The National Federation of the Blind commented today on the issuance of regulations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to implement the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama to protect the blind and other pedestrians from the dangers posed by silent hybrid and electric vehicles.
Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said:
Having raised concerns on behalf of blind Americans about the dangers posed by silent hybrid and electric vehicles, the National Federation of the Blind is extremely pleased that technical specifications for a safe level of sound to be emitted by such vehicles have now been issued.
The full implementation of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 will protect all pedestrians, especially the blind, as well as cyclists. This regulation will ensure that blind Americans can continue to travel safely and independently as we work, learn, shop, and engage in all facets of community life.
Studies conducted by NHTSA indicate that, under certain low-speed scenarios, the odds of hybrid and electric vehicles being involved in collisions with pedestrians are thirty-five percent higher than those for comparable internal combustion engine vehicles and that the odds of hybrid and electric vehicles being involved in collisions with cyclists are fifty-seven percent higher than for comparable internal combustion engine vehicles.
The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act was passed by unanimous consent in the United States Senate and by an overwhelming bipartisan majority vote of 379 to 30 in the House of Representatives. It was signed by President Obama on January 4, 2011.