What do you think about the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by morgantilton, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. morgantilton

    morgantilton New Member

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    What do you think about the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010?

    I am a journalist for Solarchargeddriving.com, and we are curious to know what drivers think about this law, OR if they even know it was passed.

    If you own an EV or PHEV, what do you think about this law given that you will eventually be required to make changes to your already bought vehicle?

    Please read below for more information, and let us know what you think!

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working to fulfill the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, that was signed by President Obama in January, 2011.

    According to the law, electric and hybrid car manufacturers add noises that alert the blind and other pedestrians.

    Basically the laws states:

    • The driver must not be required to activate the alert sound
    • Pedestrians should be able to reasonably detect a nearby electric or hybrid vehicle in critical operating scenarios including, but not limited to, constant speed, accelerating, or decelerating
    • The Secretary shall allow manufacturers to provide each vehicle with one or more sounds that comply with the motor vehicle safety standard at the time of manufacture
    • Manufacturers will be required to provide, within reasonable manufacturing tolerances, the same sound or set of sounds for all vehicles of the same make and model
    • Manufacturers will be prohibited from providing any mechanism for anyone other than the manufacturer or the dealer to disable, alter, replace, or modify the sound or set of sounds
    • The manufacturer or dealer may alter, replace, or modify the sound or set of sounds in order to remedy a defect or non- compliance with the motor vehicle safety standard

    The secretary must being rule making no later than 18 months after this law was passed, and the secretary must being promulgating the law no later than 36 months after it was passed.

    According to an article on fastlane.dot.gov, phase one of the research:
    “identified requirements for blind pedestrians’ safe mobility and potential countermeasures. It showed that the average person--not just the visually impaired--took significantly longer to detect vehicles operating in electric mode.â€

    And phase two is currently going:

    “NHTSA and the Volpe National Transportation Center in Massachusetts are testing synthetic sounds. Congress has asked that electric and hybrid vehicles emit a sound at low speeds so pedestrians recognize when a vehicle is approaching. In our tests, we're trying to find the right balance between quiet roadways and pedestrian safety.â€

    However, what about noise pollution?

    Noise pollution affects the lives of millions of people, and is hardly discussed, and motorized vehicles are a huge contribution to the noise, which causes stress and anxiety on the body.

    According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, studies have shown that there are direct links between noise and health, and the effects of noise include:
    • -stress related illnesses
    • -high blood pressure
    • -hearing loss
    • -sleep disruption
    • -lost productivity
    Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is the most common.

    ...I am not sure if these health effects were taken into account when this law was passed. It seems like it would not be a bad idea to not require noise producers in EVs and PHEVs in order to LOWER the amount of noise that is being emitted, in the best interest of everyone’s health.

    What do you think?

    (Your comments and opinions are important and appreciated. We may use them in our article. If we use your comments and you would like to be notified, please indicate so.)
     
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    No government agency was able to find a blind pedestrian ever killed by a Hybrid or EV, so there can be no statistical way to calculate the effectiveness of this law. (Before lives can be saved, at least one life must be lost)

    There is however a sensible noise for cars to make in this scenario

    2:20 to 5:00 minutes seems sensible. No Pedestrian would step out into this noise, blind or net.
     
  3. billnchristy

    billnchristy Active Member

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    It's ridiculous, a waste of money, and an unbelievable waste of time for the government to concern themselves with this when so much else is on the table.

    We have a thing...its called a horn. If both parties (driver and pedestrian) are so freaking clueless that they run into each other both should be banned from driving and walking.
     
  4. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    The law is mis-focused. All modern cars are incredibly quiet at low speed; mostly what you hear is tire noise. It's not really an EV or PHEV issue. Focusing on EVs and PHEVs takes attention away from where it belongs, which is getting people's attention back onto whatever it is that they are doing, whether it be driving or walking.

    We have become of race of cell phone using iPod listening drones, moving about without the slightest bit of attention devoted to our surroundings. Having cars make more noise won't help.

    Tom
     
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  5. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Increased pedestrian safety is a wonderful idea. But that's not what this Act is about - it's an attack on hybrids. It doesn't apply to all vehicles based on noise levels, nor does it bear any relation to statistical evidence of a problem.
     
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  6. billnchristy

    billnchristy Active Member

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    The solution is to drive above 42mph in all possible pedestrian zones so they can hear you coming.
     
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  7. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    This issue was discussed thoroughly in several different threads here on Prius Chat, so if the OP wants to get more input, he/she can search for some of the older threads.

    I think this law was passed more for political considerations rather than as a solution to an actual problem. I think the law is a response to fear by blind advocacy groups, but will be ineffective in reality because it is too simplistic of a solution and does not consider other "quiet" vehicles that are neither EV or hybrid.

