Press release - how the blind nonsense gets distributed

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by bwilson4web, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    NewsReleaseWire.com

    This is how "news" about "Bell the Hybrid" gets spread about. An organization writes a press release and then for about $1,000, they hire one of these press release services to bombard every news office and political office they can. Seeing one ensures it will be echoed again and again.

    Bob Wilson
     
  2. Rybold

    Rybold globally warmed member

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    I have a feeling that this issue would be studied long and thoroughly before Congress would consider mandating noise makers. For starters, if they make the noise makers too loud ("too loud" could mean anything), then the hybrid automakers, environmental organizations, and others would claim hybrids are being discriminated against if they are louder than gasoline vehicles. So, then a study would have to be conducted, contrasting hybrid noise makers with gasoline vehicles. At that point, Congress would likely realize the difference is VERY small. And, above a given speed, road noise is louder than engine noise. By the time all of those studies are conducted, it may well be several years down the road. And, with the President's new initiative to put the environment towards the top of his agenda and the majority Democratic House to support back him, I doubt we really need to worry too much about this.
     
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    If there were any evidence of a hazard, I would agree. But in the meanwhile, real people, real pedestrian are dying:
    [​IMG]
    This is a photo of a back-over accident from the Chidester report of April 2008, one of 25 kids killed in one year. The black SUV had an object detection system that was turned off when they drove over the kid and didn't stop until the body was in front. That is not a 'chalk' outline in front of the SUV.

    If there were any evidence of a hazard, I would agree with looking for solutions and not be limited to just noise generators. I would look at all solutions and test them to find out what works and to what degree. But that is not what is happening with this legislation:
    That experiment is already being run every day with the existing, gas vehicles and at the end of each year, 4,700 pedestrians are dead and nearly 50,000 injuries that require hospitalization and treatment.
    With the dawn, nearly 100 million auto trips will occur covering what, a billion miles in total? These will by every shape and size of vehicle imaginable. If the accident data shows some correlation between noise and pedestrian accidents, deaths, then I'm all for a study. But let the data, the real fatalities and other accident data be analyzed first and show us the 'smoking gun.' We've already looked and so far, nothing.
    Time, money and resources are lost and real people suffer and die instead of taking effective solutions for all pedestrian deaths such as rating all cars by pedestrian hazard. For example:
    [​IMG]
    This is how the Europeans test cars for their pedestrian risk. If we make all of our cars less hazardous to pedestrian injuries, we can take a serious reduction in deaths. There may be more injuries but live people can heal ... the dead rot and are mourned.

    Bob Wilson
     
  4. bac

    bac Active Member

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    Great post, Bob.

    ... Brad
     
  5. acdii

    acdii Active Member

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    Keep pedestrians on the sidewalk, and crosswalks? Or does that just make too much sense? Just because a hybrid running on electric is quiet, doesn't make it any more dangerous to peds than any other car on the road. My mother has a 2007 Lincoln Town Car, and guess what, it is VERY quiet, just as quiet if not more so than my Camry. The Camry puts out a distinct whine when on electric that I can hear inside the car. Sometimes I pick up my wife in front of the grocery store, and she sits on a bench reading a book and knows when I pull up because she can hear it!

    Instead of putting bells and whistles on cars, how about educating people to take care of themselves, and to be alert to their surroundings? It is unfortunate that sometimes children get injured or killed in stupid accidents like the one above, which just from the brief overview of it was purely the ignorance of the driver by not looking, and having the backup safety system turned off. Children do not have Situational Awareness, that is what parents are for, and lets face it children are stupid, they do stupid things, that is how they learn to avoid things and grow older and less stupid, and as parents we are supposed to teach them what we have learned from our being stupid, but unfortunately it isn't like that anymore. Instead when someone makes a mistake they tend to put blame elsewhere instead of taking the blame for their own actions, and this right here is proof of it. [/rant]:cheer2:
     
  6. Rybold

    Rybold globally warmed member

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    So, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that we don't need to conduct a special study because we already have millions of data - the real world data. And, if we look at all the data from the past ten years, there is no evidence that blind people are being hit by hybrids due to lack of noise. Okay, that makes perfect sense.

    If a blind person is on a sidewalk, he is not going to get hit (under normal circumstances). If a blind person is in a crosswalk, then even if all vehicles are gasoline, the blind person still must trust that the drivers are going to stop. If "no one is around" and he is crossing in a crosswalk and he hears a car coming, most of what he will be hearing is the road noise. If a blind person is jaywalking, then he is breaking the law (but he will still hear the road noise). So, the only thing left are parking lots. Unless the person is a reckless driver, you can Not hear engine noise on a new gasoline vehicle (in a parking lot). The blind pedestrian must trust that the gasoline engine driver is not going to hit him. If the vehicle is moving across the parking lot at 20mph, you are going to hear road noise. I don't see how hybrids are any different than gasoline engines when it comes to noise.

