Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More Proof That Tradeoffs Are Everywhere: Blind People Don't Like The New, Quiet Hybrid Cars

How could anyone not like hybrid cars? They use less gas so there is less pollution and we conserve on a scarce resource. But they are so quiet that they may pose a threat to blind people who cannot hear them. The blind often use audio or noise cues to know if there are cars nearby. So the National Federation of the Blind wants regulations mandating that hybrid cars make some kind of easily identifiable noise. The article on this is called Blind people: Hybrid cars pose hazard. Here is the intro:

"Gas-electric hybrid vehicles, the status symbol for the environmentally conscientious, are coming under attack from a constituency that doesn't drive: the blind.

Because hybrids make virtually no noise at slower speeds when they run solely on electric power, blind people say they pose a hazard to those who rely on their ears to determine whether it's safe to cross the street or walk through a parking lot."

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