Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Silent but deadlies

Here's more on auto industry fears about silent hybrid and electric autos that sneak up on you unheard.

And what about us deaf pedestrians? Isn't anybody looking out for us? We can't hear noisy gas-powered cars -- how do you expect us to know when a silent-but-deadly hybrid is almost upon us?

I know what you're going to say: What difference does it make?

And our response is: Hearing folks, get over yourselves. Use the old Mark One Eyeball on that otherwise useless swivel known as your head. That's what we deaf folks do, and it works for us.

When was the last time you heard about a car hitting a deaf pedestrian? Come on, have you ever?

As for blind pedestrians, the National Highway Safety people say that in 2008 the United States suffered 4,700 pedestrian deaths . . . of which 5 were unsighted people. (Not one was killed by a Prius.) Where's the fire?

Finally, for hearing pedestrians, there's the horn button, which has purposes other than allowing drivers to vent their road rage.

In my humble but irascible opinion, soundmakers for silent cars are nothing more than transparent attempts to relieve drivers of their responsibility to stay alert, yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks and keeping a weather eye out for jaywalkers.

Far more lives would be saved if cell phones behind the wheel were banned -- and the ban enforced with substantial fines.

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