Release Date: 
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
John G. Paré Jr.
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2371
(410) 913-3912 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Comments on Maryland Clean Car Acts

Annapolis, Maryland (February 6, 2007): Officials of the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind commented today on legislation being considered in the Maryland General Assembly that would endorse more environmentally friendly vehicles.

Dr. Michael Gosse, who serves as President of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland and has a doctorate in electrical engineering, said: “Hybrid and electric cars can be dangerous for all pedestrians, but they are particularly hazardous to the blind because we rely on traffic noise to navigate safely and efficiently, and these cars make almost no sound at all when they are running on electric power.  It is critical to the continued independence of blind travelers that the General Assembly addresses this problem as it considers putting more of these vehicles on Maryland roads.  We’ve asked lawmakers to require that these vehicles emit some kind of sound if they are to be sold in Maryland.  Such a requirement will not place an onerous burden on car manufacturers or raise the price of these cars for consumers.  I’m quite sure that the engineers at these companies can easily solve this problem and that the cost of doing so will be negligible.  The blind of Maryland want a better environment as much as everybody else, but there’s no need for us to pay for it with our lives.”

Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind is not opposed to more efficient and environmentally friendly automobiles.  Pedestrian safety, however, must be taken into account when these vehicles are designed and manufactured.  We hope that the Maryland General Assembly will set a good example for the nation by requiring these vehicles to emit a reasonable level of sound.”