to school, to church, and to other places in our communities without being injured or killed."
Sounds fair. Not being injured or killed is a reasonable request.
Should S. 841 and its nearly identical counterpart in the US House of Representatives, H.R. 734, make it into law, don't expect noisy 'leccies to be roaring up your roadway anytime soon. Both bills allow for two years for the "non-visual alert" study and another two for car manufacturers to implement the standard.
Add in the bill's alloted six months for various administrative-overhead items, and it will be, at minimum, not until 2014 until your new Tesla Roadster will be equipped to not injure or kill the blind. ®
Why 2 fucking years????
What really gets up my nose are these stupid fucking committee types and take for ever and fuck around add infinitum... just to do a simple thing.
What? You mean these stupid individuals cannot screw a little 50mm high brass bell onto the front of the vehicle - with a wind chime style driven donger - or something as equally simple?
I mean electric vehicles are great.... but add a little bit of back ground noise - like other vehicles, birds, a breeze etc., and you cannot hear them coming.
It's a fair call to a stupid committee.
Brabus have already released a "tuned" version of the Tesla complete with V8 soundtrack:
I tried this today
I spent a couple of hours in the city and suburbs as a pedestrian today, so I tried this at every intersection and every crossing (i.e. closing my eyes and trying to judge location and movement of traffic from sound alone). Impossible! There is no way a person can judge the traffic - there's far too much noise in the city and even suburban areas, e.g. the local shops. This would only work for one or two vehicles ... on a quiet stretch of road ... exactly where blind people aren't!
In other words, it's a stupid idea.