Category: Safety

By on January 19, 2017

Tesla AutoPilot cruise control

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed the book on a six-month investigation into the death of a Tesla owner — and enthusiast — who died in a car piloted by the company’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system. What did the federal investigation uncover? Not enough to warrant a recall or further probing into the technology.

In fact, the NHTSA’s report clears Tesla’s Autopilot system of any responsibility in the incident. Read More >

By on January 19, 2017

Takata-jpg

The remaining bidders for the ailing Takata Corporation are insisting on a court-mediated turnaround for the airbag supplier’s operations. Takata is in the midst of selecting a financial backer after incurring billions of dollars in costs to replace tens of millions of defective airbag inflators linked to a minimum of sixteen deaths.

However, Takata has stated it would much prefer an out-of-court process for its operations to ensure the uninterrupted supply of replacement inflators. Keeping the turnaround private also would also be a way for the founding Takata family to avoid the complete obliteration of the company’s share values. Read More >

By on January 19, 2017

Texting and Driving

Apple is facing a legal battle in California for neglecting to implement technology that would prevent iPhone owners from texting behind the wheel.

Filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the class-action suit alleges that Apple has possessed the ability to disable texting since 2008, and was granted a patent on it by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014. The lawsuit wants the company to stop all iPhone sales until it installs safety-oriented software on all devices — new and old — via an update.  Read More >

By on January 12, 2017

Airbags

Ford and Honda are putting more than one million additional vehicles down on the list of recall-worthy products with potentially deadly Takata airbag inflators.

Announced late on Tuesday, Honda Motor Company is recalling roughly 772,000 additional Honda and Acura vehicles in the United States for defective front passenger seat airbag  inflators made by Japanese parts supplier. Not to be outdone, Ford is recalling over 816,000 units within the whole of North America for the very same reason. Read More >

By on January 5, 2017

kennedy_expressway_and_metra

There’s no shortage of ink spilled about the sky-high murder rate in Chicago, but the Windy City’s most overlooked crime scene isn’t a particular neighborhood or address. It’s the freeway.

In a year where Chicago homicides hit a 20-year high (762, up 57 percent from 2015), shootings on the city’s freeways topped all previous tallies. The city blames the increasing roadway bloodshed on rising gang violence, but the danger to motorists seems likely to rise if authorities can’t figure out a way to stamp out the problem. Read More >

By on January 3, 2017

2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, Shifter, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

First, it was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles products with a tendency to roll away, even after owners placed them in park. Then, Ford decided to make sure vehicles with rotary shift knobs didn’t do the same thing, offering a “Return to Park” feature on the 2017 Fusion.

Two weeks ago, it was FCA’s turn again. The automaker found itself the focus of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation after more reported rollaways, this time with rotary-shift Rams and Dodges.

Well, NHTSA now has Jaguar Land Rover in its crosshairs. Care to guess why? Read More >

By on December 30, 2016

coffee while driving (bluemini/Flickr)

Maybe there is common sense to be found in California.

A driver who was charged for driving under the influence — even though a blood test revealed only caffeine — won’t have to enter a courtroom to plead his innocence. That, a gas station attendant takes the Florida Woman meme and runs with it (into another woman’s car), and Canadian heavy truck drivers just refuse to lower their beds while on the highway. Read More >

By on December 21, 2016

smart fire

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary evaluations in response to complaints that Smart ForTwo engines are catching fire before quickly engulfing the car in flames. Eight complaints have found their way to NHTSA about fires in 2008-2009 Four Twos, with six of the incidents occurring while the cars were being driven.

According to the agency, the incidents began with the illumination of the vehicles’ check-engine light, followed by smoke and odd noises. In every occurrence, owners claim the fires quickly spread to the entire car. Read More >

By on December 20, 2016

2016 Ram 1500 R/T interior center stack, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Just when it thought a troubling roll-away controversy and resulting recall was almost behind it, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finds itself under investigation for a similar problem.

This time, it isn’t the now-defunct Monostable gear shift that supposedly confused drivers — it’s the rotary shifter found in late-model vehicles. After numerous complaints, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into 1 million FCA vehicles that could pose a roll-away risk. Read More >

By on December 16, 2016

Jetta TDI 2015

Have you ever bought a secondhand car, only to find the previous owner forgot his or her favorite CD in the stereo? Well, that didn’t happen to a Kentucky man.

That Volkswagen owner’s discovery is just one of the weird news stories arising from a polar vortex-plagued world. Elsewhere, officials warn of mammal tongue baths, and a politician practices bad automotive PR. Read More >

By on December 13, 2016

State Farm car accident

The United States Department of Transportation has proposed a rule that would require vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology in all new cars.

Vehicle-to-vehicle systems allow cars to communicate information to each other that could be used to update drivers about potential accidents, possibly reducing the number of crashes on U.S. roadways. The basic technology uses short-range radios to send and receive vehicle data on location, speed, direction, and braking status. While extremely useful in the application of autonomous driving technology, a lot of the potential safety applications resulting from V2V has not yet been conceived.  Read More >

By on December 13, 2016

Iowa (Don Graham/Flickr)

If it wasn’t for the blissful autonomy and convenience that comes with car ownership, how many people would want to shoulder the ever-growing cost? Insurers lie in wait to squeeze you, law enforcement waits to punish you, environmental groups demonize your lifestyle, and governments at all levels salivate at the thought of making it more expensive to own a personal vehicle.

Meanwhile, you dance to the tune set by oil companies and geopolitics, weathering financial blows when pump prices rise. If only there was a place where those worries fell away — where the act of owning and driving a car wasn’t as stressful.

As it turns out, this place exists. And it’s just west of the Mississippi. Read More >

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