When legislation was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year to mandate a minimum sound level for hybrid and electric vehicles, we have to admit we thought it was a little on the silly side. But after the events of last weekend, it doesn't sound so far fetched. On Sunday, and eight-year old boy was hit while riding his bike by a Toyota Prius because he couldn't hear the vehicle approaching.
Owen Erickson emerged from the accident with only minor bumps and bruises, but did end up on the hood of the Prius. Erickson was at fault for the accident -- as he he rode his bike into the path of the vehicle -- but his mother did put some of the blame on the hybrid as it was operating in silent EV mode.
It is believed that this is one of the first accident in the U.S. that can be linked to a hybrid's silent operation and gives credence to the bill currently in U.S. House of Representatives.
Toyota has yet to comment on the legislation but acknowledges that the situation needs to be looked at. "We do have to step back and take a look," John Hanson, Toyota's national manager of environmental, safety and quality communications, told KARE 11 News, an NBC affiliate.
So far Fisker -- maker of the upcoming Karma Hybrid -- is the only automaker to address the need of a minimum sound level for hybrids.