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Electric cars like the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus are too quiet. Photo: Nissan

Federal auto safety officials may soon allow you to pick your car's ringtone.

Why it matters: Electric vehicles and hybrids are quiet, which means they can be dangerous to pedestrians, bicyclists and people with vision impairments. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires carmakers to add alert sounds to their quiet models.

What's happening: This week, in response to automakers' requests, NHTSA said it will at least let consumers choose from a variety of sounds, Reuters reports.

  • Whether there's a limit on the number of compliant sounds is still open for discussion.

My thought bubble: I'm all for customization, but this sounds like a situation where there should be a standard sound so people know when a car is approaching and don't confuse it with other ambient sounds.

The bottom line: It will cost automakers about $40 million a year to add an external waterproof speaker to comply with the rule, but reduced injuries will save an estimated $250 million to $320 million annually.

Go deeper

Progressives pressure Schumer to end filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

A progressive coalition is pressuring Chuck Schumer on his home turf by running a digital billboard in Times Square urging the new majority leader to end the Senate filibuster.

Why it matters: Schumer is up for re-election in 2o22 and could face a challenger, and he's also spearheading his party's broader effort to hold onto its narrow congressional majorities.

4 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.