Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Government Transportation Technology

Electric Cars May Be Made Noisier By Law 620

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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Electric Cars May Be Made Noisier By Law

Comments Filter:
  • (Score:2, Informative)

    by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @12:06AM (#34637700) Homepage're required to have tail lights, turn signals, a horn, and a whole load of other otherwise unnecessary stuff on your car, all primarily for the safety of people other than yourself. This is how automotive safety works; you identify problems (cars running on electric power are hard to hear; pedestrians rely to varying degrees on the sound of a car for situational awareness, the blind moreso than others,) and you take reasonable steps to rectify the problems.

    Do people really have problems with this kind of thing?

  • by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @12:48AM (#34637974)
    I would totally have to disagree with you on this sorry. I lived in Newtown sydney right next to a very very busy set of train lines, and while they were noisy, you could rarely hear a train as it was approaching.

    Here is Sydney, the trains are quite large, double storey and mainly 8 cars long [] but even with that they are almost silent as they approach.

    Secondly, even if you see a train, the stopping distance is so long that if you trip, fall, whatever while it is approaching, it won't likely stop in time to not hit you.

    Finally, you would be surprised about how many accidents involving people and trains are not accidents at all.

    The Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE) suggests that the main issues for rail safety in Australia are suicides, level crossing accidents and pedestrians struck by trains (BTRE 2002).

    This is directly from a report published using data obtained [] (link to full PDF) from our Bereau of Transportation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @01:13AM (#34638124)
    Blind people you fool. What about them, huh?
  • Re:Really dumb idea (Score:5, Informative)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @01:35AM (#34638258)

    Have you worked in a construction site? The sound of a truck 25 feet away backing up in your direction is much more noticable than a truck 100 feet away. The warning sound is especially useful in a busy construction zone where you have trucks in front, behind and to the side of you and you're concentrating on your task at hand, so you're not always facing the truck that is backing up toward you. The backup alarm is typically a directional horn - it is much more noticeable directly behind the truck than to the side.

    Likewise, if you hear a cacophony of electric car noises, that probably means that there are a lot of electric cars in that direction so you should pay attention.

    High tech solutions like a transponder and receiver have many failure points. A speaker is easy to hear, easy to verify that it's working, and the recipient (which could be a child, a bicyclist, or just a distracted pedestrian) doesn't need to buy and care for a transponder receiver.

  • by musicalmicah ( 1532521 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @02:42AM (#34638586)

    "A biker can turn on a dime, stop on a dime, and swerve in the blink of an eye."

    What? Have you ever ridden a bike?

    I got into a biking accident last month - an oncoming SUV took a left turn in front of me. I slammed on my brakes, turned my front wheel to skid, and still smashed into its side at normal cruising speed. Luckily I just had a couple scrapes and a gash in the inside of my lip, but the reality is, most bicyclists can't stop easily, and usually when they do have to make a hard stop, it's flesh and/or bone against a solid surface.

  • Re:Hell, NO! (Score:4, Informative)

    by __aagmrb7289 ( 652113 ) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @11:25AM (#34641382) Journal
    I know that normally, this being Slashdot, you can say "read the..." and know, with confidence, that you are scoring a well deserved point - even if you didn't bother to do so yourself. Sorry, bud, but let's look at that source article. Here are some choice quotes:

    "The purpose of the study is to compare the crash experience of two different types of vehicles; it is not to make national estimates of problem size. The small sample size used in this study remains as a limitation towards conducting further analysis. Incidence rates provided in this report should be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size. Future analysis using larger sample size would provide better estimate of the problem size."

    "This analysis was conducted on a total of 8,387 HEVs and 559,703 ICE vehicles that met the selection criteria. A total of 77 and 3,578 pedestrians were involved in crashes with HEVs and ICE vehicles, respectively. A total of 48 and 1,862 bicyclists were involved in crashes with HEVs and ICE vehicles, respectively."

    Okay, so some important questions that need to be answered, and are not (I mentioned some of these in my first post):

    1. How many people were hurt?
    2. Were people being distracted by something at the time of the accident?
    3. Are there any other external factors that were controlled for? (the list of controls are extremely poor, including things like location, and time of day, but not weather, ACTUAL lighting conditions, busy-ness of the location, time of week, etc.)

    Point is, the study authors recognize their study is crap - they suggest a good study be conducted based on their evidence - that's IT. There isn't anything here to base a stupid new policy on. This is why politicians are rightly made fun of. This is why reasonable people sneer at shit like this, and get pissed when it actually passes. "Think of the pedestrian" you say - well, I say "Think. Period."

Overload -- core meltdown sequence initiated.