• History Repeats: Hybrids Target of Legislation

History Repeats: Hybrids Target of Legislation
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When it was new, the motorcar was the target of politicians seeking the limelight. Some things, though, never change.

Reminiscent of the law that required an automobile to be preceded by a walking man waving a red flag to warn the horses, Reps. Edolphus Towns and Cliff Stearns, Democrat and Republican respectively, have introduced legislation in Congress that would target hybrids and electrically powered cars. The problem, you see, is that they’re too quiet.

So, automobiles – long the target of legislators claiming that mufflers are too loud – should no longer seek not to disturb. Gone will be the day when Rolls-Royce could proudly claim that “at 60 mph, the loudest sound you hear is the ticking of the clock.”

To the contrary, according to the Congressmen, “[t]he beneficial trend toward more environmentally friendly cars has had the unintended effect of placing the blind and other pedestrians in danger.”

(more after the jump)

Their solution? Naturally: have the Transportation conduct a two year study and then make rules, er, “safety standards.”\

This from the same people who outlawed incandescent light bulbs and never have to walk.

Why don’t they have to walk? Because, several decades ago, at the cost of megamillions, Congress had a subway built to convey them from their office building to the Capitol.

And, oh yes, the usual suspects are already jumping on the bandwagon. NHTSA plans to have “listening sessions” addressing the problem, by which they mean they’re going to let people talk – not that they’re going to cup their ears for a Prius. And the evergreen whiner, Clarence Ditlow of the “Center for Auto Safety,” an insurance industry organization dedicated to finding ways to claim cars are dangerous so the companies can raise rates on you, favors legislation. After all, he says, we have bells on crosswalk signals.

It is odd, though, that none of them have thought of the historically obvious solution.

Just have a man walking ahead of the hybrid, yelling at the pedestrians.

Ralph Kalal
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