RE: Momentum Toward Solving the Quiet Cars Crisis

Year: 
2008
Resolution Number: 
2008-02

RESOLUTION 2008-02
RE: Momentum Toward Solving the Quiet Cars Crisis

WHEREAS, the blind rely on the sound made by motor vehicles to determine when it is safe to cross streets and driveways, traverse parking lots, and otherwise be aware of when moving vehicles are present; and

WHEREAS, since 2003 the National Federation of the Blind has expressed deep concerns about the safety of the blind and other pedestrians due to the silencing of motor vehicles, particularly those hybrid and other electric vehicles that use batteries instead of combustion engines; and

WHEREAS, since 2003 silent vehicles have proliferated and the collective experience of the blind with them has heightened our concerns about their threat to the blind and other pedestrians; and

WHEREAS, for much of the time since 2003, the Federation has sought to collaborate with organizations that can ensure that motor vehicles make a sound while in operation, but our requests have gone unheeded; and

WHEREAS, recently, individuals and organizations who have the ability to ensure that motor vehicles emit a sound that will allow the blind and other pedestrians to travel safely have begun to work with us to address our concerns, giving us hope that a solution is on the horizon; and

WHEREAS, a car manufacturer, General Motors, visited the National Center for the Blind to discuss blind people’s concerns about quiet cars; and

WHEREAS, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has both held and participated in meetings about our concerns regarding the silent nature of certain motor vehicles and has expressed interest in working for a solution to the problem of what sound should be emitted by motor vehicles; and

WHEREAS, the Society of Automotive Engineers International has created a committee to explore recommendations for establishing a minimum sound standard for vehicles; and

WHEREAS, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration held a hearing at which the Federation testified on June 23, 2008, to gather information about the effect of silent motor vehicles on blind and other pedestrians; and

WHEREAS, in 2008 Congressmen Ed Towns (D-NY) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL) introduced HR 5734, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2008, which would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to convene a study of the silent motor vehicle problem and, within ninety days of the study's end, establish a vehicle safety standard that implements the results of the study, and, two years after the safety standard is implemented, all new cars sold in the United States would be required to comply with the standard: NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2008, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that this organization express appreciation for the interest shown by General Motors, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Society of Automotive Engineers International, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for their dialog with us to find a solution to the real crisis posed by silent and quiet cars, but emphatically urge these entities to take significant, demonstrable steps toward solving the challenges posed to blind and other pedestrians by silent cars; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge Congress to pass legislation as the surest way to establish standards that allow the blind and other pedestrians to identify the presence, direction, and velocity of vehicles.

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