    Another more desirable (though also impractical) solution would be to limit noise produced by cars and trucks to levels no greater than typical background noise with no ICE vehicles operating within 5 miles. :madgrin:
     
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  8. TheBlueWedge

    TheBlueWedge New Member

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    I would gladly install a device that plays that soundtrack to pedestrians as I drive around. ;)
     
  9. DarkStarPDX

    DarkStarPDX Junior Member

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    Given your summary of the bill, I suggest that you take 20 minutes to read the actual text of the bill: Read The Bill: S. 841 [111th] - GovTrack.us

    You'll find that this will only affect vehicles manufactured after the new motor vehicle safety standard goes into effect and has nothing to do with existing vehicles on the road.

    Now, if you read the bill, you'll find that they must take into account the minimum level of sound required to warn pedestrians and others. In theory if the level of sound required is less than the ancillary noise already produced by a vehicle, then no additional noise will be required.
     
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  10. sipnfuel

    sipnfuel New Member

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    Can we buy pedestrian alert sounds like we can buy ring tones? If so I would like this as my pedestrian alert sound:


     
  11. stefano5777

    stefano5777 Member

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    The law is a joke.Not in principle but in execution .I am all for making the roads " safer for pedestrians" but If a blind person chooses to cross roads in heavy traffic without a seeing eye dog he takes his/her life in there own hands and on the flip side if driver is not paying attention to pedestrians walking out in front of them whether they are blind deaf or non handicap they are gonna get hit!
     
  12. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    The UK Leaf models were held back from initial release whilst Nissan DISABLED the noise maker as it conflicted with a law about artificial noise from vehicles at night. :rockon:

    So our UK EV's are nice and quiet. Oh and I drive a Prius as a taxi here in the UK and one of my corporate customers is a blind college. I have spoken to the students at length about the noise of my car and they can hear it at low speeds - esp now they are aware of what to look out for (pardon the pun!). In fact they enjoy being a passenger in my Prius because it is so quiet.

    I think the US law on artifical noise for EV's seems a backward step and a law for the sake of it. As others have said, no blind people have been killed by a Prius or EV purely because they didn't hear it coming.
     
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  13. billnchristy

    billnchristy Active Member

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    You are right, the whine of the motor is quite apparent if you know to "look" for it, as you said.
     
  14. stefano5777

    stefano5777 Member

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    Next they will require all fuel efficient hybrid/ev to put giant sponges on front of car that will protect the def/blind pedestrians who cannot see or hear cars coming!
     
  15. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    And don't forget those kids with iPods.

    Tom
     
  16. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    My car already has a low-speed pedestrian-safety-enhancing device. It's called a stereo. Seriously - it's simple, effective, and pre-installed. Push and play, stay out of the way. :)
     
  17. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    Ok, I'll tell you what I think about the passed law, then read other responses.

    Basically this law is about making some type of muted noise to alert the blind or others in certain situations.

    They are not requiring an electrified vehicle (EV) driver to alert at all times or at any given time.

    I recall creeping in parking lots, sometimes with people ahead and after some seconds, they might turn around and are surprised to see my Prius back there.

    I don't see any harm to alert a blind person or pedestrian in certain situations that call for it. I don't think the noisemaker would be needed to be used often at all.

    If I was blind and knew there are 3,000 lb. cars that can creep along silently, I would want to hear their presence if the situation called for it. I sure wouldn't want to be honked at being a blind person.

    I would imagine in warehouses they've had muted horns for EV forklifts for quite some time.

    I don't see this as a threat to EV's but a push to reach a common sense compromise that benefits all parties. And if it's carried out in common sense, I'm for it.
     
  18. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    There is no whine in an EV creeping a 3 MPH. One could be seriously hurt if hit even at that speed.

    I don't think this is a law for EV's to make constant noise, but there would be a paddle type switch to alert if needed.

    I believe the Volt has such a device. We could ask if it is useful or a waste.
     
  19. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    OK, so if creeping up on pedestrians in carparks is an issue and a problem (despite the low speed) will there be a mandate that requires ALL electrical vehicles to emit this noise?

    So all golf carts and Segways should have these noise makers fitted too then. I'm mean hey, driving a golf cart could be dangerous - all those people on golf courses not expecting an EV to sneak up on them and run them over.

    What about an alternative to the noise maker? A speed sensitive horn? Below 10 mph it emits a softer alert so as not to induce a heart attack on the pedestrian and above 10 mph it emits the usual sound?

    I still think this noise maker nonsense is all about trying to restrict EV sales. I wonder if car sales were restricted in the UK compared to the US 100 years ago as a 4 mph speed limit that was imposed here. One doesn't want these noisy mechanical horses clattering around running people over does one!

    'Highway locomotives' also had to have a man walk in front of them waving a flag to warn people of its approach. I'm sure that really helped sales back then! The noise maker is the same now.

    Speed limits in the UK
     
  20. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    Just remember who signed this law come election time :mad:

    Mike
     
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