>Quiet Car Legislation

>A little while ago, I talked about hybrid cars and their dangers. Now, there’s apparently a bill going through the house of representatives that if passed, would legislate that all hybrid cars make a minimal amount of noise. Apparently sighted joggers, bikers, etc. are getting ker smucked by them too because they expect to hear noise from a car coming up behind them, don’t, and crash! Here is the text I was sent. It was sent by a representative of the NFB. I know I can’t do anything, but any American readers can feel free to urge their representative to cosponsor this bill if they are so inclined.

Fellow federationists:

I wanted to let you know the latest on our Quiet Cars legislation, HR 5734. We currently have thirty Members of the House of Representatives listed as cosponsors, and Congressmen Towns and Stearns have sent a letter to Congressman John Dingell, Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, asking for hearings on this bill.

We must increase our cosponsor support on this legislation to show Chairman Dingell that this issue is important to members of the House. The Members of Congress will be leaving for the Memorial Day recess on Friday May 23rd. I would like us to have fifty cosponsors before the recess starts, so I am urging you to call your member of Congress and ask him or her to join as a cosponsor of HR 5734. You can be connected to your member of Congress by calling the capitol switchboard at (202) 225-3121.

I have included a news article and a link below, which shows exactly why this legislation is needed. Thankfully there were no serious injuries in this case. I have also included a list of the thirty cosponsors on the bill. Thank you all in advance for your work on this important matter.

Please contact me with any questions you may have.

Sincerely,
Jesse M. Hartle
Government Programs Specialist
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
Telephone: (410) 659-9314, extension 2233
E-mail: jhartle@nfb.org
JMH/wmb

Link to news story below
– Where you will also find a video.

Boy hit by hybrid car; mom says he didn’t hear it coming

It was something that had never occurred to Jane Flannigan, until she got the call Sunday that her eight-year-old son had been hit by a car while biking with a friend.

Owen Erickson was not badly hurt, though he did end up on the hood of the car. But when the car’s driver moved his Toyota Prius from the street to the curb, Flannigan noticed something. “I saw the car, but I could not hear anything,” she recalled about the hybrid vehicle which was operating on battery power at the time. “It is totally silent.”

That’s when it dawned on Flannigan, Owen never heard the Prius before he cut in front of it. “Bikers, runners, anybody out on the street, I think it’s a huge safety issue,” she said.

She’s not the only one. Last month legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that could eventually require hybrids to emit a minimum amount of noise.

It’s a priority piece of legislation for the National Federation of the Blind, which believes Hybrids pose a real threat to those who rely on noise from cars to keep themselves safe.

“These quiet cars that are very difficult to hear in the normal flow of everyday outdoor activity play a safety hazard,” says Jennifer Dunnam, president of the NFB’s Minnesota affiliate. “Blind people depend on their hearing to know what the traffic is doing.”

Toyota has not taken a position on the legislation, but is aware of the concerns behind it. “We do have to step back and take a look,” said John Hanson, Toyota’s national manager of environmental, safety and quality communications. The Prius ranks third among Toyota models in sales, behind Camry and Corolla, according to Hanson.

Flannigan doesn’t blame the driver of the Prius for running into her son, since Owen biked out in front of his car but she does cut her son some slack. “We’re conditioned to hear car noises,” she says. “This is a big safety issue.”

****
Cosponsors of HR 5734:
AK Congressman Young-R
AR Congressman Boozman-R
AZ Congressman Grijalva-D
CA Congressman Filner-D, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez-D
FL Congresswoman Brown-D, Congressman Stearns-R Original Sponsor), Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz-D
GA Congressman Bishop-D, Congressman Lewis-D
GU Congresswoman Bordallo-D
IL Congresswoman Schakowsky-D
MA Congressman McGovern-D
MD Congressman Wynn-D
MN Congressman Ellison-D, Congresswoman McCollum-D, Congressman Walz-D
MS Congressman Taylor-D
NC Congressman Butterfield-D, Congressman Price-D
NM Congressman Pearce-R
NY Congresswoman Maloney-D, Congressman Rangel-D, Congressman Towns-D (Lead Sponsor)
OR Congressman Blumenauer-D
PA Congressman Robert Brady-D
PR Congressman Fortuno-R
VA Congressman Goode-R
VT Congressman Welch-D
WA Congressman McDermott-D
WY Congresswoman Cubin-R

So there you go. If you don’t see your representative on there and you would like to, you know what to do! I really really really hope this goes through. It could save quite a few people, blind and sighted alike.

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