The Truth About Cars » Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 17:00:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/safety-2/ Terrorists Could Make Autonomous Cars A Security Nightmare http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/terrorists-make-autonomous-cars-security-nightmare/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/terrorists-make-autonomous-cars-security-nightmare/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:30:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157026 Self-driving cars could usher in a new form of terrorism, an investment analyst writes (via SlashDot). Alex Rubalcava, who is an investment advisor in California, says that autonomous cars would be “the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists. “A future Timothy McVeigh will not need to drive a truck full of […]

The post Terrorists Could Make Autonomous Cars A Security Nightmare appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Google Autonomous Vehicle Prototype Circa December 2014

Self-driving cars could usher in a new form of terrorism, an investment analyst writes (via SlashDot).

Alex Rubalcava, who is an investment advisor in California, says that autonomous cars would be “the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists.

“A future Timothy McVeigh will not need to drive a truck full of fertilizer to the place he intends to detonate it. A burner email account, a prepaid debit card purchased with cash, and an account, tied to that burner email, with an AV car service will get him a long way to being able to place explosives near crowds, without ever being there himself.”

Criminals in Denver have already used burners, pre-paid cards and fake names to rent Car2go cars for drive-by shootings.

Rubalcava’s discussion of the risk that autonomous cars may bring to international security is a short few paragraphs in a much longer market analysis on those cars and their potential investors.

Included in his assessment is that dense urban centers may spread out (suburban sprawl all over again) if self-driving cars can shuttle us back and forth to work without their drivers actually being awake. Rubalcava also speculates that an average autonomous car could travel twice as far as a normal car, up to 50,000 miles per year if the driver doesn’t have to actually drive, and that the cost per mile for an autonomous car will be significantly lower than an average car, which would increase consumption.

(And he correctly points out that very few companies that develop technologies make it long enough to mass produce them, i.e. 1990s dot-coms.)

Even though much of his analysis is dedicated toward financial issues and scaling autonomous cars for a global market, Rubalcava says that investors should be wary of initial government intervention to mitigate security risks that a self-driving bomb car could pose. Beyond that, autonomous cars will be hugely profitable — maybe before we’re all dead.

The post Terrorists Could Make Autonomous Cars A Security Nightmare appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/terrorists-make-autonomous-cars-security-nightmare/feed/ 21
NHTSA Investigating Gear Selector in Jeep Grand Cherokee, Possibly Other Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nhtsa-looking-transmission-selectors-chrysler-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nhtsa-looking-transmission-selectors-chrysler-vehicles/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 18:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152409 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating complaints that gear selector handles on Jeep Grand Cherokees may slip out of park and cause the car to roll away, Automotive News is reporting. Owners have detailed several complaints to NHTSA who said their Grand Cherokees rolled away while parked, including one person in Michigan who said a child […]

The post NHTSA Investigating Gear Selector in Jeep Grand Cherokee, Possibly Other Models appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Overland

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating complaints that gear selector handles on Jeep Grand Cherokees may slip out of park and cause the car to roll away, Automotive News is reporting.

Owners have detailed several complaints to NHTSA who said their Grand Cherokees rolled away while parked, including one person in Michigan who said a child was injured exiting the rollaway vehicle.

A similar transmission selector was used in the 2014 Chrysler 300. An owner complained of a similar problem in that car, where it rolled away and crashed into two other vehicles.

Chrysler changed the transmission selector in 2015 in both cars, but it’s unclear if the investigation or owner complaints prompted the switch. Many people (including yours truly) thought the handle was slightly confusing to use, and several NHTSA complaints echo that sentiment.

According to the agency, roughly 408,000 cars could be impacted by a potential recall.

As part of its settlement with the government, an independent monitor will review Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s handling of recalls for two years.

We reached out to FCA for comment on the investigation, but haven’t heard back.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.48.08 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.49.21 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.17.06 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.20.16 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.16.51 AM

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the safety administration that is investigating the complaints. It is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

The post NHTSA Investigating Gear Selector in Jeep Grand Cherokee, Possibly Other Models appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nhtsa-looking-transmission-selectors-chrysler-vehicles/feed/ 34
Death of Justin Wilson Prompts Calls for IndyCar Safety Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/death-justin-wilson-prompts-calls-indycar-safety-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/death-justin-wilson-prompts-calls-indycar-safety-review/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152233 Former and current drivers have called on IndyCar officials to review safety equipment in place after racer Justin Wilson died Monday from injuries suffered Sunday at Pocono Raceway, Reuters is reporting. Wilson was struck in the head by debris from a car that crashed ahead of him, driven by Sage Karam. The incident was similar to […]

The post Death of Justin Wilson Prompts Calls for IndyCar Safety Review appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Ed Carpenter apexes Turn 3 during the 2015 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway

Former and current drivers have called on IndyCar officials to review safety equipment in place after racer Justin Wilson died Monday from injuries suffered Sunday at Pocono Raceway, Reuters is reporting.

Wilson was struck in the head by debris from a car that crashed ahead of him, driven by Sage Karam. The incident was similar to accidents in other race series with open cockpits; Felipe Massa was hit by debris in Hungary in 2009 and required surgery, James Hinchcliffe was struck in the head in 2014, which caused a concussion. Wilson’s death was the first for IndyCar since Dan Wheldon was killed in 2011.

“Safety is not one of those things that because you have a clear record for a certain amount of time that you stop doing development,” former race driver Eddie Cheever told ESPN.

Many in the sport have called for further face protection, including a canopy or guard in front of the driver’s face to deflect debris. IndyCar officials said removing the driver from a cockpit was a key concern in adding anything that might cover the driver’s head.

“It is being considered; it’s been on my radar ever since I came to IndyCar,” Derrick Walker, who is president of the series, told Racer in 2014.

“I’ve had discussions with Dallara about trying to design a partial canopy – not a fully enclosed, but a partial one that would serve as a deflector for debris that comes at the driver.”

Walker later said that a deflector would be a fit for the series.

“Getting out of the car as quickly as possible is the first priority, so a front deflector section seems to be a logical step,” Walker said.

Racing veterans have suggested other alternatives, including latching components to the car in event of a crash.

“The next thing, I think perhaps, they should have a tether on something that’s so detachable as a nose,” Mario Andretti told ESPN. “There is a quick disconnect on the nose so they can change it quickly. Maybe they should have a tether on there.”

Safety advocates may also direct their concerns toward the type of track that Wheldon and Wilson raced on. Banked ovals like the one Wilson was racing on are particularly dangerous because of the speeds involved. Wheldon was killed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which is also a banked oval.

“We’re always looking at ways to make this sport safer,” Wilson’s teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay said immediately after the race, according to Reuters.

“First we had the innovation with the safer barrier. Oval tracks in general, we need to start looking into the next 20 years, maybe making the walls a little bit higher. Maybe coming up with something a little bit better than just mesh fencing and poles.”

