[nfbwatlk] Key Stakeholders Agree on Measures to Protect Blind Pedestrians from Silent Cars

Freeh, Jessica JFreeh at nfb.org
Thu May 20 05:51:08 CDT 2010


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



CONTACT:

Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

<mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org





Key Stakeholders Agree on Measures to
Protect Blind Pedestrians from Silent Cars





Urge Passage as Part of Motor Vehicle Safety Act



Baltimore, Maryland (May 19, 2010): The National 
Federation of the Blind (NFB), the American 
Council of the Blind (ACB), the Alliance of 
Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), and the 
Association of International Automobile 
Manufacturers (AIAM) announced today that they 
have agreed on proposed legislative language that 
will protect blind pedestrians and others from 
the danger posed by silent vehicle technology. 
The four organizations are urging Congress to 
adopt and pass the language as part of the Motor 
Vehicle Safety Act of 2010­which is currently 
pending in both houses of Congress­as quickly as 
possible.  The proposed language would require 
the Department of Transportation to promulgate a 
motor vehicle safety standard requiring 
automobiles to emit a minimum level of sound to 
alert the blind and other pedestrians.



Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National 
Federation of the Blind, said: “The National 
Federation of the Blind commends the automobile 
industry for its leadership on this issue and for 
its genuine concern for the safety of blind 
Americans, cyclists, runners, small children, and 
other pedestrians.  We look forward to working 
with the parties to this agreement, the United 
States Congress, and the Department of 
Transportation to ensure that <?xml:namespace 
prefix = st1 ns = 
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" 
/>America’s streets remain safe, both for those 
who drive and for those who do not.”



"Good policy is a collaborative effort, and this 
is a good approach for pedestrians and 
automakers," said Dave McCurdy, President and CEO 
of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.



Because blind pedestrians cannot locate and 
evaluate traffic using their vision, they must 
listen to traffic to discern its speed, 
direction, and other attributes in order to 
travel safely and independently.  Other people, 
including pedestrians who are not blind, 
cyclists, runners, seniors, and small children, 
also benefit from hearing the sound of vehicle 
engines.  New vehicles that employ hybrid or 
electric engine technology can be silent, 
rendering them extremely dangerous in situations 
where vehicles and pedestrians come into proximity with each other.



A recent report released by the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that 
hybrid and electric vehicles are nearly twice as 
likely to be involved in accidents with 
pedestrians as vehicles with internal combustion engines.





###







About the National Federation of the Blind



With more than 50,000 members, the National 
Federation of the Blind is the largest and most 
influential membership organization of blind 
people in the United States.  The NFB improves 
blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, 
research, technology, and programs encouraging 
independence and self-confidence.  It is the 
leading force in the blindness field today and 
the voice of the nation's blind.  In January 2004 
the NFB opened the National Federation of the 
Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and 
training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.





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