Silence is assent -- HR 5734

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by bwilson4web, May 14, 2008.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Hi folks,

    If you don't let your congress critters know what you think about the "Bell the Hybrid" act, HR 5734, you have not one to blame when noise makers are added to our cars. As we've pointed out, the bill as written all but excludes any technology other than noise makers put on our hybrid cars. It means noise, not "smart highway" technology will be used so our hybrids will be just as lethal as the existing cars and trucks that killed 5,000 pedestrians and cyclists each year.

    The bill continues to sit on the committee agenda:
    H.R. 5734: Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2008 (GovTrack.us)

    This bill is badly written and full of factual errors but if you don't let your local Congressman and Senators know your opinions, your silence is assent to what it calls out for. If like some of us, you've already contacted your congress critters, THANKS! If not, educate them so this bill can get fixed.

    There is a real problem, 5,000 pedestrians and cyclists killed per year but putting a "bell on the hybrids" only makes them just as deadly as the current cars and trucks.

    Thanks,
    Bob Wilson

    ps. Moderators send me a PM if you'd prefer I modify or update the existing threads with 'reminder' or 'progess' messages.
     
  2. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    For those of you who have never done this, it's incredibly easy to send an email to your representative. If you wish to send and email, go to United States House of Representatives, 110th Congress, 2nd Session, type in your ZIP+4 (or ZIP and they'll help you find the +4) to find your representatives site, and follow the links under "contact" to find the email page.

    The subject line should mention the bill:
    HR 3754: Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2008

    Here's what I sent to Tom Davis (R, VA):

    Dear Congressman Davis:

    A bill has been introduced in the House Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, that would mandate putting noisemakers on hybrid cars (and possibly on other quiet vehicles), based on the assumption that these cars are so quiet they are a hazard to blind pedestrians.

    This premise of this bill -- that hybrids are "extremely hazardous" to blind pedestrians -- is based on no facts whatsoever.

    I took the time to tabulate the data from several Federal databases, including the US DOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data. There is *no* evidence to suggest that this is a problem. I summarize the findings below, and if you (your staff) would like a copy of my white paper on the subject I would be more than glad to email it to you.

    I own a Prius. And, more importantly, Northern Virginia has one of the highest concentrations hybrid owners in the country.

    If you have the opportunity, please do Northern Virginians a favor and vote against this bill. At the minimum, instead of mandating noisemakers on hybrids, the bill at least ought to ask DOT to look at their own data to see whether or not there appears to be a problem. Then, only if warranted, to proceed with some solution. As currently written, DOT has two years to determine the standards for noisemakers on hybrids, and then two more to implement the standards.

    Finally, here are the main findings from my study of blind pedestrian deaths and hospitalizations, based on the DOT FARS data, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) data.

    Thank you for your time in considering this matter.

    (Summary of study findings).
     
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    I forgot to mention, the number of co-sponsors has grow. Is one of these yours?
    Del. Madeleine Bordallo [D-GU]
    Rep. Robert Brady [D-PA]
    Rep. Corrine Brown [D-FL]
    Rep. Keith Ellison [D-MN]
    Res.Com. Luis Fortuño [R-PR]
    Rep. Virgil Goode [R-VA]
    Rep. John Lewis [D-GA]
    Rep. James McDermott [D-WA]
    Rep. James McGovern [D-MA]
    Rep. Steven Pearce [R-NM]
    Rep. David Price [D-NC]
    Rep. Linda Sánchez [D-CA]
    Rep. Clifford Stearns [R-FL]
    Rep. Peter Welch [D-VT]
    Rep. Donald Young [R-AK]
    The time to write is BEFORE they sign-up for the bill ... before they can be deluded by this bill. After they sign-up, it makes more sense to send them suggested changes that strike "hybrid" and emphasize "technology." It is bad enough if they sign up for it but afterwards, give them some cover, a bill that focuses on the problem and encourages a "technology based" or a "science based" solution.

    Bob Wilson
     
  4. brick

    brick Active Member

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  5. Keri

    Keri New Member

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  6. Bob64

    Bob64 Sapphire of the Blue Sky

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    Uhhh, missing summary of study findings? Without much ammunition to use against the bill, it'll simply increase our chance of failure.


    oh well, sent this (cut and pasted from various sources here, plagiarism yes, but you've stated it better then I can):
     
  7. djasonw

    djasonw Active Member

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    Amazingly stupid legislation. How about bicycles too? If they ever did put a noisemaker on hybrids I'd disable it.
     
  8. Proco

    Proco Senior Member

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    Just wrote to my Representative using bits & pieces of the other letters. My Rep is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce (but not this particular subcommittee), so I was able to urge him to work to keep the legislation from even making it to the House floor.
     
  9. AdamKPL

    AdamKPL Member

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    Personally I want to stay on the side of caution, just ordered a whistler tip for my Prius...I hope you all recall Bubb Rubb from a few years back:


    WOOOO WOOOO

    None the less, just got in touch with my own congressman about the issue (just talked to him a few weeks ago at my law school actually)
     
  10. Sheepdog

    Sheepdog C'Mere Sheepie!

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    stupid. I note that the list of sponsors is mostly democrats and a couple of very clueless republicans. The dems do love making stupid laws. will send from work today
     
  11. Skwyre7

    Skwyre7 What's the catch?

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    Sent one too.
     
