NFB Logo Whozit!

National Federation of the Blind

Committee on Automobile and Pedestrian Safety⁄Quiet Cars

Welcome to the Quiet Cars webpage sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). This page was created in response to concerns among pedestrians, especially pedestrians who are blind, about the growing trend for automobile manufacturers to design extremely quiet vehicles. These vehicles pose a hazard to pedestrians and cyclists, who need to be aware of approaching cars that are out of their line of sight. Children and seniors are likely to be most vulnerable. Quiet vehicles are highly problematic for blind pedestrians, who depend on the sound emitted by cars in order to travel safely and independently.

We all benefit from a less noisy environment, and we applaud the efforts of the automotive industry to control noise pollution. However, we feel strongly that the industry must take measures to insure the safety of blind and sighted pedestrians. We believe that vehicles can be designed to emit an inoffensive sound that will give pedestrians the information they need. We call upon the automotive industry to work with the NFB and other concerned organizations to develop a solution to the pedestrian-safety problems which quiet cars create.

On this page you will find links to published articles about quiet cars and pedestrian safety. You can also read resolutions about quiet cars that have been passed by the NFB and other organizations. We will post news of relevant research and of policy within the auto industry and the government. Finally, we offer a place where you can describe your experiences dealing with quiet cars and share your ideas on how these vehicles can be made pedestrian-safe. We are eager to hear from you.

As they become more and more prevalent, quiet cars will compromise the safety of millions of people throughout the world. By working together concerned citizens can address the problems posed by these vehicles

President Signs Pedestrian Safety
Enhancement Act


On Wednesday, January 5, The National Federation of the Blind commended President Barack Obama for signing into law the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act (S. 841), which will protect the blind and other pedestrians from injury as a result of silent vehicle technology. Because blind pedestrians cannot locate and evaluate traffic using their vision, they must listen to traffic to discern its speed, direction, and other attributes in order to travel safely and independently. New vehicles that employ hybrid or electric engine technology can be silent, rendering them extremely dangerous in situations where vehicles and pedestrians come into proximity with each other. For more information on this exciting development, please read the official press release.


Most recently, a new website has emerged taking up the topic of Quiet Cars. This site is Virginia's Quiet Cars.

Links to Articles significant to our Project

From NFB Websites with Interviews with Members:

  • Legislative Alert 06-10-2010
  • Resolution 2006-05 - from the Article "2006 Resolutions of the National Federation of the Blind, Braille Monitor, ⁄September Issue
  • Stop, Look, and Listen: Quiet Vehicles and Pedestrian Safety by Deborah Kent Stein ; from: The Braille Monitor, June 2005
  • Resolution 2003-05 Regarding Quiet Cars From the Braille Monitor, August⁄September, 2003
  • Minutes from the committee on quiet Cars and Pedestrian Safety, held July 2006 in Dallas, Texas
  • Quiet Car conference Summary, November 4, 2006
  • Blind Pedestrians Say Quiet Hybrids Pose Safety Threat Published 2/13/2007; Outlet: The Wall Street Journal; By RAYMUND FLANDEZ
  • NPR Interviews - NFB on Quiet Cars Concerns - An interview with 1st Vice-President Dr. Fredric K. Schroeder on 2/23/2007.
  • We Want Cars That sound Like Cars by Daniel B. Frye Braille Monitor November 2007
  • Download a sample of a suggested Quiet Cars Legislative Bill in MS Word
  • Washington Seminar 2008--Legislative Agenda--Quiet Cars Fact Sheet can be found here
  • Download "The Danger Posed by Silent Vehicles"A report delivered on 2/19/08in Geneva, by Dr. Marc Maurer
  • NFB continues work on issue of silent cars 2/21/2008 11:40:00 AM; From: Voice of the Nations Blind Blog
  • Remarks about the Problems Caused by Quiet Cars by Gary Wunder; Story appeared in the March 2008 issue of the Braille Monitor.
  • Download/Read "Legislative Alert" - Enhancement Act (H-5734), This is a summary of H-5734, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, introduced by Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL). Please share this information with groups and individuals, and encourage them to urge their legislators to sponsor the bill.
  • More quiet cars in the news From: Voice of the Nations Blind BLOG, Posted: May 8, 2008
  • NFB - National Convention Highlights 2008 Here you will find links to the quiet Car presentation on Wednesday afternoon, July 2 during the General Session.
  • 2008 Resolutions of the National Federation of the Blind --RESOLUTION 2008-02 Regarding Momentum Toward Solving the Quiet Cars Crisis