The post Death of Justin Wilson Prompts Calls for IndyCar Safety Review appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/death-justin-wilson-prompts-calls-indycar-safety-review/feed/ 27
IndyCar Racer Justin Wilson Dies After Pocono Crash http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/indycar-racer-justin-wilson-dies-after-pocono-crash/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/indycar-racer-justin-wilson-dies-after-pocono-crash/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 02:46:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151849 Justin Wilson died Monday from injuries sustained Sunday, when a piece of another crashed race car struck him. He was 37. His family released a short statement thanking well-wishers and fans for their support after the crash. Wilson was a native of Sheffield, England and lived in Longmont, Colorado with his wife and two daughters. “Justin […]

The post IndyCar Racer Justin Wilson Dies After Pocono Crash appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Justinparade2015

Justin Wilson died Monday from injuries sustained Sunday, when a piece of another crashed race car struck him. He was 37.

His family released a short statement thanking well-wishers and fans for their support after the crash. Wilson was a native of Sheffield, England and lived in Longmont, Colorado with his wife and two daughters.

“Justin was a loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers.”

Wilson was an advocate for track safety, not only for the racers but also for the spectators.

Wilson’s family announced Justin’s death on his website.

With deep sadness, the parents of Justin Wilson, Keith and Lynne, his wife Julia, and his brother Stefan share the news that Justin passed away today after succumbing to injuries suffered during the Verizon IndyCar event at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, August 23.

Justin was a loving father and devoted husband, as well as a highly competitive racing driver who was respected by his peers.

The family would like to thank the staff at the Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital,  Pocono Raceway, Andretti Autosport, and the Verizon IndyCar Series as well as the entire racing community for the amazing outpouring of support from fans around the world.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Wilson Children’s Fund care of INDYCAR.

Wilson Children’s Fund
C/O INDYCAR
4551 West 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222

Wilson was a part-time driver in this year’s IndyCar series. His career spanned Formula 1, endurance and American Le Mans Series, including a win at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2012.

On Sunday, Wilson was struck by debris from Sage Karam’s crash, outside of turn 1 on lap 179 of 200. Wilson was airlifted to a hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where officials said he was in a coma Sunday and Monday.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Justin Wilson,” Andretti Autosport said in a statement released on Monday night. “He was a tremendous racer, a valuable member of the team and respected representative to our sport. While Justin was only part of the Andretti lineup for a short time, it only took a second for him to forever become part of the Andretti family. His life and racing career is a story of class and passion surpassed by none. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Wilson family and fans worldwide.”

(Personally: Living in Denver and covering motorsports and cars, Justin’s personality was inescapable — not because it was so large, but because he was so magnetic. Wilson wasn’t only friendly, he was also very genuine — and even I know that’s rare. I sincerely missed seeing him at Pikes Peak this year partly because I looked forward to giving him grief for not racing the mountain on his bicycle. Take care, Justin. — Aaron)

(Photo courtesy JustinWilson.co.uk)

The post IndyCar Racer Justin Wilson Dies After Pocono Crash appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/indycar-racer-justin-wilson-dies-after-pocono-crash/feed/ 6
What’s Going on With The New Maxima? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/whats-going-new-maxima/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/whats-going-new-maxima/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 22:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151721 Nissan’s new Maxima, which went on sale earlier this year, has already had a bumpy road. Last week, the automaker announced it would be recalling around 6,000 cars for an improperly installed fuel tank 0-ring that could leak and ignite after a crash, according to AutoGuide. Nissan hasn’t identified a fix for the problem yet. […]

The post What’s Going on With The New Maxima? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2016 Nissan Maxima (18 of 23)

Nissan’s new Maxima, which went on sale earlier this year, has already had a bumpy road.

Last week, the automaker announced it would be recalling around 6,000 cars for an improperly installed fuel tank 0-ring that could leak and ignite after a crash, according to AutoGuide. Nissan hasn’t identified a fix for the problem yet.

That may be in addition to (or the reason for) a stop-sale on the Maxima in July for an unspecified “quality assurance” problem with the cars. We reached out to Nissan for a comment and have yet to hear back. 

Early owners have reported minor problems including moon roof noises, headlight issues and electronic woes.

This isn’t the first generation of Maxima models produced in Smyrna, Tennessee, nor is it the only model that plant produces. But any further hiccups in initial quality could damage the car’s tenuous position.

The post What’s Going on With The New Maxima? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/whats-going-new-maxima/feed/ 53
Toyota Keeping China Production Plant Closed Longer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/toyota-keeping-china-production-plant-closed-longer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/toyota-keeping-china-production-plant-closed-longer/#comments Sun, 23 Aug 2015 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1150961 Toyota will keep a plant in China closed until at least Aug. 26 as it waits for conditions to improve after an explosion there killed more than 120 people, the Detroit News is reporting. The Aug. 12 explosion in Tianjin, China injured 67 Toyota employees nearby and damaged 4,700 Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The plant in Tianjin, […]

The post Toyota Keeping China Production Plant Closed Longer appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Panoramic_View_from_Tianjin_TV_Tower_East(small)(2008-08)

Toyota will keep a plant in China closed until at least Aug. 26 as it waits for conditions to improve after an explosion there killed more than 120 people, the Detroit News is reporting.

The Aug. 12 explosion in Tianjin, China injured 67 Toyota employees nearby and damaged 4,700 Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The plant in Tianjin, which produces Crown, Reiz, Corolla and Vios cars, is responsible for roughly half of Toyota’s annual production in China.

“We will only restart operations when we have been able to confirm the safety of our facilities and their surroundings, and when our employees feel that they can once again go to work in a safe environment,” the company said in an email, according to Reuters.

According to reports, fires are still breaking out near the site of the explosion. On Aug. 12, a chemicals warehouse exploded in the port city, which killed 121 people and injured hundreds.

Analysts say the disruption to Toyota’s supply chain would be felt across the automaker’s lineup.

Automakers such as Volkswagen and Jaguar Land Rover said thousands of their cars were damaged in the explosion as well.

(Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The post Toyota Keeping China Production Plant Closed Longer appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/toyota-keeping-china-production-plant-closed-longer/feed/ 1
How Can Racetracks Improve Security? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/can-racetracks-improve-security/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/can-racetracks-improve-security/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 15:31:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1148537 News on Thursday that two teens were injured at Lime Rock Park near Salisbury, Connecticut brought forward questions about track safety and security. Namely, how could tracks be safer and more secure when they’re not operational? And could insurance companies, who already charge a considerable amount of money, eventually sink small town tracks that can’t afford […]

The post How Can Racetracks Improve Security? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
IndyTrack 054

News on Thursday that two teens were injured at Lime Rock Park near Salisbury, Connecticut brought forward questions about track safety and security.

Namely, how could tracks be safer and more secure when they’re not operational? And could insurance companies, who already charge a considerable amount of money, eventually sink small town tracks that can’t afford to lockdown tracks completely?

Many tracks are rural parts of the country, and run with skeleton crews — even during race events. That’s because tracks are like golf courses and graveyards, most of their open ground isn’t consistently used and therefore, not always insanely profitable.

A reader told us that Lime Rock’s moveable metal fence was an “open secret” about a decade ago. The reader took their car onto the track at night and when local hotel staff heard about their antics, the staff made it sound like they had done the same.

