Electric vehicles dangerous for the blind?


It's a topic that's been recycled so many times; that hybrid and electric vehicles are silent, which may mean that people step out in front of them without seeing them. Some say that it's a danger; others say that people will simply learn to be more vigilant. However, if you can't see, then you can't check to see if something's coming. Some people have to rely on noise to hear traffic approaching.

Because hybrids run on electric power when moving slowly through cities - precisely when people are most in danger from being run over - they are very difficult to hear. While the U.S. National Federation of the Blind are fully behind green transportation, they do believe that there should be limits on how quiet a car is allowed to be.

The federation performed some tests to see just how difficult it was for blind people to detect the cars. "We did a test, and I discovered, to my great dismay, that I couldn't hear it," said Deborah Kent Stein, chairwoman of the U.S. National Federation of the Blind's Committee on Automotive and Pedestrian Safety.

Personally I think that there has to be a more elegant and efficient solution than having all hybrids made artificially noisy. After all, noise is pollution too. There must be some technological solution to allow the blind to detect quiet vehicles, and if engineers were inventive and talented enough to develop hybrid cars, then I'm sure that they can find one. ::International Herald Tribune ::Picture Source