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Update on silent cars

I know several readers are following the hybrid/electric car issue. Some of these cars actually don't make noise, making them hard for those of us with limited or no vision to know they're coming, or tell how fast they're moving. Here's a press release on the next thing happening.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:Chris Danielsen

Public Relations Specialist National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, ext. 2330 (410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.org

MEDIA ADVISORY

National Federation of the Blind to Speak at NHTSA Public Meeting on Dangers Posed by Silent Vehicle Technology

The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, will speak at a public meeting to be held on Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation on the dangers posed to the blind and other pedestrians by silent engine technology used in new vehicles, such as hybrid automobiles.

Date: Monday, June 23, 2008
Time: 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Place: Grand Hyatt Washington
1000 H Street, NW.
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 637-4764

Because blind pedestrians cannot locate and evaluate traffic using their vision, they must listen to traffic to discern its speed, direction, and other attributes in order to travel safely and independently. Other people, including pedestrians who are not blind, cyclists, runners, and small children, also benefit from hearing the sound of vehicle engines. New vehicles, especially those that employ hybrid or electric engine technology, can be silent, rendering them extremely dangerous in situations where vehicles and pedestrians come into proximity with each other. The National Federation of the Blind advocates the establishment of a minimum sound standard for all new vehicles sold and licensed in the United States.

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About the National Federation of the Blind
With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States. The NFB improves blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence. It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation's blind. In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.

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