A while ago, Steven Cole Smith accurately detailed the difficulties of owning a track in America: insurance costs are high, profits are low and NASCAR (or any other form of televised racing) is free. Those all make it incredibly difficult to justify opening a racetrack — but an iconic park like Lime Rock has a different set of problems. Old tracks need to be fitted with new, expensive security systems.

Like anyone who’s been to Road America, or whatever they’re calling Sears Point Raceway, a walk through the trees is sometimes all you need to get up close to the action.

It’s not just tracks in their downtime that are susceptible to their grand size and skeleton-crew security teams. Recently, a young man spectating at Brands Hatch — one of the most storied circuits in Britain — drove a Volkswagen Polo onto the track, during an event, while other cars were racing.

The points also raise important questions about track accessibility. Should tracks be more open to invite people onto the surface in a controlled environment? Have you ever gone on an open track night?

The post How Can Racetracks Improve Security? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/can-racetracks-improve-security/feed/ 21
Cheap Gas, More Driving Leading To More Fatal Crashes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/cheap-gas-driving-leading-fatal-crashes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/cheap-gas-driving-leading-fatal-crashes/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 18:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1145929 The number of fatal traffic crashes has risen 14 percent over last year, and deaths on the road could top 40,000 — the first time since 2007 — the National Safety Council is reporting (via Autoblog). The council points to lower gas prices and a better economy as reasons why people are driving more and crashing […]

The post Cheap Gas, More Driving Leading To More Fatal Crashes appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Deadly Crash Picture courtesy sandiegopersonalinjurylawyersblog.com

The number of fatal traffic crashes has risen 14 percent over last year, and deaths on the road could top 40,000 — the first time since 2007 — the National Safety Council is reporting (via Autoblog).

The council points to lower gas prices and a better economy as reasons why people are driving more and crashing more.

The estimated economic impact of the crashes through the first six months of 2015 was $125 billion according to the council, up 24 percent from last year.

The data from NSC shows a surprisingly sharp increase over the last two years in fatal crashes, after a long decrease in overall (read: fatal and non-fatal) crashes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of traffic deaths decreased sharply after 2007 and there were fewer fatal crashes in 2011 than any year since 1994, when that agency started to compile statistics.

(It should be noted that NSC and NHTSA count deaths differently. NSC includes traffic and nontraffic accidents and deaths or injuries that occur within a year. NHTSA counts injuries and deaths within traffic accidents after 30 days.)

According to the Federal Highway Administration, Americans may drive more miles this year than in previous years. American drivers are on pace to drive 3.06 trillion miles in 2015, topping the previous record of 3.03 trillion miles in 2008.

Highly populated states such as California, Florida and Texas had the highest number of traffic deaths in 2015, according to the NSC.

Oregon had the largest increase in traffic fatalities from data retrieved at the same time last year, with a 59-percent increase in deaths over the first six months of 2015. South Dakota (34 percent), Delaware (28 percent) and Washington D.C. (23 percent) had the sharpest drops.

(Photo courtesy sandiegopersonalinjurylawyersblog.com)

The post Cheap Gas, More Driving Leading To More Fatal Crashes appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/cheap-gas-driving-leading-fatal-crashes/feed/ 43
Get Your Feet Off My Dash! The Prequel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/get-feet-off-dash-sequel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/get-feet-off-dash-sequel/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1144409 Do not click the link in the next paragraph if you are at work. It’s one of the most popular posts in TTAC history, and it’s absolutely emblematic of the Bertel Era here at this site. It’s completely not safe for work and before you click it, I want you to think about whether you […]

The post Get Your Feet Off My Dash! The Prequel appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
cuz

Do not click the link in the next paragraph if you are at work.

It’s one of the most popular posts in TTAC history, and it’s absolutely emblematic of the Bertel Era here at this site. It’s completely not safe for work and before you click it, I want you to think about whether you are at work, and if you are at work, do not click this link with horrifying non-work-safe pictures that you should not view at work.

The link above? Don’t view it at work. It’s disgusting.

The article is called A Day in the Life of a Trauma Surgeon: Get Your Foot Off of My Dash and it contains graphic photographs of what can happen to your feet if they are on a car dashboard when the airbags go off. At the time, I considered the article, and the included photographs, to represent the absolute nadir of this website’s management and content selection.

But there is at least one person out there who probably wishes she’d been forced to read it, graphic images and all. Unfortunately for her, it was published three years too late.


Back in 2010, Bethany Benson, a young woman in her early twenties, was road-tripping with her boyfriend and she had her feet up on the dashboard. A chain-reaction accident ahead of her led to a stopped tractor-trailer dead ahead. When her boyfriend failed to stop in time…

…okay, hold on a moment.

A loaded tractor-trailer requires over five hundred feet to come to a halt from 65 mph. A Pontiac Sunfire like the one driven by Benson’s boyfriend can do it in about 170 feet. Given the photographs of the Sunfire, it was probably doing 30 mph or more when it struck the stopped trailer. So there’s perhaps four hundred feet of inattention involved here. At sixty-five miles per hour, that’s four complete and total seconds of not paying attention to the road ahead of you.

Now it’s possible that the tractor-trailer was still moving at the time, which means that Benson’s boyfriend wasn’t asleep at the wheel. He simply allowed himself to be out braked by an 80,000-pound truck with what was probably first-generation ABS and retread tires. I don’t know what to say at that point. If you get out braked by a truck, tear up your license and go home, because you have no business driving on a freeway. I understand that following the one-car-length-per-ten-miles-per-hour rule in modern traffic conditions will result in cars swerving around you and filling the space. So when something happens like an Audi S8 out braking the Land Cruiser behind it, you have to chalk it up to the way things are. But getting out braked by a tractor-trailer?

What happened next was traumatic for Ms. Benson, of course.

Because of the proximity of her legs to the airbag, it forcefully hit her hamstring, causing her feet to push up and through the windshield.

As a result, her knees slammed into her eyes, causing her left eye socket and cheekbone to crack. In addition, she broke her nose, eight bones in her left foot, and three bones in her right foot.

Many of her external injuries have healed, but she still lives in constant pain. She takes a pharmacy worth of pills every days, she is required to wear expensive orthopedic shoes, and the bleeding in her brain resulted in irreversible effects.

The article goes on to suggest that Ms. Benson has regressed to the level of a thirteen-year-old, at least in the expressed opinion of her mother, who also made sure to inform reporters that she would no longer be able to retire because she’d be taking care of her daughter. Part of me wants to open a Bible to Matthew 6:5 and hit that person over the head with it so she gets the message; another part of me just hopes that Ms. Benson isn’t consigned to a community-theater production of “Misery” in the form of this self-pitying woman looking after her for the rest of her life.

This story has spread through the Internet like the proverbial wildfire in the past few days. But if you know anybody who continues to put her — and let’s face it, it’s always her — feet on the dashboard, you might want to talk to her about it. And while severed toes and the like make for a wonderfully shocking story, the real tragedy is in what happens in the long years after you leave the trauma surgeon’s office.

