[Nfbmo] Fw: feds upset that hybrid and electric are are too quietfor pedestrians to hear.

Gary Wunder GWunder at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 14 20:34:09 UTC 2011

This article strikes me as a bit shallow.  Is it the feds who are upset, or
is it the American people or those parts of the American public who have had
contact with quiet cars as pedestrians?  One of the things we have going for
us is that the automobile industry agrees this is a problem that needs a
solution.  The environmentalists don't much like it because they believe
that the reduction of noise is as important as the reduction of pollution.
Some are smart enough to distinguish between noise and usable sound, and
some understand that even the best ideology needs to account for real-world
realities.  One of those is that people determine where to look based, in
some part, on what they hear.  The cosponsor for our bill in the United
States House of Representatives initially disagreed with our call for
vehicles to make some sound.  He did, that is, until he was almost hit in a
parking lot.

In some of our dealings with car companies, we found that they were not
surprised at the problem a nearly silent vehicle would make.  As one
engineer said to me, "we knew we had a problem when we almost hit several of
our guys as we were doing construction and moving the car from bay to bay."

As for sounds, the article implies a range of possibilities that simply
aren't envisioned in the proposed law.  Auto manufacturers aren't going to
conduct some kind of popularity contests to decide whether a car should
sound like a steam boat or an ice cream truck.  They are using the knowledge
of acoustical engineers to determine what kind of frequency spectrum and
sound level is necessary to alert pedestrians to the distance, direction of
movement, and acceleration of vehicles.  There are things to work out, of
course, such as whether a big truck should make a sound different from that
of a sports car.  But the sound that manufacturers will use won't be
whimsical.  Consumer preference will play a part in what car companies
decide, but the choices will be limited to those which really provide
maximal audible information.

I wish I could be dispassionate and objective about this issue, but to me
this means more than quality of life, as important as that is.  To me it
means life or death, and I have trouble accepting the cynical view that
someone is imposing something unreasonable on us or that we are asking for
some kind of burdensome accommodation because we believe we should have the
right to live in the world and walk on her streets.


-----Original Message-----
From: nfbmo-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbmo-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of James Moynihan
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2011 1:44 PM
To: NFB of Missouri Mailing List
Subject: [Nfbmo] Fw: feds upset that hybrid and electric are are too
quietfor pedestrians to hear.


Jim Moynihan
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Neuman, Dale A. 
To: jamesmmoynihan at gmail.com 
Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 2:47 PM
Subject: feds upset that hybrid and electric are are too quiet for
pedestrians to hear.



Click at the end of the link and it should take you to a story on this which
I know is an issue for the NFB as well..





Dale A. Neuman

Director, Harry S Truman Center for Governmental Affairs

Special Projects Associate, College of Arts and Sciences 

Professor Emeritus of Political Science

816-235-6108 or 816-235-2787 

FAX 816-235-5191

Neumand at umkc.edu


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