Release Date: 
Thursday, June 19, 2008
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 Speak at NHTSA Public Meeting on Dangers Posed by Silent Vehicle Technology


The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, will speak at a public meeting to be held on Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation on the dangers posed to the blind and other pedestrians by silent engine technology used in new vehicles, such as hybrid automobiles. 

Date:   Monday, June 23, 2008
Time:   9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Place:  Grand Hyatt Washington
           1000 H Street, NW. 
           Washington, DC 20001
           (202) 637-4764

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 vehicles sold and licensed in the United States.