Regulation of the Day 60: Hybrid Car Noise

One advantage of hybrid cars is that they are quiet. Too quiet, some would say. Blind pedestrians may not hear a hybrid coming around the corner until it’s too late.

Car companies are responding to the concern by voluntarily outfitting their hybrid models with fake digital vrooms so pedestrians can hear them as well as conventional cars. There’s a reason car companies were so quick to respond to their customer’s wishes: it’s good for business. One more safety feature is one more selling point to entice potential customers.

Regulators, behind the curve as usual, have introduced the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. If passed, it would make fake vrooms a federal matter. This policy of making mandatory what companies are doing anyway probably originated with the Department of Redundancy Department.