Not long ago, the federal government announced plans to mandate backup cameras for all vehicles.
Now President Barack Obama has signed the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, which will require vehicles to make some minimum level of noise so blind people will be aware of electric vehicles.
This is another stupid idea. I am in favor of protecting citizens and pedestrians, but making a car or truck noisy isn't going to solve the problem.
I can just see the day when some automaker brags that a gasoline-powered vehicle was so quiet that it needed a noise-making machine to meet the law.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration must determine what the noise level ought to be and then write a safety regulation that vehicles must meet.
I have a great deal of sympathy for individuals with limited or no sight. But making cars and trucks louder is not going to make it safer for the blind to avoid pedestrian accidents. I also am convinced that -- as is the case with child deaths -- no one dares criticize what the government is trying to do, whether or not it will make a difference.
There are certain hot buttons that make debate impossible. Anything dealing with the safety of children or blind people is impossible to discuss.
Today's cars have been designed to be as quiet as possible. I have not heard any criticism that engineers have done a disservice to the sightless people of our nation and should stop their efforts to make vehicles quieter.
It is the responsibility of the driver to be aware of pedestrians. Trying to make the vehicle the culprit seems foolish at best.
It is impossible to build a vehicle so safe that it protects its occupants and all pedestrians from any harm. As long as there is a driver, we must acknowledge his or her responsibility to control the vehicle. Regardless of the intentions, government cannot mandate complete safety and remove the driver from any responsibility. That is simply wrong.
We have to make the vehicle as safe as possible within certain economic constraints, and we cannot remove the driver from the equation. Safer cars and trucks must always be the goal of the manufacturer. The challenge is for the driver to act safely as well.