Obama Signs Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act
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With the auto industry relying more and more on green technologies, including hybrids and electric vehicles, which are replacing traditional combustion engines with new, electric motors, blind people are more prone to accidents since their only way to guide on the street is by hearing the sound of vehicle engines.
"The National Federation of the Blind is pleased that this critical legislation has been signed into law, preserving the right to safe and independent travel for the blind," said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind.
"The blind, like all pedestrians, must be able to travel to work, to school, to church, and to other places in our communities, and we must be able to hear vehicles in order to do so. This law, which is the result of collaboration among blind Americans, automobile manufacturers, and legislators, will benefit all pedestrians for generations to come as new vehicle technologies become more prevalent. We look forward to working with the Department of Transportation throughout the regulatory process."
The new law, approved back in December, calls for a minimum sound level to be generated by electric vehicles in order to be heard by pedestrians. Still, US officials must decided on what the "minimum" level must actually mean when building a silent engine in order to allow the two main competitors, Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, to comply with the requirements.
But Nissan has already revealed its intentions to equip the car with an alerting technology, while General Motors has also said it is looking into ways of offering such a feature.
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