Washington, D.C. – A new bill presented to the U.S. government is intended to protect the blind and other pedestrians from injury or death as a result of “silent” vehicle technology, including hybrids and electric vehicles.

The bill requires the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study on how to protect the blind and others from being injured or killed by vehicles using hybrid, electric, and other silent engine technologies.

Because blind pedestrians cannot locate and evaluate traffic by vision, they listen to discern its speed, direction and other attributes. Others, such as bicyclists, runners and small children also benefit from hearing the sound of vehicle engines. Silent technology renders these vehicles extremely dangerous in situations where vehicles and pedestrians come into proximity with each other.

“I’m a major proponent of hybrid vehicles,” said Senator John Kerry, who co-introduced the bill with Arlen Specter. “I own one, I drive one, and I’ve seen firsthand their environmental and economic benefits. The market is demanding new technologies in the auto industry, and Americans are demanding we finally kick our foreign oil addiction. As we continue to promote our energy independence, however, we must do more to ensure the safety of those who use senses other than sight to navigate the roads.”

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