One of the inherent positives for those gas guzzling vehicles is the sound of their internal combustion engine. This alone can often act as a warning signal for pedestrians and cyclists to get out of the way. In the wake of some hefty debate about safety issues related to the silence of hybrid and electric vehicles, President Obama has just signed legislation mandating that all vehicles on the road must make some noise.

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“The blind, like all pedestrians, must be able to travel to work, to school, to church, and to other places in our communities, and we must be able to hear vehicles in order to do so,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. “This law, which is the result of collaboration among blind Americans, automobile manufacturers, and legislators, will benefit all pedestrians for generations to come as new vehicle technologies become more prevalent,” he added.

The legislation is lovingly titled the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 and was spearheaded by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. It was helped along by members of The National Federation for the Blind, also backed by the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Already, the Nissan Leaf makes a sound to warn pedestrians when it is traveling at slow speeds, and the Chevy Volt has a driver operated chirping sound to warn pedestrians. Now that the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act has been signed into law, the Secretary of Transportation is required to research and report to Congress on how much sound a car must generate in order to make it safe. Only time will tell if chirping will do the trick.

Via Torque News