A car safety Bill (proposed law) was introduced in Congress on April 9, 2008 that intends to protect blind people and other pedestrians from quiet, electric and hybrid cars.   The Bill would require that the Department of Transportation  establish safety standards for hybrids and electric cars that would help alert pedestrians and other people on the road, which could include requiring hybrid and electric cars to emit audible noise to alert people that a car is nearby.   These safety standards could eventually decrease the risk of car accidents occurring between automobiles and pedestrians or cyclists.

The University of California, Riverside has determined that there is a significant risk of a car accident occurring with pedestrians and bicyclists with a hybrid car.  In their ongoing study, they have so far discovered that a slow-moving hybrid car must be 40% closer to a pedestrian or a bicyclist than a regular car with a combustion engine, before they are detected.  This only leaves a couple of seconds for a pedestrian to get out of the way of an impending car accident.

This Bill is very important to the National Federation of the Blind, who pushed for this legislation to protect blind pedestrians from car accidents as they rely on sound to know when to cross a street.   This Bill does not protect just blind pedestrians, however.  It also protects bicyclists and other pedestrians, like the people who are listening to their portable MP3 players as they walk.

However, the Bill would not only protect bicyclists and pedestrians, but it can also help prevent car accidents that can occur because of other inattentive drivers.  For example, in July, a car driver in San Francisco who had recently received the sixth Tesla Roadster, about a $100,000 electric car produced by Tesla Motors out of the nine produced, became involved in a car accident.  The Roadster was rear-ended and ended up underneath the car in front of it.  Supposedly, the new electric car was so quiet that the other car drivers did not notice it.

Our car accident lawyers applaud the introduction of this Bill to Congress, although we are disappointed that nothing further has been done with it.  We hope that Congress does something soon to enact this Bill to protect pedestrians on the road, especially the visually impaired.

Please feel free to call us now at 1-858-551-2090 or you can click here for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney.  We have a large bilingual staff that can assist you in either English or Spanish.  No fee if no recovery.