Monday December 9, 2013
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Am I nuts or is this a stupid idea?
One reason we are looking forward to electric cars if they ever become practical is because they won't make so much noise, but now The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a rule that would require electric cars--if we ever have any--to make more noise.
To warn pedestrians, bicyclists, and the blind.
Is this another dumb new government idea? Not exactly. Back when cars first came out a law was passed requiring the driver of a noisy, smelly automobile who came upon a horse and rider to stop, pull over, and cover his vehicle with a large gray tarpaulin. If he couldn't manage that, he had to disassemble the car so that it would not frighten the horse. Other laws required that each automobile be preceded by a walking man carrying a red lantern which he waved left and right to warn pedestrians.
It would seem that after over a hundred years someone in DC would at last have come to the realization that it is an imperfect world and no number of laws is ever going to change it.
The new regulation, if passed, will require electric cars to make additional noise at speeds under 18 miles per hour. The NHTSA says that they make enough noise to be heard at higher speeds.
Automakers would be able to pick the sounds that the cars make from a range of choices. Similar vehicles would have to make the same sounds, and the government says pedestrians must be able to hear the sounds over background noises.
By the way, they're thinking of doing the same thing with YOUR car too. NHTSA being a typical government bureau--in other words a place that gets more money if it makes more rules--has been wanting to require that cars, which you and I want to be as quiet as possible, to make more noise. Why? Same reason. "Safety," they say. I suspect that what they mean is "job safety for public adminustrators."
The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule, so if you don't want to have to someday pay extra for the noisemaker on your Electromobile. or your old Bronco II, call or write your congressman. NOW!
The rule is required by the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act that was passed by Congress in 2010. Could that law be something we need to get repealed?
Anyway, you know what the rule is actually for. Or do you? a. To allow Washington to control you better. b. As a handout to automakers, who can charge you for something else you don't want.
You know what I mean? Pollution controls that actually end up pulluting more? Seat belts that beep at you? Airbags? Plastic bumpers?
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