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Hybrid, electric vehicles to become louder for pedestrian safety

Posting in Energy

The House approved a bill that would make electric and hybrid cars louder in the name of pedestrian safety. The Senate approved a version last week and now it goes to President Obama's desk.

The House on Thursday approved a bill that would make electric and hybrid cars louder in the name of pedestrian safety.

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) sponsored the bill. The Senate approved a version last week and now it goes to President Obama's desk.

Under the proposed legislation, auto regulators would have to set minimum sound levels for hybrid and electric vehicles. With some additional noise, blind pedestrians will be able to hear them coming and travel more safely.

Stearns said the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act will protect the blind, children and joggers who need to hear traffic.

The House approved the bill 379 to 30. If the bill is signed by Obama there will be a study to "determine the minimum amount of sound necessary" to alert pedestrians. The Department of Transportation will enact the noise regulations within 18 months.

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure