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Government Transportation Technology

Electric Cars May Be Made Noisier By Law 620

Posted by timothy
from the this-one-goes-to-11 dept.
msgtomatt writes "The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act would require electric cars and hybrids to make noise, and would fund the Department of Transportation to create a set of rules for automakers, who would be allowed some leeway in how they carry out the guidelines." Downloadable and do-it-yourself car-tones are the future: my own snoring could keep deer and toddlers off the road.
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Electric Cars May Be Made Noisier By Law

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  • Parking lots (Score:5, Interesting)

    by devleopard (317515) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @10:59PM (#34637654) Homepage

    More than once I've had to side step quickly to avoid a Prius in a store parking lot - I'm used to audio cues of my environment, and they just weren't paying attention while backing out.

    Sound-makers on Prius and others is already being done in Japan [edmunds.com]

  • Re:The sound I want (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sjames (1099) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:03PM (#34637678) Homepage

    How about George Jetson's bubble car sound?

  • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:17PM (#34637776)

    I see adults cross the street without looking while on the phone and not even notice me beeping at them. And this was back when I drove a beat up car that sounded like a Boeing 747

    Amen to that brother.

    The thing that floors me is that people get hit by trains. TRAINS! We're talking like five-thousand plus tons of steel rumbling down a track, and people don't notice. How is this even possible? How self-absorbed do you have to be to notice a freaking TRAIN. I used to live not far from a freight line and the whole bloody ground shook when a train went by...

  • Re:..so? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:19PM (#34637792)

    Do people really have problems with this kind of thing?

    Yes. I don't feel any "safer" when I'm awakened by a dump truck backing up a quarter of a mile away. Do you?

    Consider the rapid growth of hybrid/electric cars' market share. If the same epsilon-minus bureaucrats responsible for backup beeper regulations have anything to do with this law, it will almost be worth moving out of the city to avoid the racket.

  • by lhaeh (463179) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:23PM (#34637826)

    It seems unnecessary to make things nosier for everyone when the number of people that need the noise is very small. Why not just have an electronic transponder system so that people can know where cars are relative to them. It would even work on vibration for those that are blind and deaf. It could give out more information, like speed and direction, and it it could work from further away if necessary.

  • by n_djinn (1883738) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @12:09AM (#34638100) Homepage
    I have a black Nissan Titan with a 6 inch lift and a winch bumper that is made from 1/4 steel. My tires are 35x ProComp Xterrains and my truck has a Banks exhaust (not my choice, it's annoyingly loud, rumbles even at idle), The truck is huge, ominous and pushing 400HP with a wide open exhaust. People step in front me all the time in parking lots. In fact the one thing I don't like about my truck is that the windshield edges are huge blind spots. Some lady tried to walk in front of me today in the parking lot of a local box store. HEY STUPID, IF YOU CAN'T SEE THE DRIVERS FACE, HE CAN"T SEE YOU. [anyone with issues with guys that drive big trucks; I am in Alaska, I am a volunteer medic and wilderness rescue tech. I have used the winch on my truck no less then 120 times to pull stuck cars out of snow banks, rivers, etc since I bought it in 2006]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @01:08AM (#34638452)

    I've noticed this funny trend in California (particularly, the part of California that I live in). It's especially odd after moving here from somewhere that this just seems so ridiculous.

    Pedestrians assume they have the right of way (legally, they do), and so just walk out into the middle of the street, regardless of any kind of signal that they should or shouldn't at that particular point. If they get hit, then it's the car's fault, and to them, it doesn't seem to matter if they even gave the car a fighting chance at braking to stop from hitting them. Seriously, I've been out walking the town with a group of friends who just ran across a 55mph, 6 lane road with a crosswalk maybe 50 feet away that they could have gone to and waited on the traffic light to give them the ok to go, and they justify it by saying that they have the right of way and the cars have to stop anyway. I also have to slam on my breaks to keep from hitting similar idiots semi-regularly. Where I live before moving here, pedestrians would get cussed out for crossing on the crosswalk a little early or a little late. It's fucking backwards, but it's the way of life out here. And some of these people consider the cars they don't hear to be a huge inconvenience to them--forget that they're an even bigger inconvenience to the driver of those cars.

    The other poster got the whole blind people part as well...

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @03:06AM (#34638870) Homepage

    This is actually an old story. Originally marketing and PR firms noted that cars produce distinctive engine noise that promote the label and with electric cars this would be gone, hence they worked on the idea of electric cars making marketing driving noise and seeking excuses to force it on customers.

    This bit of legislative douchery is the means by which they can enforce it. They admit that above 20km per hour tyre noise is sufficient to alert pedestrians and below 20km per hour, well excuse me but if you hit a pedestrian below 20 km per hour your not paying attention. Even at low speeds rolling resistance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_resistance [wikipedia.org] is a measure of tyre flex, hence abrasion and noise.

  • by vbraga (228124) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @06:12AM (#34639566) Journal

    I used to work in a neighborhood with a college (I don't remember if it was a college or a high school, right now) with a large number of blind people.

    Street crossing had a different kind of texture in the walkway. The traffic lights would make noises like "cross", "stop". While it was possible to cross it made a distinctive tone, changing it's pitch as time goes.

    It worked. Way better than blind people jaywalking and relying on car noises.

  • by delinear (991444) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @06:35AM (#34639652)
    I recently visited Italy and there, even where you are crossing in a specially designated area where pedestrians do have the right of way, the cars won't stop to let you cross unless you walk out in front of them. Coming from a country with a reasonably sensible approach to pedestrian crossings (if you're waiting it's your right of way and traffic almost always stops to let you cross here) the first few days were pretty terrifying, but literally everyone does it - when you see 80 year old grandmothers step out into traffic doing 40MPH you feel pretty silly for not wanting to do it, but the self preservation instinct is pretty hard to overrule. The first couple of days our only way of crossing a busy street was to find a local who was about to cross, wait for them to step out and quickly follow in their wake - we got a little braver after that but it still felt insane (and even crossing at pedestrian crossings that had traffic lights was touch and go - we met a tour guide who said, in the north of Italy, traffic lights are generally obeyed, in Rome they're more of a suggestion, and in the south they're purely decorative).
  • by houghi (78078) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @07:41AM (#34639984)

    Police and people driving Ambulances are talking about increasing the noise levels of their sirens because many people do not hear them. The reason is better sound insulation in cars.

    So on one hand manufacturers will be trying to reduce the sound inside, while the government will ask them to increase the sound outside so it can be heard inside.

    And this is just because of sound insulation. I am not talking about people walking around with iPads or having the music too loud.

    So I would suggest that there should be LESS sound coming from cars. That would mean less sound insulation. If all is quiet, special things will be picket up better.

  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @07:45AM (#34640004) Journal

    +1 Harrison Bergeron.

    Really though, precisely how loud is NY City without auto noise? It might just be a rustle of footsteps, but fairly quiet and peaceful.

    Maybe it would stop crime because you can hear someone holler when a purse gets snatched.

  • Re:Forget that (Score:4, Interesting)

    by suman28 (558822) <suman28@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @08:39AM (#34640356)
    In India and other places, they use horns to "warn" people and it is so unbelievably noisy, and people are so used to the horns that it becomes white noise almost. You honk and the person(s) you are issuing the warning to, COMPLETELY ignores you and does whatever the hell they wanted to do in the first place. When I come back to US, it feels like bliss, nothing having to listen to that. Imagine, hundreds of thousands of people just honking all the time. I think this is just a bad law, and hope it does not pass.

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