The post Get Your Feet Off My Dash! The Prequel appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/get-feet-off-dash-sequel/feed/ 63
Apparently All Cars Can Be Hacked Now: Insurance Dongle Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apparently-cars-can-hacked-now-insurance-dongle-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apparently-cars-can-hacked-now-insurance-dongle-edition/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 17:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1138530 Hackers say they may be able to control any vehicle with a telematics-enabled sensor — including a popular sensor that insurance companies use for consumers — plugged into the car’s diagnostic port, according to Wired report (via The Verge). In recent weeks, several hacks have surfaced — Chrysler, General Motors and Telsa — related to specific […]

The post Apparently All Cars Can Be Hacked Now: Insurance Dongle Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
OBD II

Hackers say they may be able to control any vehicle with a telematics-enabled sensor — including a popular sensor that insurance companies use for consumers — plugged into the car’s diagnostic port, according to Wired report (via The Verge).

In recent weeks, several hacks have surfaced — Chrysler, General Motors and Telsa — related to specific automakers. According to the report, the On-Board Diagnostic system hack could apply to any make or model fitted with an insurance or tracking dongle. The University of California San Diego researchers say they’ll present their findings at the Usenix conference Tuesday.

And, um, there’s no easy way to put this, but … it doesn’t appear that it would be all that hard to find cars with the dongles at the moment.

The story focused on a dongle provided by a Bay Area-insurance provider, MetroMile, who uses the dongle to charge customers by the mile. Hackers remotely shutdown a Corvette using the device by sending the dongle an SMS message that confused the device into controlling the car’s vital functions. The hackers say they could control steering, throttle and brakes using the hacks. Although the target was a Corvette, the researchers said they could apply the hack to many more cars.

From the story:

“It’s not just this car that’s vulnerable,” says UCSD researcher Karl Koscher. He points to the work of researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, who revealed and published the code for a wide array of attacks on a Toyota Prius and Ford Escape in 2013 that required only access to a vehicle’s OBD2 port. “If you put this into a Prius, there are libraries of attacks ready to use online.”

MetroMile says it wirelessly updated its devices when it became aware of the hack weeks ago.

Hackers say that the hack may apply to Progressive Casualty Insurance Company’s Snapshot device, which also uses telematics to transmit information, however hackers didn’t provide a proof of concept for the device’s vulnerabilities earlier this year.

The Wired story offered a tidbit of terrifying information: UCSD hackers scanned the web using Shodan and found “thousands” of hackable devices — mostly in Spain. It was unclear in earlier hacking reports how vulnerable cars could be targeted without first having direct contact with the car or physical access. Now, apparently, there’s a web search for that.

In addition to insurance dongles, the hackers say similar hacks could be used for dongles placed in fleet vehicles used for tracking.

The post Apparently All Cars Can Be Hacked Now: Insurance Dongle Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apparently-cars-can-hacked-now-insurance-dongle-edition/feed/ 34
Apparently All Cars Can Be Hacked Now: Tesla Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apparently-cars-can-hacked-now-tesla-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apparently-cars-can-hacked-now-tesla-edition/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 16:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1135386 Two men say they’ve managed to shut off a Tesla Model S at low speeds, proving that no car is actually safe on the streets anymore and we should all go back to driving Chevrolet Vegas. The hack, which was reported by the Financial Times and detailed exhaustively by Wired, requires physical access to the […]

The post Apparently All Cars Can Be Hacked Now: Tesla Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2013-Tesla-Model-S-Rear

Two men say they’ve managed to shut off a Tesla Model S at low speeds, proving that no car is actually safe on the streets anymore and we should all go back to driving Chevrolet Vegas.

The hack, which was reported by the Financial Times and detailed exhaustively by Wired, requires physical access to the car’s infotainment system to exploit the vulnerability. The car can then be remotely disabled.

Similar to hackers who recently said they could start and stop OnStar-enabled vehicles, the two men who broke into Tesla’s software said they presented their findings to the automaker and Tesla released a patch for its cars Thursday. Last month, a vulnerability in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Uconnect system forced the automaker to recall 1.4 million cars.

The hackers say they are presenting their findings at the annual Def Con Hacking Conference, which begins Thursday. The hackers praised Tesla for a robust gateway between the car’s vulnerable systems and the computers that control vital functions such as steering, brakes and throttle.

At speeds lower than 5 mph, when Tesla cars lose power, the vehicles are stopped using the car’s handbrake. At speeds higher than 5 mph, the cars are put into neutral and steering and airbags still remain functional.

“That in itself I think is a huge achievement that I’d like to call Tesla out for,” Marc Rogers, chief researcher for CloudFare, told Wired. “This is a directly contrasting story to the Jeep story … Tesla had actually thought about the ramifications about what might happen and had designed the car to handle it gracefully and be safe … in such a way that catastrophic (failure) would not happen.”

The duo say that they’re using the hack to showcase how little attention some automakers have given to security.

“Early in the industry you have this kind of weird lemming effect, that if nobody does security well, they all kind of jump off the cliff simultaneously,” said Kevin Mahaffey, who is the chief technical officer for mobile security firm Lookout, told Wired. “And if there are one or two companies that are actually doing it well, then shining the light on them … helps raise the overall bar for the entire industry.”

The post Apparently All Cars Can Be Hacked Now: Tesla Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apparently-cars-can-hacked-now-tesla-edition/feed/ 21
GM Will Settle with 124 Families Over Ignition Switch Deaths http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/gm-will-settle-124-families-ignition-switch-deaths/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/gm-will-settle-124-families-ignition-switch-deaths/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1133969 General Motors announced Tuesday that it’ll settle with at least 124 families who claimed that faulty ignition switches killed family members, Car and Driver is reporting. The settlement comes after a long review to identify victims and people injured by the defective car part that could shut off and disable airbags in the process. The switches […]

The post GM Will Settle with 124 Families Over Ignition Switch Deaths appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
GMIgnitionAndSwitchAssembly02(1)

General Motors announced Tuesday that it’ll settle with at least 124 families who claimed that faulty ignition switches killed family members, Car and Driver is reporting. The settlement comes after a long review to identify victims and people injured by the defective car part that could shut off and disable airbags in the process.

The switches were part of a 2014 recall that involved 2.6 million cars, including the Chevrolet HHR and Cobalt, Saturn Sky and Ion, and Pontiac Solstice and G5. The reported number of dead people was revised as part of a year-long investigation after GM initially acknowledged only 13 fatalities.

The settlement may cost GM up to $625 million, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In all, 124 fatalities and 274 injuries have filed claims against the automaker. In addition to federal lawsuits, the automaker faces investigations by 50 state attorneys general.

The settlement may very well be the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end for a sad chapter in the automaker’s history where it initially covered up, failed to contact families, then failed to acknowledge the scope of the tragic problem.

As a result of the botched recall, the federal government has taken a tougher stance on the automakers and how it handles recalls, which could dramatically change the oversight bureau that handles automotive safety.

Nonetheless, the historical significance of the tragically bad recall will be noted as such: 124 deaths have been attributed to the faulty switch that would have cost $1 to fix in each car.

