Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Truth is dumber than fiction.

Once upon a time, I had a neighbor who bought a Prius. "Wow!" we all exclaimed, "that thing sure is quiet!" We thought that this was peachy, as it helped preserve the tranquil and bucolic nature of our surroundings.

Obviously we'd never make it as politicians in California, a job that requires superhuman talent for picking fly poop out of pepper and finding the gray cloud around any silver lining.

The professional hand-wringers and worrywarts in Sacramento heard, or rather didn't hear, the same thing we did and immediately went looking for a downside. Preferably one that required busybody legislation to fix it.

They have apparently decided that these very quiet cars are a hazard to blind people and inattentive morons that stray into the street. Did they do the sensible thing and conclude that this was a splendid way to thin the herd? (Assuming that being nudged by a nerfwagen Prius blistering along at a furlong per fortnight has any herd-thinning properties...) Heck, no! There oughtta be a law to protect inattentive morons and blind people who meander into the street from the ravages of slow-moving ecoweenies in their chi-chi granolamobiles!

So let it be written, so let it be done.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, My boss got pulled over for speeding in one of those. They can in fact move pretty handily.

Since then we rag on him continually that he got pulled over because the Cop could not believe you could get one past the speed limit.

Jeff said...

I so hope the Governator has the sense to ash-can this one. If he's got an ounce of common sense left...

That quiet is a feature, a BENEFIT, not a flaw to be fixed.

Just think if all the semis were that quiet. We'd be able to hear the crickets at night. :)

Can you hear the interstate over there in BR?

B&N said...

Doesn't that weenie-mobile come with a horn?

Jeezis. One day it's about noise pollution, the next it's about "noise vacuum."

Summary execution of all politicians caught engaging in such activities would not be a bad thing.

OrangeNeckInNY said...

What sound do you suppose they'd implement on these hybrids? I know, how about the sound of the other shoe dropping?

Erik said...

How about hanging a cowbell from the bumper?
Combine that with a "cowhorn" that makes the occasional "Mooooo!", every 30sec or so, and the car should be up to code.
And the sound is "environmentally friendly" too... :-)

Then, they need to fix the exhaust to smell more natural too...

ngvrnd said...

You know, just the other day I was thinking, when (if) there really are electric vehicles, people are going to get hurt because of the silence. I used to work at a robotics company where we automated a John Deere electric Gator, and the problem with the thing was, it could be hard to tell when it was "safe".

And then I thought, oh, there will be laws. They'll probably mandate some sort of engine noise generator or a beeper, or flashing running lights. SIGH

TJH said...

"The measure would establish a committee to study the issue and recommend ways the vehicles could make more noise."

My recommendation: 426 Hemi. No cat or mufflers.

Follow up question: Is your seeing-eye dog blind and deaf as well?

Anonymous said...

They need to be playing the music form jaws as they sneek up on people.

perlhaqr said...

Oh, excellent. I was worried I'd get pulled over after I built the hybrid car I was thinking of, powered by a helicopter GPU turbine generator. But it should be loud enough for them.

homebru said...

I want one that sounds like the Jetson's car.

Old Grouch said...

Pac-Man music.

Legman688 said...

I cannot say that your snark against the blind pleases me. My neighbor here at Texas A&M happens to be stone blind, and is also one of the most awesome people I've ever met. In fact she's pursuing a Master's in Communications of all things (I also think she's crazy).

Coincidentally, she is in fact from California - Diego, actually.

The thing is, the blind often have dogs or people, etc., when they are out and about. And drivers are SUPPOSED to pay attention as well. However, I think the real money quote is right here:

"Officials say they don't keep statistics on pedestrian accidents involving those vehicles."

Gee, maybe you should do some actual research to see of this new law is actually necessary? No, we'll just pass some interfering nanny-state legislation to make sure no one could possibly get hurt, but cause a lot of potentially unnecessary expense and bother to folks.

Anyway, I will ask my neighbor what she thinks when she gets back today.

Mike W. said...

I heard this on the radio this morning.... only in California.

As usual, a solution in search of a problem.

Tam said...

legman688,

It wasn't particularly snark against the blind, it was more snark against politicians. Even blind politicians.

But as I've said before, stick around long enough and I'll say something to offend everybody.

the pawnbroker said...

i ordered one of those tiny mercedes smart cars in order to flip it on ebay to make a buck...in the 2 days i had it i put a few hundred miles on it with it's 3 cyl 90 hp minimotor.

somehow they made it sound like a muted version of an old brit open roadster as the autoclutch went through the gears...pretty cool for a vehicle that can park sideways in a parking space...i guess they could put a prerecorded version of that on the prius; the blind folks could hear it coming a block away, and it might even fire a spark in the brain of the pod driving the prius.

jtc

p.s...that wasn't good enough for tam, of course; she wanted a smart car like this:

http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com/2008/06/ten-different-kinds-of-wrong.html

me too...but the smart is hard to get and has a year-plus wait unless you want to pay an extra couple grand (hence my profit motive)...so with all these priusi running around, let's get some huyabusa motors hooked up to 'em; those blind f'ers will hear them okay, but by then it'll be too late...

you say those screamin' hybrid-hybrids won't be eco-friendly? ah, the irony of and unintended but oh, so common-nonsensical consequences of .gov in action...

jtc

The Raving Prophet said...

The stupidity of this law is shown by the fact that many cars are absolutely silent while the engine is at low RPMs. The Prius' silence isn't anything new. Try a Honda Accord made in the last 5 years- at low speeds, the only sound is from the tires as they roll and the air as the car pushes through it. The Prius will make those same noises as it moves.