  12. longrider

    longrider soxfan

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  13. Bill Merchant

    Bill Merchant absit invidia

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    I wrote to my Representative, Darlene Hooley - OR-5, who sits on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, where HR 5734 is now. I've known Darlene for years and know that many of her friends drive Prius. I hope our effort pays off. This bill is stupid!

    I'm going to present this information to the Portland HSD Meetup group this Saturday.

    chogan2, can you publish your summary?
     
  14. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Thanks Bill,

    We also need letters to the Editor for our local news papers. Many times, an early draft intended for our Congress critters also works in the newspaper and educates their reporters.

    There is nothing wrong with a human interest story about pedestrian safety as long as the facts and data are present: (1) today's cars are already deadly and the ones that kill 5,000 each year are being ignored by HR 5734, (2) sound is unreliable due to the mix of volumes and types even for non-hybrids, and (3) science based, not a mandated, ineffective solution, is needed.

    Good luck!
    Bob Wilson
     
  15. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Here it is:

     From 2002 to 2006, an average of five legally blind pedestrians per year were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the US (Table 1).

     No deaths of legally blind pedestrians involved a Prius (Table 3) or any other hybrid vehicle (Table 4).

     For all US pedestrian deaths (blind and sighted), 11 deaths involved a Prius (Table 3). (The Prius was singled out here because it is the only model with large production volume that was produced solely as a hybrid).

     For all US pedestrian deaths, a Prius was no more likely to be involved in a pedestrian death than the average passenger vehicle (Table 5). The Prius accounted for 0.05 percent of passenger vehicles involved in fatal pedestrian accidents, and accounted for 0.05 percent of US registered motor vehicles, on average, over this period.

     For both blind and sighted individuals, only about 10 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred as the result of being struck while walking in a crosswalk. The rest occurred in other locations. More than two-thirds of both blind and sighted pedestrians were listed as contributing in some way to the accident. Of those tested, slightly more than one-third of both blind and sighted pedestrian decedents tested positive for alcohol.

     Data on hospitalization rates for pedestrian accidents confirm the death rate data (Table 6). In a typical year, roughly 40 legally blind pedestrians are hospitalized as the result of a motor vehicle accident.

     Based on population estimates, the average a legally blind person is less likely to be killed or hospitalized as a result of being hit by a car than the average sighted individual. Legally blind individuals accounted for 0.11 percent of deaths and 0.15 percent of hospitalizations. But they account for 0.43 percent of the US population, or 0.23 percent of the US population under age 80.
     
  16. RichL

    RichL New Member

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    Done... Thanks for the heads up!
     
  17. Brodie

    Brodie New Member

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  18. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    And I think I know a particularly large group of Prius owners in the Chicagoland area who will this weekend be receiving an email calling for action.
     
  19. penbed

    penbed New Member

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  20. jyl

    jyl New Member

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    This was my email to my Congressman:

    "I oppose HR 3754: Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2008.

    This bill's finding and provisions are designed to compel hybrid gas-electric cars, like the Toyota Prius, to make noise at all times when driving. The claim is that quiet cars are "extremely hazardous" for blind pedestrians.

    There is NO demonstrated basis for this requirement. Please consider that, based on a review of the Dept of Transportation's database:

     From 2002 to 2006, an average of five legally blind pedestrians per year were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the US.

     No deaths of legally blind pedestrians involved a Prius or any other hybrid vehicle.

     Only 11 US pedestrian deaths (all of sighted persons) involved a Prius.

     For all US pedestrian deaths, a Prius was no more likely to be involved in a pedestrian death than the average passenger vehicle. The Prius accounted for 0.05 percent of passenger vehicles involved in fatal pedestrian accidents, and accounted for 0.05 percent of US registered motor vehicles, on average, over this period.

     For both blind and sighted individuals, only about 10 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred as the result of being struck while walking in a crosswalk. The rest occurred in other locations. More than two-thirds of both blind and sighted pedestrians were listed as contributing in some way to the accident. Of those tested, slightly more than one-third of both blind and sighted pedestrian decedents tested positive for alcohol.

     Based on population estimates, the average a legally blind person is less likely to be killed or hospitalized as a result of being hit by a car than the average sighted individual. Legally blind individuals accounted for 0.11 percent of deaths and 0.15 percent of hospitalizations. But they account for 0.43 percent of the US population, or 0.23 percent of the US population under age 80.

    The Prius is a very popular car, with over 590,000 sold to date in the US. This car is particularly popular in Oregon, among your constituents, Its high gas mileage helps Americans reduce oil consumption and pollution. Other models of hybrid vehicle are also becoming popular as Americans increasingly value energy conservation. 350,000 new hybrids of all makes are purchased each year in the US. Hybrid vehicles are more popular in Portland than in any other major city (based on new hybrid registrations per 1000 residents, as of Feb 2008 data).

    Hybrid vehicle drivers do not wish to be forced to drive with unnecessary beepers, buzzers, simulated engine sounds, or other noisemakers on our cars.

    I suggest that the scientists and safety experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are best-qualified to study hybrid vehicles and their associated pedestrian accident data, as part of NHTSA's normal work on motor vehicle and pedestrian safety. If actual evidence of unacceptable accident rates is determined, NHTSA is qualified and empowered to act as necessary.

    I strongly object to Congress passing a bill which contains findings that are unsupported by NHTSA work or any other credible data, and prescribes action that is unnecessary and offensive to many of your constituents."
     
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