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Feds want noisier hybrids, electric vehicles by design

January 7, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Hybrids and electric cars are supposed to be the vehicles of the future. They're clean burning, fuel efficient and quiet - really quiet.

In fact, they can be a hazard. Maybe not to your ears, but certainly to the rest of your body.

"I have friends who are blind and they have said that with that it's very hard when they're trying to cross the crosswalk," said Glendale resident Lindsay Ackerman.

That's why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a rule requiring automakers to make electrics and hybrids noisier. Specifically, the cars, which are virtually silent when moving at less than 18 mph, would have to make noises whenever traveling under that speed.

So, after decades spent trying to make cars quieter, automakers have apparently been too successful. The public now has 60 days to comment on the rule proposal, which means just two months left to make some noise about making more noise.