[This post is totally unrelated to my previous criticisms of the Toyota Prius as an Hybrid-Electric Vehicle.]
The Story: An 8 year old boy, doesn't look both ways on his bike, rides out into the street and gets hit by a car. The boy isn't seriously injured but does end up on the car's hood with some nasty cuts and bumps. Sounds like an everyday near tragedy...
The Controversy: The car that hit him was a Toyota Prius. The reason he rode into the street is that he claimed he never even heard it coming. This brings up a long brewing controversy about minimum noise levels for vehicles. In the days that cars were first produced it was believed that a vehicle's noise was so loud and harmful to the ears neighborhoods and cities passed laws on when and where a car could be driven. Now, however, vehicles are getting better and better sound damping technologies and can even run silently (on batteries) which is cause the health hazard described above, people not hearing vehicles approaching and putting themselves at risk.
Left Lane News: News Story Here
Left Lane News: Fisker Karma Uses Speakers to produce engine sound
USA Today: Blind People Complain about threats from Silent "Hybrids"