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Kerry Wins Key Committee Vote on Effort to Protect the Blind

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), today applauded the Senate Commerce Committee for passing his proposal to help improve the safety of blind pedestrians threatened at crosswalks by "silent" vehicles.

"It would be irresponsible if the best new technology to protect the environment inadvertently endangered the blind," said Sen. Kerry. "I'm a longtime champion of developing environmentally friendly technology in our vehicles, and we can do that while ensuring that all pedestrians, particularly those with limited or no vision, can hear them and stay safe."

Because blind pedestrians cannot assess traffic using their vision, they must listen to traffic in order to travel safely and independently. Senator Kerry's Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to establish a minimum sound requirement for hybrid and electric vehicles to alert pedestrians to their approach. Kerry first introduced this legislation in April 2009. A September 2009 study found that hybrid electric vehicles were twice as likely to be involved in an accident with a pedestrian or a cyclist during very low-speed maneuvers.

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