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December 20th, 2010
Ding-Ding-Ding! Electric Cars Likely To Be Made Noisier By Law
In one particularly hilarious scene in the TV show Weeds, Mary-Louise Parker’s soccer mom/drug dealer character inspires a scary drug lord to buy several Toyota Priuses after he successfully carries out a drive-by shooting while riding in hers. The selling point? The quietness of the hybrid. “Good for sneaking up on mother******s,” he cackles.
That might no longer be the case with a piece of legislation that recently passed the Senate and looks to be cleared for approval in the House. The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act would require electric cars and hybrids to make noise, and would fund the Department of Transportation to create a set of rules for automakers, who would be allowed some leeway in how they carry out the guidelines. Green cars like the Prius don’t make noise when running off their batteries. Whether you have an armed drug dealer as an enemy or (more likely) happen to cross the street without looking, hybrids are more likely to hit you than regular cars, especially when operating at low speeds when gas engines aren’t engaged, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All-electric vehicles like the 2011 Nissan Leaf could be even more of a threat. Of particular concern was the potential danger to blind pedestrians. But researchers and writers have also challenged that study, saying the methodology was flawed. Read More....