    I definitely see your point when you say (paraphrased) "look at the statistics. There is no hazard."
     
  7. geeky teacher

    geeky teacher New Member

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    Bob, I learned that one of my colleagues had a relative heading for DC in February to testify for the blind on this issue. I gave them copies of some of the comments and statistics you've posted on Priuschat. The exchange of ideas and information is important for informed decision making.
     
  8. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    I quite agree and have noticed some buzz about "2009 Washington Seminar" but so far, there has been nothing in the Federal Register. Private groups have every right to hold any meeting they want at any location. They are free to control who gets to attend and the full agenda.

    So the best answer is to inoculate:

    • Congressional offices - a data package with the facts and data so they are not kept in ignorance
    • Press - with a press release and the facts and data
    So near as we can tell, their approach is to work directly with Congress:
    NFB - NFB Washington Seminar

    Bob Wilson
     
  9. booger

    booger New Member

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    [FONT=Verdana,arial,Helvetica]Congressmen Edolphus “Ed†Towns (D-N.Y.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.)

    should be removed from office IMO, this is ridiculous and a waste of time and money.

    How about this, I'll play my music louder. Problem solved.
    [/FONT]
     
  10. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    This is what I sent:
    Hi Dr. Griffith [my Congressman is a physician-rjw],

    I tried to call (202)225-4801 this morning but got a recorded message, "Extension 00000 please wait. Extension is not valid." Regardless, I wanted to express my opposition to H.R. 734, the bill that will put noise makers on our hybrid electric cars.

    This bad bill is a repeat of H.R. 5734 that died in the last Congress and for good reason:

    (1) No supporting accident data - we looked at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) accident data, the Fatality Accident Reporting System, and found the hybrid electric Prius, the most populous hybrid, has the same pedestrian fatality rate as ordinary gas vehicles. I even filed a Freedom Of Information Act request (#ES08-005322) and even the NHTSA has yet to find any accident data supporting the claims of a higher risk to pedestrians by hybrid electric vehicles. But H.R. 734 does not call for empirical data or even a study of accident data. It simply declares our hybrids "extremely dangerous" without _scientific_ data to back up this claim.

    (2) Exclusion of hybrid electric owners, insurance companies and medical, public health professionals - the hybrid electric owners will have to pay for the H.R. 734 mandated solution and at a minimum we have a vested interest in getting value for any safety feature. Insurance companies also have extensive data associated with pedestrian accidents to complement the NHTSA, and can provide a valuable check on whether the proposed solution is likely to be effective. Finally, the medical community is used to statistical studies and public health data on accidents and injuries. Any public health issue including pedestrian accidents, should include them in the consultations but they like the insurance industry and hybrid owners are not in the list of parties to be consulted.

    (3) Sound only, mandated solution - over and over again, this legislation pushes one solution, noise generators, over all others including wireless and pedestrian accident avoidance systems. Volvo has announced a radar pedestrian detection system to prevent accidents and the Toyota accident avoidance systems use radar and a video camera to avoid accidents. Also, Europe is moving towards making all cars less hazardous to pedestrian by improved bumpers and hoods so adults and children won't suffer fatal head and disabling knee injuries. These alternative solutions would help save the lives of the 4,700 pedestrians killed every year, not just pander to the 5 blind deaths.

    A Prius owner, I came to this issue when I realized that adding noise makers only makes them just as deadly as today's gas vehicles. We run that experiment every year, noise generating gas vehicles, and they are killing 4,700 pedestrians per year. It makes no sense to mandate what is already failing.

    I understand representatives from the National Federation of the Blind will lobby Congress this week. Certainly listen to their opinions but please take no position until you have a chance to see my materials that I will send out this week. In the meanwhile, your staff can retrieve last year's hearing results from:

    www.regulations.gov - search "NHTSA-2008-0108-0020" for our opposition research

    During your campaign, you had direct experience with reports being taken out of context. It was a dastardly, cowardly, unethical act but this is what we think the the advocates of H.R. 734 are attempting to do. Please, please, please, check the facts and data. As written today, H.R. 734 only condemns the blind to the same traffic hell they live in today.

