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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hybrid cars dangerously quiet for pedestrians: US blind group

WASHINGTON (AFP) - An association of blind Americans has warned that cars with hybrid engines using electricy and fuel are dangerously too quiet for pedestrians.

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) said hybrid cars pose a risk to the blind, children, the elderly, cyclists and distracted pedestrians.

The group said it conducted tests with blind people.

"We had the car drive by in different situations, to see wether or not people could hear it and use the sound of the car to safely cross the street, and they could not. The car was just silent," NFB spokesman John Pare told AFP.

Pare said NFB does not want to add to noise pollution, but hybrid cars should not be less noisy than other cars.

Chris Danielsen, a 36-year-old NFB member, said up to 30 people took part in tests on a side street and in an alleyway with a Toyota Prius and a Honda Civic.

"We all stood on the side of the street and the idea was to raise your hand as you heard the car approach," Danielsen said.

"We generally couldn't sense that it was there right in front of us, which of course, if we had been standing in the road, would have been running right over us," he said.

"By the time anybody detected it, if we had actually been standing in the road, it would have taken out three or four people."

Darn, gonna have to cancel the order for my Prius.