FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Public Relations Specialist
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind to Convene Historic Quiet Car Panel in Dallas

Member of Congress, Leading Automobile Industry Representatives to Address Nearly Three Thousand Blind Americans

The National Federation of the Blind announced today that a major portion of the agenda of its upcoming national convention will be dedicated to solving the problems posed to blind pedestrians by silent vehicle technology.  On the afternoon of Wednesday, July 2–the opening day of the National Federation of the Blind convention in Dallas, Texas–leading representatives of the automobile industry as well as United States Congressman Ed Towns of New York, the sponsor of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2008 (H.R. 5734), will address the nearly three thousand blind Americans attending the convention.  In addition to Congressman Towns, the convention will hear from Deborah Kent Stein, chairperson of the Committee on Automobile and Pedestrian Safety of the National Federation of the Blind; Robert S. Strassburger, vice president, Vehicle Safety and Harmonization, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers; and Daniel J. Selke, chairperson, Safety and Human Factors Committee, Society of Automotive Engineers.

Date:   Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Time:   3:15 - 4:10 p.m.
Place:  Chantilly Ballroom,
           Hilton Anatole Hotel,
           2201 Stemmons Freeway,
           Dallas, Texas 75207

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 automobiles sold and licensed in the United States.