  • Make Sat Final - Brighter - Smaller - Video

    The next three links/documents cover what the State of Maryland is doing with our quiet Cars issue.

  • MD Quiet Vehicle Pedestrian Safety Task Force Report--Dinal
    Transmittal Letter - Quiet Vehicles TF Report-revised(2)
    PDF2 rMinimum Sound Standard Development Plan_11 25 2008

    Testing the Audibility of Quiet Cars (28 MB) December 2008 This video, created by Lawrence D. Rosenblum, professor at University of California, Riverside, was shown at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Public Forum on Quiet Cars on June 23, 2008. The video is a presentation of Dr. Rosenblum's findings regarding the audibility of quiet cars such as hybrids.


    From The Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)

    the following documents were provided by AER. You can read or download these MS Word files to your computer.

  • Read the 1996 AER Resolution on Quiet Cars
  • Download the 1996 AER Resolution on Quiet Cars
  • Read the 2000 AER Resolution on Quiet Cars
  • Download the 2000 AER Resolution on Quiet Cars
  • Read the 2004 AER Resolution on Quiet Cars
  • Download the 2004 AER Resolution on Quiet Cars
  • (download) NFB of Maryland passed Resolution 2008-05-Hybrids and Silent Vehicles /a> in Word format

    Research Projects

    the lead person in Acoustic Research and the Quiet Cars/Hybrid Car Dr. Lawrence D. Rosenblum's Homepage>

    A website devoted to experimenting with sound perception and the "Quiet Car/Hybrid Car". Audiovisual speech Web-Lab>


  • EVA Sounds for NFB Here you will find sample recordings
  • The following link was sent to us as another source of development to resolve the concerns of Quiet Cars/Hybrids.

    Join the Mailing List:

    A Public mailing list on "Quiet Cars" has been started. You can join the list in several different ways--the first is by going to the QuietCars Info Page

    Or, Subscribe using your favorite e-mail program to: Subscribe to Quiet Cars. the e-mail address and subject fields are already filled in for you, just send it as a blank message.

    Unsubscribe from Quiet Cars.

  • Homepage of the National Federation of the Blind
  • Voice of the Nations Blind
  • Kurzweil - National Federation of the Blind Reader Website
  • NCBYS National Center for Blind Youth in Science
  • NFB Link - Linking Individuals to a Network of Knowledge - Become a Mentor
  • Presidential Releases Now Available Here!
  • NFB - Braille Initiative
  • NFB - Free Cane Program
  • Committee Members:

  • Deborah Kent Stein, Chair, Chicago, Illinois
  • Bryan Bashin, Board member NFB of California
  • Doug C. Boone, President, D. Boone Consultants
  • Ron Gardner, Attorney at Law; President, NFB of Utah
  • Noel Nightingale, immediate past president, National Federation of the Blind of Washington
  • Barbara Pierce, Editor, Braille Monitor
  • Sumara Shakeel, M.A., NOMC, NFB of New Jersey
  • Gary Wunder, Secretary, National Federation of the Blind
  • E-mail: Deborah Kent Stein, committee Chair

    For Problems with this site E-mail: Webmaster
    Updated: Wednesday, January 05, 2011
    Copyright, © 2006-2011 by The National Federation of the Blind, Committee on Automobile and Pedestrian Safety, All Rights Reserved