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The Silence of the Volts

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: A government safety agency is very upset.  Do you know that electric cars don't make any noise?  If you get in your Chevy Volt and drive down the road, and low-information voters are crossing the street, you run right into 'em 'cause they don't hear you.  They can be looking right at you in your Chevy Volt or your Tesla, whatever it is you've got, your electric car, but it doesn't make any noise.  So while a low-information voter is pointing at your car and admiring it, you run him down. 

"A government safety agency wants electric and hybrid vehicles to make more noise when traveling at low speeds so pedestrians [and low-information voters] can hear them coming. The cars and trucks, which are far quieter than [evil] conventional gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles, don't make enough noise at low speeds to warn [low-information] walkers, bicyclists and the visually impaired, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday in a statement.

"The proposed rule would require the cars to make additional noise at speeds under 18 miles per hour. NHTSA says the cars make enough noise to be heard at higher speeds. Automakers would be able to pick the sounds that the cars make from a range of choices." So what would happen is that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would make a database available of acceptable noises that your car could make.

Then your car manufacturer would choose from that database which sound their car would make.  There would be a range of choices. Boy, is this freedom or what?  It's like picking a ring tone on your cell phone or it's like choosing the voice that speaks to you on your computer.  Isn't this cool?  And it's the government making this possible because they really care about us.  "Similar vehicles would have to make the same sounds. And the government says pedestrians must be able to hear the sounds over background noises.

"The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule. The agency will use public input to craft a final rule. NHTSA estimates that the new noise" programmed into these cars "would prevent 2,800 [low-information] pedestrian and cyclist injuries during the life of each model year of electric and hybrid vans, trucks and cars."  Who knew that these things were death machines?  I bet nobody stopped to think about this!

When they started putting together the electric car and designing it, I'll bet nobody stopped to think, "You know what?  Low-information voters are not gonna be able to hear these things at low speeds." But thankfully the government, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thought this through. So now there will be a database of acceptable noise that the manufacturer can choose from.

I assume you get to participate in choosing what noise your car makes. I do not have a list of the noises.  I don't know what noises they'll be. What noises could they be?  What noises do standard, regular killer cars make?  You'd hear the sound of the engine, or occasionally somebody might toot the horn.  But, I mean, you got all kinds of possibilities here.

People could be really creative with the noise.  Imagine giving their car a voice so that under 18 miles an hour your car actually starts talking, making sure that low-information voters on the sidewalk don't cross the street in front of you and get wiped out.  By the way, this rule is required by the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, and that law was passed by Congress in 2010. (I didn't hear about that law, either.)

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RUSH: Here's Victor, Silver Spring, Maryland, great to have you on the EIB Network.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hey, Rush, it's good to talk to you again.

RUSH:  Thank you, sir, very much.

CALLER:  I'm the blind guy you heard on C-SPAN a number of years ago. When you talked about the cars earlier, I was one of the people that pushed for the cars to make some kind of noise because I don't see well enough to judge traffic, and I depend totally on the sound to know when it's safe to cross the street.

RUSH:  Well, that would make total sense to me.  You're almost blind, I remember you.

CALLER:  Right.

RUSH:  You're almost blind, so you can't really see if something's oncoming, and if you can't hear it, you're at a double disadvantage.

CALLER:  Exactly.

RUSH:  Well, what kind of noise do you want these electric cars to make?  What kind of noise would alert you that it's a car?

CALLER:  They could do a sound effect of a regular engine, for example, slowing down or speeding up, whatever is convenient.

RUSH:  So maybe when you hit 18 miles an hour or less, the computer kicks on the sound effects of an engine speeding up?

CALLER:  Or slowing down.

RUSH:  Yeah, but speeding up I think would be better because that would alert you.  Slowing down might give you a sense of security.

CALLER:  I never cross a street until I can hear the traffic going --

RUSH:  You need a revving engine.  That's what you need.  You know, it might be simpler if these people just bought a real car.

CALLER:  Exactly.  But these liberals never think when they propose something. They never think of what could happen, and I had to point out to the liberals I know, "How am I supposed to cross the street safely if these cars don't make any noise?"

RUSH:  That's a good point.  It is an excellent point.  I wouldn'ta thought of it.

CALLER:  A lot of people didn't think of it when they proposed --

RUSH:  Do you have a seeing eye dog or any kind of an assistant?

CALLER:  No, I use a cane.

RUSH:  Well, a cane's not gonna help you stop a car.

CALLER:  No.  But at least it will tell the other drivers that I am blind and look out.

RUSH:  Do you wear a sign, any kind of indication that says "I can't see"?

CALLER:  No, the white cane is the identification mark that shows people that I have a vision problem.

RUSH:  Is that universally known?

CALLER:  Yes.

RUSH:  Yeah.  You know, maybe the car could make noises like Donna Summer did.

CALLER:  Yeah?

RUSH:  If you're crossing the street and you hear, "Love to love you, baby."

CALLER:  I hear people, you know, with their car radios blasting so I know the traffic is stopped when I hear that radio and it's not moving.

RUSH:  Yeah.  Well, look, I'm glad you called, Victor.  I appreciate the crucial input there on that story.  In case you missed it, the government has decided electric cars are too quiet. They pose a threat to people who can't hear them coming, not just the blind, but anybody.  So they're thinking of requiring electric cars, after they hit 18 miles an hour or less, to make noise.  And the auto manufacturers are going to be given a list of noises approved and accepted by the government that they will put in the car that then the driver can apparently choose from.  I mean, do we got a great government or what?  Really love us, thinking about us like this. We take it too for granted, I think. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: What about bicycles?  Shouldn't bicycles make noise? How many people get hit by bicycles, especially in New York? A little bell would do. Something has got to be done. 

END TRANSCRIPT

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