The post GM Will Settle with 124 Families Over Ignition Switch Deaths appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/gm-will-settle-124-families-ignition-switch-deaths/feed/ 4
FCA Dealers Can’t Sell Used Cars Without Recall Repairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/fca-dealers-cant-sell-used-cars-without-recall-repairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/fca-dealers-cant-sell-used-cars-without-recall-repairs/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1132529 Fiat Chrysler Automobile dealers won’t be able to sell cars without recall repair work or they risk losing their incentive money under a new agreement with the federal government, Automotive News is reporting. The agreement was part of the sweeping package penalties imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including up to $105 million […]

The post FCA Dealers Can’t Sell Used Cars Without Recall Repairs appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
east-brunswick-nj-jeep-dodge-chrysler-dealership-1024x768

Fiat Chrysler Automobile dealers won’t be able to sell cars without recall repair work or they risk losing their incentive money under a new agreement with the federal government, Automotive News is reporting.

The agreement was part of the sweeping package penalties imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including up to $105 million in fines. According to the consent agreement by the federal bureau and FCA, the company already asks dealers to complete recall work, but the new mandate would reinforce that existing policy.

In the United States, it’s illegal for a dealer to sell a new car without recall repair work, but no such law exists for used cars. A recent proposal in Congress to force used car dealers to complete open recall repair work was met with opposition.

Congress may approve a measure requiring car rental companies to comply with open recalls before it sends its cars out on to the roads.

According to a used car industry spokesman, the difficulty in getting all used car dealers to comply with recall repair work is resources and the dealers’ abilities to close the work orders with NHTSA. Only dealerships affiliated with manufacturers can perform open recall work and close those cars out with the federal safety bureau.

Carmax, for instance, provides a detailed report of recalls for its cars and encourages new buyers to register with the manufacturer to be notified of recalls. A recent report suggested that there may be up to 36 million cars on U.S. roads that haven’t complied with recalls.

It’s unclear from the consent order if the recall repair work applies only to FCA used cars sold on FCA lots, or if it would require all cars sold at FCA dealers to comply with manufacturer recalls.

The post FCA Dealers Can’t Sell Used Cars Without Recall Repairs appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/fca-dealers-cant-sell-used-cars-without-recall-repairs/feed/ 10
NHTSA Investigating Harman Kardon for Hacking Vulnerabilities http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nhtsa-investigating-harman-kardon-hacking-vulnerabilities/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nhtsa-investigating-harman-kardon-hacking-vulnerabilities/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 20:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1132601 Fresh from the recent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles infotainment-hacking flap, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced last week that it would look further into supplier Harman Kardon for possible vulnerabilities in other cars, the Associated Press reports (via Autoblog). Harman Kardon produces radios for automakers such as BMW, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, in addition to FCA. […]

The post NHTSA Investigating Harman Kardon for Hacking Vulnerabilities appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Harman Kardon Speaker

Fresh from the recent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles infotainment-hacking flap, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced last week that it would look further into supplier Harman Kardon for possible vulnerabilities in other cars, the Associated Press reports (via Autoblog).

Harman Kardon produces radios for automakers such as BMW, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, in addition to FCA.

Last month, FCA recalled 1.4 million cars after a vulnerability in its system was detailed by Wired, which allowed hackers to control critical functions in a Jeep Cherokee, including throttle, brakes and steering.

The automaker said the recall would fix a loophole in the 8.4-inch Uconnect systems that permitted the intrusion by hackers.

Last week, Wired detailed another hack that could reportedly open doors on an OnStar-equipped car made by General Motors and start its engine. GM said it patched that vulnerability without recalling its cars.

The post NHTSA Investigating Harman Kardon for Hacking Vulnerabilities appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nhtsa-investigating-harman-kardon-hacking-vulnerabilities/feed/ 2
Arrested for DUI, Woman’s Probation Becomes Nightmare http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/arrested-dui-womans-probation-becomes-nightmare/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/arrested-dui-womans-probation-becomes-nightmare/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 19:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1132673 Over the weekend, the New York Times detailed the story of a black woman in Baltimore who, 18 months after being arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol level of .09, has endured more than a year of unusually stiff penalties and harsh treatment. The story highlights the tale of 40-year-old Donyelle Hall who had a clean […]

The post Arrested for DUI, Woman’s Probation Becomes Nightmare appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Prison Jail

Over the weekend, the New York Times detailed the story of a black woman in Baltimore who, 18 months after being arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol level of .09, has endured more than a year of unusually stiff penalties and harsh treatment.

The story highlights the tale of 40-year-old Donyelle Hall who had a clean criminal record before her arrest on Christmas Day 2013 for drunken driving. After her arrest, the woman was forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorney and court costs, spend more than a month in jail and lost her job. Monthly probation costs for the woman were $385 a month alone.

The story outlines some of the inconsistencies among DUI enforcement from state-to-state — and even judge-to-judge. According to research by WalletHub, DUI laws can vary dramatically between states from a mandatory 10-day jail sentence and 90-day license suspension in Arizona to no mandatory jail time and no license suspension in South Dakota. A 2010 West Virginia case found that officers could issue a DUI and suspend a person’s license even if authorities couldn’t specifically prove that the person was driving.

According to Hall, officers wrongly said she and her husband resisted the officer’s commands and that she closed her eyes during her field sobriety test. When she was taken to jail, the Hall failed to provide a sufficient breathalyzer sample three times because of the 5-foot-tall woman’s lung capacity before she failed the fourth test.

Her .09 observed blood-alcohol level was over the .07 threshold in Maryland, but the story notes that for a woman of her weight and size, the difference between .06 and .09 would have been one glass of wine in a four-hour period.

In addition to highlighting inequities and shortcomings in the American probation system, the story also addresses how discretionary sentencing can vary from judge to judge. Hall said she had to appear in court five times to explain why she was forced to move “around the corner” after her apartment was infested with mice. Initially the judge denied her request to move, and eventually Hall didn’t move anyway.

According to NHTSA, drivers with blood-alcohol levels between .08 and .10 are 11 times more likely to crash than drivers with no alcohol in their bodies.

The post Arrested for DUI, Woman’s Probation Becomes Nightmare appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/arrested-dui-womans-probation-becomes-nightmare/feed/ 88
For $58 You May Pass the IIHS Small-overlap Crash http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/58-may-pass-iihs-small-overlap-crash/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/58-may-pass-iihs-small-overlap-crash/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 17:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1132489 Metal bars welded to the Ford F-150 Super Crew in front and behind its front wheels that helped it pass the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s notoriously difficult small-overlap crash cost roughly $58, Automotive News is reporting. It was revealed last week that the low-cost part was left off of regular- and extended-cab models, prompting the […]

The post For $58 You May Pass the IIHS Small-overlap Crash appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 F-150 Crash Test

Metal bars welded to the Ford F-150 Super Crew in front and behind its front wheels that helped it pass the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s notoriously difficult small-overlap crash cost roughly $58, Automotive News is reporting.

It was revealed last week that the low-cost part was left off of regular- and extended-cab models, prompting the insurance organization to retest the F-150 models and revise their ratings much lower than the original test.

