As automobiles become more eco-friendly, they're also becoming increasingly quieter... which is a good thing, if, like us, you want to live in a completely silent world (the blaring of Mastodon notwithstanding). The obvious problem with quieter vehicles is, of course that they can pose a real danger to unsuspecting pedestrians. To combat this terrifying prospect, Senators John Kerry (D, MA) and Arlen Spector (R, er... D, PA) have introduced The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. This bill requires the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study on what effects of hybrid, electric and other silent engine vehicles are having on pedestrian injuries and deaths in the US. The bill specifically focuses on the perils of quiet engines to blind pedestrians, but notes that the dangers are likely wider spread than that. While there are no possible solutions mentioned, may we suggest writing into law that you have to have a bullhorn strapped to your car and yell "vroom vroom" the entire time you drive?

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Pedestrian Safety Act of 2009 to investigate the dangers of silent automobile engines