Mandating noise pollution?

I tend to think that noise pollution is one of the most forgotten forms of pollution out there.

The media has caught on to the idea that the current generation may be more likely to end up deaf than those past due to listening to MP3 players and the like at high volumes. I suspect that in many cases the reason for high volumes is the high level of background noise. For those listening to music with headphones while commuting (transit users, passengers, or pedestrians) I suspect that the largest source of noise is due to vehicle engines.

I read with displeasure today that the US congress is introducing legislation to mandate noise pollution on hybrid vehicles (My translation of the headline).

The idea here is to protect the blind to ensure that they're aware that cars are coming. Some similar laws may still be left from the early days of the automobile mandating odd behaviour such as that people walk in front of the vehicle to warn others or to require that drivers stop every so often to fire off a flare gun. Somehow we've gotten beyond such laws - here I think that measures could be taken to do the same.

Due to vehicular noise, even with several hundred dollars invested in noise cancellation gear of both the active and passive varieties, listening to speech still requires a relatively loud volume. The current proposed bill seems to be ensuring that much of the population go deaf (or crazy, depending on what sort of noise these vehicles would put out).

Would it work to replace such gear by active-detection equipment for the blind? (e.g. If they do legislate that cars transmit something, how about transmitting a low power radio signal that the receivers could be built to detect?)


I think the idea of active-detection equipment would be better than merely emitting useless noise. Even some non-hybrid vehicles can sneak up on you if there is a lot of noise coming from elsewhere.