According to Automotive News, Ford stopped short of saying that it would include the low-cost parts on the regular- and extended-cab versions of the truck, but said it would install “countermeasures” to improve crash performance. The regular and extended cab comprise about 5 and 25 percent of overall F-150 sales respectively.

Ram has said it would include the bars, which engineers have dubbed “wheel blockers,” in its pickups this year going forward.

overlap-overheadThe effectiveness of the relatively inexpensive part underscores the auto industry’s evolution to the small-overlap crash, which has been incredibly difficult for automakers since it was introduced three years ago. In 2012, only 3 out of 11 midsize luxury or near-luxury cars received “good” or “acceptable” ratings on the crash. In 2015, many of those ratings had improved to “good,” but when optional crash avoidance systems were installed on the car. For instance, the front crash mitigation package on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which scored a “good” rating when equipped with that option, costs $2,800.

Safety officials at the IIHS said they would begin testing the top two bestselling models of pickup trucks to avoid truckmakers testing only their most-popular models and applying the rating to the rest of its lineup without having the same equipment.

The post For $58 You May Pass the IIHS Small-overlap Crash appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/58-may-pass-iihs-small-overlap-crash/feed/ 90
OnStar Hack Can Open Doors, Start Car, Track Driver http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/onstar-hack-can-open-doors-start-car-track-driver/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/onstar-hack-can-open-doors-start-car-track-driver/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 19:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129417 Not content with scaring the bejesus out of Chrysler owners, Wired has uncovered a hacker who says he can open a GM car with OnStar, start it or track it remotely. The only thing he can’t do is put the car in gear or steer it, which still requires a key. Hacker Samy Kamkar says […]

The post OnStar Hack Can Open Doors, Start Car, Track Driver appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
cq5dam.web.1280.1280-3

Not content with scaring the bejesus out of Chrysler owners, Wired has uncovered a hacker who says he can open a GM car with OnStar, start it or track it remotely. The only thing he can’t do is put the car in gear or steer it, which still requires a key.

Hacker Samy Kamkar says his $100 device can seriously annoy — or seriously rob — a GM car owner if he wanted it to. GM promptly responded by saying it fixed the flaw in a way that owners won’t have update their cars.

Kamkar said his exploit wasn’t mean to cause mayhem, but rather to show how modern, technological cars can be vulnerable to hackers.

Kamkar’s hack wasn’t as simple as the St. Louis duo’s Uconnect exploit that prompted a recall earlier this month.

A WiFi-enabled box would be attached to the target vehicle and emulate a well-known network, such as a popular coffee shop hotspot. Assuming the user logged onto the phony network and launched the GM RemoteLink app, Kamkar’s hack could retrieve the car’s data, including position. Kamkar could unlock the doors — or start the car.

“As soon as you’re on my network and you open the app, I’ve taken over,” Kamkar told Wired.

Kamkar said he’s only tried the hack on his friend’s 2013 Chevrolet Volt, but he’s confident the system would work on any OnStar-enabled car.

GM said it became aware of the hack a few days ago and patched the issue within hours of the story’s publish earlier today.

Surprisingly, this photo is provided by the manufacturer.

The post OnStar Hack Can Open Doors, Start Car, Track Driver appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/onstar-hack-can-open-doors-start-car-track-driver/feed/ 19
IIHS: Not All Ford F-150s Are Built Just As Tough http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/iihs-not-ford-f-150s-built-just-tough/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/iihs-not-ford-f-150s-built-just-tough/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129193 Automotive News is reporting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will rate versions of Ford’s F-150 pickup with dramatically different safety ratings after re-testing versions of the pickup, which is a highly unusual move for the safety nonprofit. The SuperCrew cab version of the F-150 earned the highest marks from the IIHS in its small overlap […]

The post IIHS: Not All Ford F-150s Are Built Just As Tough appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015_Ford_F-150_Pickup_Truck

Automotive News is reporting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will rate versions of Ford’s F-150 pickup with dramatically different safety ratings after re-testing versions of the pickup, which is a highly unusual move for the safety nonprofit.

The SuperCrew cab version of the F-150 earned the highest marks from the IIHS in its small overlap crash test, earning a Top Safety Pick rating. The re-tested SuperCab registers only a “marginal” rating in the same crash.

The difference, according to Automotive News, are tubular frames called “wheel blockers” installed on the SuperCrew, but missing from the SuperCab and Regular Cab models.

David Zuby, who is the chief research officer for the IIHS, said that the crash ratings between different cab versions could give buyers the wrong impression.

“(It) shortchanges buyers who might pick the extended cab thinking it offers the same protection in this type of crash as the crew cab,” Zuby told Automotive News.

A Ford spokesman said the company would look into adding additional safety measures into the Regular Cab and SuperCab versions of the F-150 for 2016.

The wheel blockers present on the SuperCrew, but missing on the SuperCab and Regular Cab, significantly varied the trucks’ performances on the small overlap crash test. In the follow-up test conducted on the SuperCab, the “intruding structure seriously compromised the driver’s survival space,” the IIHS told Automotive News.

The notoriously difficult small overlap test has been particularly difficult for automakers to solve. It’s unclear why Ford put the wheel blockers on the SuperCrew, but not the SuperCab and Regular Cab. Zuby offered a possible solution.

“I think automakers are trying to design the vehicles to offer the best protection for their customers,” he told Automotive News. “But occasionally, we do see evidence that maybe they are trying to get a good rating in a test, maybe without looking for a completely holistic solution.”

The IIHS tests only high-volume models. Historically the SuperCab and Regular Cab models only comprised 25 and 5 percent of sales respectively.

The post IIHS: Not All Ford F-150s Are Built Just As Tough appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/iihs-not-ford-f-150s-built-just-tough/feed/ 73
Volkswagen Bringing Safety To The People For 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volkswagen-bringing-safety-to-the-people-for-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volkswagen-bringing-safety-to-the-people-for-2016/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 21:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1128569 Volkswagen has announced sweeping changes to their suite of tech-driven safety features for the 2016 model year, making a vast array of options available on almost every model within its range. The features, which are currently only available on the Touareg, will trickle down to a number of other models including the Beetle, CC, Jetta, […]

The post Volkswagen Bringing Safety To The People For 2016 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Der neue Volkswagen Touareg

Volkswagen has announced sweeping changes to their suite of tech-driven safety features for the 2016 model year, making a vast array of options available on almost every model within its range.

The features, which are currently only available on the Touareg, will trickle down to a number of other models including the Beetle, CC, Jetta, Passat and Golf in all its flavors.

Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); the Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist); and an active Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist) system” are all mentioned in the release sent out today by Volkswagen of America.

The changes are also part of a planned upgrade to infotainment systems in Volkswagen vehicles for 2016. The new infotainment system, dubbed MIB II, will bring with it an improved touchscreen display and USB ports to Volkswagen’s most popular models.

You can check out the full changes to Volkswagen’s safety features on their media portal.

