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Senate approves Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, ensures a future for noise pollution

Tim Stevens

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If you've been lucky enough to occupy the driver's seat of a hybrid or electric vehicle you've surely enjoyed the bliss that comes from smoothly and silently pulling away from a stoplight. You've also, surely, run over at least a couple of pedestrians while doing it. (We hit at least eight of the poor souls during our latest Volt test drive.) Sadly, here comes John Kerry and the rest of the US Senate to ruin our Carmageddon-esque fun. The Senate has unanimously approved the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, which requires:
...minimum level of sound emitted from a motor vehicle that is necessary to provide blind and other pedestrians with the information needed to reasonably detect a nearby electric or hybrid vehicle operating at or below the cross-over speed
How much sound? Well, they haven't figured that out yet, nor have they figured out up to what speed it must be required, nor what sort of noise is required, but by golly there will be noise. Those answers will in theory be found through the course of a study that will take no more than 48 months to complete, leaving us wonder if current noisemaker options on the Volt, Leaf, and Prius will meet the need. Regardless, if you want a quiet car you'd better start your financing.

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