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Japan Thinking of Making Quiet Hybrids Noisy

Hybrid electric cars are great not only for cutting down on carbon emissions, but also on reducing noise pollution. When a hybrid car such as the Toyota Prius is running on its electric motor, the operation is near silent when compared to the traditional sounds of a petrol or diesel engine.

While most people find a quieter car a good thing, those who are visually impaired – and rely on sounds to inform them of their environment – see the silent cars as a hazard.

As a result, the Japanese transport ministry is now reviewing on whether or not to add noise-making devices onto otherwise quiet hybrids so that visually impaired pedestrians will know of their presence.

"We have received opinions from automobile users and vision-impaired people that they feel hybrid vehicles are dangerous," a transport ministry official said in an AFP story.

The transport ministry put together a panel of scholars, vision-impaired groups, consumers, police and the automobile industry to consider the issue and decided this week that a "sound making function" could be the solution.

"On the other hand, we should pay attention to residents (along roads) as hybrids are excellent in reducing noise," the official added.

The panel has yet to discuss what sort of noise would be added to the car, but I wouldn't be opposed to hybrids that go "quack quack."

  • IronRyan21
    Thats why blind people should get a doggy.
  • "those who are visually impaired SEE the silent cars as a hazard"
    Nice choice of words there.
  • 08nwsula
    just put some baseball cards in the spokes
  • lifelesspoet
    whistle tips, bubb rubb FTW
  • jerther
    wth, first people complained cars were too noisy and now they're not enough...

    There's no way to please everyone.
  • jerther
    I guess this is a test to get the most negative rating :P

    But you make a point, and especially in those regions, people almost overuse their horn, but they do so for what they're made for: warn.

    Damnit this is so stupid. Everytime we get an exciting new technology, there is a minority that will go against it.
  • computabug
    Jerther@computabugI guess this is a test to get the most negative ratingYea, apparently the majority of the population is stupid...
  • tjf311
  • Core2uu
    Why the hell are these people allowed to DRIVE then??? I think THEY are more a hazard to the general public than the silent hybrids are...
  • thejerk
    at least visually impaired people have a more acute sense of hearing, so these noise-makers do not have to be all that loud to be more obvious to both humans and guide dogs.