The post Volkswagen Bringing Safety To The People For 2016 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volkswagen-bringing-safety-to-the-people-for-2016/feed/ 31
No, Fiat Chrysler Probably Won’t Go Broke Buying Back Used Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/no-fiat-chrysler-probably-wont-go-broke-buying-back-used-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/no-fiat-chrysler-probably-wont-go-broke-buying-back-used-cars/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126033 After this morning’s announcement that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would be subject to one of the largest civil penalties for an automaker, reports that the automaker could be on the hook for $2.5 billion in cars aren’t true, the automaker said today. “While such amounts may exceed the $20 million, contrary to certain reports, FCA US does […]

The post No, Fiat Chrysler Probably Won’t Go Broke Buying Back Used Cars appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2009_Dodge_RAM_1500_SLT_4-door_pickup_--_NHTSA_01

After this morning’s announcement that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would be subject to one of the largest civil penalties for an automaker, reports that the automaker could be on the hook for $2.5 billion in cars aren’t true, the automaker said today.

“While such amounts may exceed the $20 million, contrary to certain reports, FCA US does not expect that the net cost of providing these additional alternatives will be material to its financial position, liquidity or results of operations,” the automaker said in a statement.

In other words, expect to find some screaming deals on Ram trucks in the next few months.

The automaker announced on its website that not all customers would participate in the buyback plan and that 60 percent of the affected vehicles had been repaired already. That leaves roughly 200,000 cars that could be eligible for free repairs or to be purchased by FCA.

Those vehicles would be purchased at “a price equal to the original purchase price less a reasonable allowance for depreciation plus ten percent,” according to the automaker.

The manufacturer said under the guidelines of the penalty, it would be allowed to resell the recalled trucks to the public.

The vehicles that may be eligible for repurchase are:

• 2009-2012 Ram 1500s

• 2008-2012 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4, Ram 2500 4×4, 3500 4×4, 4500 4×4, 4500 4×4

• 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango

• 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota

The post No, Fiat Chrysler Probably Won’t Go Broke Buying Back Used Cars appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/no-fiat-chrysler-probably-wont-go-broke-buying-back-used-cars/feed/ 29
Fiat Chrysler May Have to Take Back 1.5M Defective Jeeps, Rams http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-may-take-back-1-5m-defective-jeeps-rams/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-may-take-back-1-5m-defective-jeeps-rams/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125729 In an order detailing the largest civil penalty for an automaker so far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have to buy back 500,000 defective trucks and accept trade-in above market value for 1 million defective Jeeps . The automaker’s record $105 million fine includes a $70 million […]

The post Fiat Chrysler May Have to Take Back 1.5M Defective Jeeps, Rams appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
FCA US LLC HQ WTFBBQ

In an order detailing the largest civil penalty for an automaker so far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have to buy back 500,000 defective trucks and accept trade-in above market value for 1 million defective Jeeps .

The automaker’s record $105 million fine includes a $70 million penalty, $20 million set aside for meeting safety standards dictated by the federal bureau and an additional $15 million in penalties if an independent monitor discovers further safety violations.

The record ruling comes after the agency said FCA botched recalls of more than 11 million vehicles for wide ranging issues, including Jeep models with rear gas tanks that could catch fire in rear collisions. The issue has been linked to more than 50 deaths. 

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind scolded the automaker in a statement Monday announcing the fine.

“Fiat Chrysler’s pattern of poor performance put millions of its customers, and the driving public, at risk,” he said. “This action will provide relief to owners of defective vehicles, will help improve recall performance throughout the auto industry, and gives Fiat Chrysler the opportunity to embrace a proactive safety culture.”

According to a statement by the automaker, Jeep owners who haven’t yet complied with their recall could get a $100 gift card to bring their vehicle into a dealer. Owners of defective Jeep models would also be eligible to trade in their vehicle for $1,000 above fair market value.

In addition to the Jeep fix, FCA will attempt to purchase or fix for free Ram trucks or Chrysler SUVs with a suspension defect that could cause the car to lose control. FCA could resell those fixed cars.

The automaker will have to submit to independent monitoring of its recalls for the next three years, with NHTSA being able to extend that agreement further for an additional year.

Last week, FCA announced it would be recalling 1.4 million cars for a security vulnerability that could allow hackers to remotely take control of a vehicle.

Read the ruling here.

The vehicles that may be eligible for repurchase are:

• 2009-2012 Ram 1500s

• 2008-2012 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4, Ram 2500 4×4, 3500 4×4, 4500 4×4, 4500 4×4

• 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango

• 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota

The vehicles that may be eligible for a $100 gift card for dealer inspection or $1,000 over market value for trade-in are:

• 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

• 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty

The post Fiat Chrysler May Have to Take Back 1.5M Defective Jeeps, Rams appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-may-take-back-1-5m-defective-jeeps-rams/feed/ 63
To Prevent Hot Car Deaths, Evenflo & Walmart Introduce Child Seat that Reminds You a Baby’s on Board http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/prevent-hot-car-deaths-evenflo-walmart-introduce-child-seat-reminds-babys-board/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/prevent-hot-car-deaths-evenflo-walmart-introduce-child-seat-reminds-babys-board/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:30:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125161 Every year about three dozen children die after being accidentally left in hot cars. Babies fall asleep, parents get distracted, and tragedy results. Baby products maker Evenflo and retailer Walmart have worked together to produce a baby car seat that alerts the driver if the seat is occupied when the car’s ignition is turned off.  […]

The post To Prevent Hot Car Deaths, Evenflo & Walmart Introduce Child Seat that Reminds You a Baby’s on Board appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

Every year about three dozen children die after being accidentally left in hot cars. Babies fall asleep, parents get distracted, and tragedy results. Baby products maker Evenflo and retailer Walmart have worked together to produce a baby car seat that alerts the driver if the seat is occupied when the car’s ignition is turned off. 

The Evenflo Advanced Embrace with SensorSafe has a retail price of ~$150, similar to what you’d pay for many of the popular child seats available today. The seat has a wireless sensor in the chest clip that secures the two shoulder straps in place on the child. That sensor communicates with a device that plugs into the car’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) port, which interfaces with the car’s systems.

FOR BUSINESS -- WalMart Safe Sensor Baby Seat  CREDIT: Evenflo

While there are accessories and smartphone apps that accomplish the same task, this is the first child car seat with the technology built in. It took some work to come up with a unique alert, one that was easily distinguishable from existing tones used in vehicles or on phones. The seat is designed for children up to 30 inches tall and up to 35 lbs in weight.

infant clip

Because of Walmart’s involvement in the seat’s development, it will be exclusive to that retailer for a year. You can buy one right away on Walmart.com, or wait till mid August and buy it at one of their brick and mortar stores.

The new child seat is a good idea, but if I can digress slightly…

While, obviously, one should never leave a child (or a pet) in a hot (or cold), car, for what it’s worth, as a parent and grandparent I chafe at those absolutist nannies who say, “You should NEVER leave a child alone in a car.” Would they let a two year old run free in their house while they brought in the groceries? Providing the car is running and locked, the HVAC system is set to a safe temperature, and the car is in sight, I see no reason to wake a sleeping small child and unstrap them, just so I can run into the FedEx store and drop off a package. In that situation, it seems to me that the child would be no less safe then he would be sleeping alone in his crib at home, unsupervised for hours at a time.

