Lotus Safe & Sound noisemaker

Lotus Safe & Sound noisemaker

Although the relative silence of electric cars and hybrids was originally touted as one of their key beneficial attributes, alarmists have been less than enamored with the perceived difficulty involved in hearing one coming, especially advocates of the blind and the seeing impaired.

While critics have said time and time again that no actual data shows a hazard to exist, the alarmists have managed to convince the Senate to vote unanimously in favor of a new bill that would force automakers to install noise generating devices, a.k.a. noisemakers, on all vehicles that can operate without the use of an internal combustion engine, even if only momentarily.

Whether or not there is an actual need for noisemakers on electric cars and hybrids, the new bill, called the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 and backed by Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, calls for the Transportation department to establish new safety standards for alerting pedestrians to the presence of vehicles that are hard to hear.

We’ve already seen automakers take the initiative and attempt to make their cars noisier. As of now, three different automakers have taken three different approaches, with more likely to be on the way in future models, so a common set of standards will be helpful. 

The bill will now proceed to the House of Representatives, which is expected to pass it.

[Green Car Advisor]