Should Hybrids Have a Noise Button?

There has been a lot of talk lately over hybrids and the fact that they could be hazardous to blind people. Quite frankly I think it’s a bit absurd. If we’re going to use the logic that hybrids are too quiet and cause a threat to blind folks, then we need to use the following logic as well: The Toyota FJ Cruiser is so hideous that it can cause permanent eyesight damage to those folks who have full use of their eyes. Sound ridiculous? Well of course it does.

The hybrid / blind people argument stems from the fact that many hybrids can drop into electric-only mode, and are nearly silent when moving. Since blind folks have to rely on their hearing to avoid being run over, this can cause a problem. I, not being blind, have trouble understanding why blind folks are wandering around town without any assistance. Shouldn’t they have a companion, or a seeing eye dog to assist with not being run over?

Adding noise to a hybrid is a foolish idea. Cities are too loud as it is – replacing some gas only cars with hybrids helps fuel usage and pollution of course, but it also helps reduce noise levels. Adding back in the sound simply compounds the problem, rather than helping to relieve it.

Published on October 24, 2007 in Hybrids

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