Electric Cars Dangerously Quiet; Lawmakers Propose Gasoline-Powered "Noisemakers"
Washington, D.C. - On Tuesday, legislators in the House will take up the issue of electric cars. Electric cars are virtually silent, since they lack a gasoline-powered engine. Some worry that this lack of noise could pose a danger to pedestrians.
"What’s the point of reducing our foreign oil dependence if electric cars run us all over before the oil is gone? If I’m crossing the street and I can’t hear the cars driving past me, that’s a real danger," Rep. Eric Cantor (R - Virginia) said.
When asked if people could just be more careful when on streets and in parking lots, Cantor replied, “That’s exactly the kind of nanny state the American people don’t want. We can’t tell our citizens which way to look. That’s a decision they want to make on their own.”
Cantor has introduced a bill to require electric cars to include a form of a “noisemaker”. This bill would mandate that all automakers selling electric cars in the United States include a noise-making device. The bill provides few particulars about the requirements: the decibel level must be a minimum of 60 decibles at a full stop and 70 decibles above 20 MPH. Other than that, the specifics are left to the manufacturers.
"We don’t want to tell manufacturers what to do, we just want to provide for the safety of our citizens," added Rep. Michele Bachmann (R - Minnesota). "Plus, the way the bill is written automakers can customize the noise output relative to the power of the car. Then Americans would be able to choose what level of noise was right for them."
When asked how automakers could accomplish this variation between cars, Bachmann responded, “I think it’s pretty simple. You put a gasoline engine next to the electric motor that gets louder as the car accelerates. The more powerful the car, the bigger the gasoline engine. Pedestrians are safer and carmakers don’t need to invent fancy new noisemaking technology.”
When asked for comment on the proposed bill, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D - California) sighed loudly, shook her head, and appeared to bang it against her desk.
The bill will be presented to the House on Tuesday.