    Thanks,
    Bob Wilson
    This is what I mean by something from the heart. Feel free to borrow what works for you but be sure to tailor it for your representative. In particular, there are some representatives (if any of these are yours!) who need to be contacted:
    Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN]
    Rep. John Lewis [D-GA]
    Rep. Fortney Stark [D-CA]
    Rep. Carol Shea-Porter [D-NH]
    Rep. Keith Ellison [D-MN]
    Del. Madeleine Bordallo [D-GU]
    Rep. Bob Filner [D-CA]
    Rep. Mike McIntyre [D-NC]
    Rep. Shelley Berkley [D-NV]
    Rep. Phil Hare [D-IL]
    Rep. Steve Cohen [D-TN]
    Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D-NY]
    Rep. Maurice Hinchey [D-NY]
    Rep. Clifford Stearns [R-FL]
    Rep. James McDermott [D-WA]
    Rep. Donald Young [R-AK]
    Rep. Peter Sessions [R-TX]
    Rep. David Price [D-NC]
    Rep. Corrine Brown [D-FL]
    Rep. David Loebsack [D-IA]
    Rep. Nita Lowey [D-NY]
    Rep. Sanford Bishop [D-GA]
    Rep. Janice Schakowsky [D-IL]
    Rep. Thomas Latham [R-IA]
    Rep. José Serrano [D-NY]
    Rep. Jerrold Nadler [D-NY]
    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz [D-FL]
    Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger [D-MD]
    Rep. John Boozman [R-AR]
    Rep. Rob Wittman [R-VA]
    Rep. James Moran [D-VA]
    Rep. Edward Pastor [D-AZ]
    Rep. Russ Carnahan [D-MO]
    Rep. Jane Harman [D-CA]

    Thanks,
    Bob Wilson
     
  11. darelldd

    darelldd Prius is our Gas Guzzler

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    Well done, Bob.

    (I'm really bummed that we didn't have a chance to discuss this in Detroit!)
     
  12. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    I get no pleasure from this conflict. While I am sympathetic to the plight of the blind, I live too much in the real world to ignore what a disaster these noise makers would be. Worse, because of this issue, I'm fully aware of the daily pedestrian death toll.

    On average, just over 12 pedestrians die every day and least 60 are injured to the point of needing medical attention or hospitalization. There are probably three times this number who just pick themselves up and hobble off to heal their bruises, scrapes and torn clothing. And this is just the daily toll.

    It is a shame that the blind community who first brought this subject up, has yet to reach out to the hybrid community to work together on pedestrian safety. But to do this, they must put aside preconceived expectations about the solution and we, the most innovative and adaptable owners in the market today, must agree to pursue a results oriented effort ... one whose goal is reduction of the 4,700 pedestrian deaths and many more injured and disabled.

    So let me be clear that I hate having to oppose H.R. 734. But it would be worse; it would be callous; it would be irresponsible to stand aside and let H.R. 734 mandate a failed solution.

    H.R. 734, "Bell the Hybrid," would only ensure that someday in the future, the last thing a bind pedestrian heard was a legislated noise maker just before they were crushed to death. Because after all, that is the world the blind live in today only the noise makers are pickup trucks and SUVs and they already kill 5 blind each year. H.R. 734 gives the pickups and SUVs a free ride to continue the carnage.

    Bob Wilson
     
  13. darelldd

    darelldd Prius is our Gas Guzzler

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    I even go farther than that, Bob. I don't just count the people who are injured by being HIT by cars. How about all the deaths that are caused simply by burning fossil fuels? There seems to be no outrage because we don't see blood on the pavement. There is no outrage about this when fossil fuel consumption kills more people than hybrids could ever hope to run over. If we need to fix something, we need to fix having our cars run on gas!
     
  14. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    I'm pretty sure we'll see in my lifetime, I'm 59, both a substantial sea level rise as well as plenty more "Katrinas" and "Bush fires." <grumble><grumble><grumble> Then there is what happens when industrialized agriculture runs out of oil ... grim times, my friend, grim times indeed.

    Bob Wilson
     
  15. darelldd

    darelldd Prius is our Gas Guzzler

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    So what you're saying is that it is a GREAT idea to put money and effort into noise makers to save us from all this. Right?
     
  16. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Perhaps they *are* reaching out to us, but just don't know where we are. If we made more noise perhaps they could find us. :p

    Tom
     
  17. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    No, not at all!

    However I'm looking at these emerging technologies and would like to see them standard (and with a generous insurance discount!) on our hybrids first:

    • Volvo pedestrian detection and accident avoidance radar
    • Denso lane following, pedestrian detection, sign reading, adaptive cruise control, radar and video system
    • BMW pedestrian body heat detection system
    • Replace these mirrors with cameras and blind spot detectors
    • Interactive vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian wireless (using keyfob technology)
    • Advanced accident prevention systems including sleepy and impaired driver support systems
    Compared to these systems, noise makers are a child banging on a toy, metal drum and just as ineffective as today's pedestrian and vehicle safety systems.

    We have the technology to make our vehicles and roads much safer. It is time to apply these advanced systems, learn our lessons, and build better ones for the future.

    Bob Wilson
     
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