Toyota to address serious safety problem with the Prius

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Toyota Prius

Eco-friendly phenomenon or serial killer of pedestrians? Image from Wikimedia Commons.

People in Japan have been complaining about the Toyota Prius. It isn’t so much that people believe there is a mechanical defect with the best selling hybrid. It isn’t that they think that the car in underpowered. It is believed that if the problem is not addressed, injuries or deaths could occur. Toyota has heard from enough concerned people that it is now seeking a solution. The problem with the Prius? It’s too darn quiet.

Toyota to make the Prius louder

Concerns have been raised that because the Toyota Prius is so quiet, pedestrians may not hear the car coming and get hit. When a vehicle is traveling at 30 miles per hour, it doesn’t matter if the car is a hybrid or not if it hits a person. The electric motor of the Prius can’t be fitted for an extra noisy muffler, but Toyota’s looking at a few other options.

Noise device for third generation

The third generation Toyota Prius will be the model for which the device is made, according to CNN Money. The noise making device will not come standard, and when it is released it will only be available in Japan at first. Toyota said that the noise device will be eventually made available in the U.S. and in other markets, but the company don’t know when that will be. It will be available in Japan for third generation Prius models by the beginning of September.

Legitimate safety concern

There is a legitimate reason for this modification. Pedestrians who can’t hear the car coming, such as the partially hearing impaired, and those with impaired sight or blindness, are potentially in danger when a Prius is around. The noise maker for the Prius will basically sound like a loud electric motor, and in Japan will retail for the equivalent of about $150.

Further Reading

CNN Money

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