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Are Electric Cars Too Quiet

January 20th, 2013

Have you ever heard an electric car driving down the street? Chances are you haven’t. And that’s the problem. They’re just too darn quiet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined these vehicles to be too quiet, and therefore a hazard to pedestrians. The theory is, if you are walking down the street, and you step off of the sidewalk to cross the road, you won’t hear this thing coming, because they are so super quiet. While we agree these electric and hybrid vehicles are too quiet, we question why pedestrians can’t use their eyes before crossing the road.

The NHTSA wants these vehicles to meet minimum sound standards so that pedestrians can hear them approaching on them. Of particular concern is the visually impaired pedestrians. Many hybrids do utilize carbon burning fuel powered engines at least some of the time, but when they are running on electric only, the same concerns apply.

Lawmakers and regulators are mainly concerned about noise at low speeds. Their concern is for when the automobiles are traveling at low speeds, perhaps 20 MPH or less. The thought is that on busy city streets is where most pedestrian vs car accidents occur. You typically don’t see pedestrians get hit by autos on major highways. Plus, these vehicle begin to make sufficient noise at higher speeds.

If a pedestrian can sense the presence of an auto, they will be better able to detect, and avoid them. Just how these sounds would be produced, and what kind of sound has yet to be determined. But we suspect auto manufacturers will come up with some innovative ideas.

Personally, we would love to hear a car make the roar of a lion. That would be cool. How ’bout you? What kind of noise would you like to hear a car make?



Distracted Driving – A Growing Concern

March 14th, 2011

Back in the “Good Old Days” as my grandfather used to call them, they didn’t have all these new-fangled contraptions to play with while driving. In his day, they had a radio, (AM only) and a heater. OK, windshield wipers too. But not so many products that they couldn’t concentrate on the task at hand: looking at the road in front of them.
It’s different these days. There’s a plethora of potential distractions that can lead to overload of the senses. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that over 760,000 drivers are not giving the road their complete attention. This is increasingly due to modern electronic appliances meant to increase productivity.
Common culprits are Smart Phones, PDA’s, GPS mapping devices and other personal electronic appliances. Most states have instituted legislation prohibiting the use of these devices while driving, but police still summons countless drivers each year who were involved in an accident because of their lack of attention to the road ahead of them.
Fortunately, car manufacturers are coming up with ways to protect us from ourselves. New technologies are coming that are aimed at decreasing accidents that are caused by driver inattention. When added to a vehicle, these systems can actually prevent accidents by actually slowing the vehicle down or stopping in the event the system senses an obstruction ahead. Moreover, they can also aid in preventing rollovers when the car is turned too quickly by altering the suspension of the car and by altering the steering as well. There are systems to warn a driver who may be dozing off, by waking them up. Plus, there are systems that utilize cameras to warn the driver of things behind them, or in blind spots.
Of course, all this new technology means two things; increasing vehicle costs, and more things that will need to be serviced. Auto shop owners will be pleased with that last fact, as it will create yet another revenue stream.
Hopefully, these advances will prevent your car from making a trip to the auto shop, and being placed on the Four Post Lift.