Fans of the NBC hit show, "The Office," may be familiar with how quiet the Prius is. In one particularly funny episode, Jim sneaks up on Dwight with his Prius and pins him in the bushes. It sounds ridiculous, but Dwight didn't hear the car coming and the scene highlights the reality that the Prius is, at times, almost silent.
This has become an unexpected problem for drivers and pedestrians alike. Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that hybrid vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in accidents with pedestrians and bicyclists than other vehicles.
To counter the problem, Toyota has started selling a $148 speaker system that is placed under the hood and replicates the sound of an engine. The speakers are entirely optional at this point.
North American consumer may have to wait for the speakers as they are only available in Japan. A Toyota rep told Associated Press that "the company is considering bringing the feature to the United States and other markets." Toyota continues to be a leader in safety and environmentally friendly cars.
To test drive the Prius and other models, come down to Bennett Toyota on 2300 Hanover Ave, Allentown, PA 18109.