Hey, look both ways

January 9, 2013

Anyone who had the character-building experience of tooling around in the contraptions that rolled off Detroit assembly lines in the 1970s has to feel an almost religious reverence for the hybrid and electric vehicles on the market right now.

Aside from how well they handle and the savings at the gas pump, they are blessedly quiet. When Detroit was at its nadir, its cars were about as subdued as the denouement of an opera by Wagner.

But now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has pronounced that the hybrid and electric cars are, in fact, too quiet, and wants to require that manufacturers make them louder.

The agency argues that the current whisper-quiet cars pose a threat to bicyclists and pedestrians. Sorry, but we don’t think increasing noise pollution is a good answer to this problem. What will work, in our estimation, is looking both ways before you cross the boulevard.



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