The whole thing just looks like the lawmakers were just looking for an excuse to pass a law, and so much the better if they can do it in the name of some disadvantaged group.

Anonymous said...

There's an intersection nearby with the sounding things for the blind. A constant beep-beep-beep to alert the blind person to the presence of the crosswalk, the Wait when you push the cross button, and the Garden Avenue walk sign is on to cross.

I have seen one blind person in the vicinity and another some mile away, so it's not completely without warrant. However:

* The rest of us, particularly the nearby residents, get to hear the sounds, particularly the beeping, 24 hours of the day.
* The other nearby intersections do not feature this, which means the blind have to cross without the accoutrements everywhere else.

No doubt, the "proper" solution is more annoyance for everyone and the expense of the installation everywhere.

Les Jones said...

Quiet, fuel-efficient vehicles: The Silent Killers.

TJH said...

Nor am I posting here to demean the blind. Civilized society has already considered and produced solutions for these problems, or at least addressed the symptoms. That's why I stop at crosswalks and for pedestrians in the road, even though it earned me a nice, unrequested paint touch-up job on my rear bumper--in Connecticut license plate blue.

However, that doesn't stop the onslaught of, "there awtur be a lawr!"

But hey, I'm learning something new every day. All these years I falsely believed that purpose of the law is to keep order. Wrong! Its actual purpose is to make corporeal every paranoia that crouches in the dark corners of the human pysche.

I have a phobia about accidentally killing someone with my car. I should also have my say, based on the principles of "equality" espoused by "progressive" types. That's why I'm sticking behind my solution. No one would ever miss this coming down the street. Shoehorn that in your Toyota, pal, or face fines and jail time.

rick said...

Wire spoke wheels, a clothes pin, and a playing card. Problem solved!

Somerled said...

Paint them red and put a hammer and sickle on all sides. That ought to help.

Jay G said...

I'm guessing these same asshats would bust my ass in a CA minute for the straight pipes on my Electra Glide...

The Armed Canadian said...

If they decide that quiet cars need noisemakers to alert idiots of their presence, may I suggest replicas of the sirens used on Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers?

Loud, effective at scattering crowds and I suspect acceptable to left-leaning individuals who like the idea of government having trains run on time. It would fit right in with the Prius driving crowd.

Carteach0 said...

8.5 on the snark scale.
Didn't snork my iced tea, but did stop swallowing a moment just in case.

Anonymous said...

Since this is to be a gubmint project, they will mandate noisemakers for those Jap stealth go-carts, then the OSHA people will mandate that ear protection must be worn by all blind pedestrians to protect them from the vehicle noise. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

I put a playing card in the wheel of mine, now it makes noise.

Next I'm buying a bell to attach to the steering wheel, and a basket on the front.

Anonymous said...

Innocent Question:

How have blind people been avoiding bicycles and modern quiet cars that are coasting to a stop - or not? ( my subaru couldn't be heard 10ft away in an urban environment at idle when new.)

jimbob86 said...

"Assuming that being nudged by a nerfwagen Prius blistering along at a furlong per fortnight has any herd-thinning properties..."

(Gigglesnort)

.... and her Vorpal Snark went snicker-snack, snicker-snack.

Brian J. said...

Hey, this is California. You're all guessing at individual sounds they'll mandate.

No, no, no! They will mandate a wireless connection between the cars and the capital so your automobile will make whatever sound they want it to, when they want it to.

Mostly, it will just chant Vote for the incumbent.

Anonymous said...

I have a solution!

Give each blind person a sort of low powered radar thing that starts having a vibration conniption when something larg-ish approaches quickish. Stick a tab of something radar reflective on the car. ( infact I'm shocked the police haven't mandated this yet.)


Done.

TBeck said...

Sounds I'd like a Prius to make:

A TIE fighter doppler effect

A cylon's droning

Sound that a Prius in the PRK will make:

A sheep's bleat

Ride Fast said...

[...] Loud pipes save lives [...]

Brian J. said...

Maybe they should mandate that Prius owners need to play their stereos loud with the windows down all the time. The blind will hear them coming and it's a ticketable offense, meaning more revenue for local governments.

Win-win.

GreatBlueWhale said...

I had a '91 Camry that ran so quiet you could sneak up on people. You could stand right beside it and wouldn't know it was running.

I never would have known what a danger I was to blind people and morons if it weren't for the Kalifornia legislature, God bless 'em.

markm said...

Heck, my 1964 Pontiac Bonneville was quiet enough at low speeds to sneak up on people - even with a huge V-8.

That was quite a car. Until gas prices hit $1/gallon while I was only making $1.60/hour...

KD5NRH said...

How about just mounting a ma deuce on top? WIll that be noisy enough?

Anonymous said...

I think a simple short range broadcaster can be installed in the Prius that broadcasts "Smug Alert" louder and louder to the receiver (that the blind person has) as the car gets closer.

Tax those Prius owners for the broadcaster and the receivers to be given away for free to the blind.

Rick T said...

Well, I am of two thoughts on this. First, the bleeping .gov can go to hell with this nanny-state bs.

The other? I damn-near cleaned a hippy on a bike out of the gene pool when he made an abrupt left turn in front of my Escape hybrid... We were in heavy traffic (about 25 mph) and I was running electric, so the major sound from the car was tire noise. I'm pretty sure the dip got a real wakeup when he heard my brakes squeal about 5 ft from his rear wheel....

So maybe making hybrids a little noisier not such a bad idea after all...

I've though about looping the drum riff from the beginning of Van Halen's Hot for Teacher on a PA system that cuts in with the motor....