The post To Prevent Hot Car Deaths, Evenflo & Walmart Introduce Child Seat that Reminds You a Baby’s on Board appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/prevent-hot-car-deaths-evenflo-walmart-introduce-child-seat-reminds-babys-board/feed/ 66
Domestic Automakers Lobby to Streamline US-EU Safety Regulations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/domestic-automakers-lobby-to-streamline-us-eu-safety-regulations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/domestic-automakers-lobby-to-streamline-us-eu-safety-regulations/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 16:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125273 Automakers are pressing U.S. and European governments to find common ground on safety regulations to save them hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs, Automotive News is reporting. Automakers have to change dozens of components on their cars at a huge cost to comply with different safety standards. The article said to make a […]

The post Domestic Automakers Lobby to Streamline US-EU Safety Regulations appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Qoros-3-Sedan-Safety-structure

Automakers are pressing U.S. and European governments to find common ground on safety regulations to save them hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs, Automotive News is reporting.

Automakers have to change dozens of components on their cars at a huge cost to comply with different safety standards. The article said to make a popular U.S. car in 2013 comply with European safety standards cost $42 million for the automaker.

Trade talks have been been ongoing for 10 months and lobbyists are hoping one government will adopt the standards of the other, instead of creating a separate system.

The story details the differences between U.S. and E.U. safety regulations, as small as a trunk release latch in the U.S that isn’t required in Europe, all the way up to small overlap front crash protection.

Despite the differences, both sets of safety regulations create equally safe cars and would boost EU-U.S. auto trade by 20 percent, the Peterson Institute for International Economics said in a study.

This isn’t the first call for harmonized regulations, Ford and Daimler have both asked for unified standards.

The post Domestic Automakers Lobby to Streamline US-EU Safety Regulations appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/domestic-automakers-lobby-to-streamline-us-eu-safety-regulations/feed/ 97
GM Opens $14M Safety and Autonomous Car Testing Area http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-opens-14m-safety-and-autonomous-car-testing-area/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-opens-14m-safety-and-autonomous-car-testing-area/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 16:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125113 General Motors has opened a 52-acre testing ground for safety features and self-driving car technology at its Milford Proving Ground facility, the Detroit News is reporting. The site includes areas for pedestrian safety, highway testing and 16 acres for autonomous vehicle testing. The $14,000,000 facility is already being used for some testing. The facility opens […]

The post GM Opens $14M Safety and Autonomous Car Testing Area appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
GM safety

General Motors has opened a 52-acre testing ground for safety features and self-driving car technology at its Milford Proving Ground facility, the Detroit News is reporting.

The site includes areas for pedestrian safety, highway testing and 16 acres for autonomous vehicle testing. The $14,000,000 facility is already being used for some testing.

The facility opens as the automaker is still under fire for failing to recall millions of cars with faulty ignition systems, which is being investigated by federal and state officials.

The automaker is reportedly testing Super Cruise at the new facility and on the streets, which is an advanced safety features that GM says could debut in 2017. The system would drive the car completely at highway speeds and in stop-and-go traffic.

GM is also working on vehicle-to-vehicle communication that could enable cars to “talk” to each other, communicating road conditions and alerting traffic of upcoming accidents.

The post GM Opens $14M Safety and Autonomous Car Testing Area appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-opens-14m-safety-and-autonomous-car-testing-area/feed/ 11
Michigan to Stay Ahead of Silicon Valley with “Mcity” for Autonomous & Connected Car R&D http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/michigan-tries-stay-ahead-silicon-valley-mcity-autonomous-connected-car-rd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/michigan-tries-stay-ahead-silicon-valley-mcity-autonomous-connected-car-rd/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1121737 The facility was mostly deserted by the time I got there deliberately late to avoid politicians’ speechifying. Between the very realistic — but empty — roadways with functional traffic lights, railway crossings, and even parking meters, on one hand, and the two city blocks of obviously faux buildings, theatrical scrims really, on the other, I […]

The post Michigan to Stay Ahead of Silicon Valley with “Mcity” for Autonomous & Connected Car R&D appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
IMG_0437

The facility was mostly deserted by the time I got there deliberately late to avoid politicians’ speechifying. Between the very realistic — but empty — roadways with functional traffic lights, railway crossings, and even parking meters, on one hand, and the two city blocks of obviously faux buildings, theatrical scrims really, on the other, I felt that at any second, things might switch to black and white and Rod Serling would step out from behind one of the backdrops.

I wasn’t in the Twilight Zone, though. I was on a gentle hillside on the north side of Ann Arbor.

While Serling’s landmark science fiction and fantasy show sometimes gave us a peek at what the future might look like, the 32 acre Mcity autonomous and connected vehicle research facility that opened yesterday on the University of Michigan’s north campus is definitely one of the places where the future of personal transportation will be made.

7/15/15               2015 UM Aerials -July                 MCity, North Campus, Munger Grad                            Residency,Campus construction.

At first glance, Mcity does look more like a movie set than a high tech R&D installation and the $10 million that it cost to build doesn’t seem like much to an industry where it costs a billion dollars to develop a new car, but the facility’s promise is such that almost 50 private sector companies are partners in the project.

IMG_0433

The fact that Mcity even exists is because of a unique partnership between the public and private sectors. The state of Michigan, via MDOT, put up $3 million, with UofM, a public university, also kicking in part of the construction costs. It looks like operational costs, at least for the next three years, will be covered by the private sector. Fifteen companies make up what is being called the Leadership Circle, which means they’ve each pledged $1 million to be paid out over three years. The Leadership Circle is a veritable who’s who of the industry including Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Delphi, Denso, Bosch, Xerox, Verizon and Qualcomm. Another 32 firms have committed $150,000 each.

IMG_0428

The members of the Leadership Circle aren’t being completely altruistic. That level of contribution gives those companies access to all the research that will be performed at the facility, regardless of who is doing or sponsoring the work.

mtc_illust_with_callouts.final

That level of cooperation between car companies would not have been possible a generation or two ago, when the U.S. Dept. of Justice had automakers so worried about possible charges of collusion or violating anti-trust statutes that auto executives wouldn’t play golf with their counterparts for fear of an investigation. Of course, that level of cooperation will be necessary for the development of technical standards for vehicle to vehicle communication and other aspects of connected and autonomous driving.

IMG_0429

The interest of the auto industry in Mcity is obvious — they can use it to test their tech. The interest of the University of Michigan is also pretty obvious. UoM’s engineering school has long had a very close relationship to the auto industry and the school wants to stay on the cutting edge along with their corporate partners. Mcity is part of the university’s Transportation Research Institute. The state of Michigan’s interest is keeping itself the global center of the auto industry.

IMG_0424

With Elon Musk dissing “Detroit” at every opportunity (while staffing Tesla with engineers and designers with the domestic automakers on their resumes), tech behemoth Google testing a fleet of driverless cars, and even rumors of Apple getting into the car biz, there has been boasts from the West Coast and concerns from the rust belt that as computer technology becomes more and more important to how cars work Silicon Valley might displace Detroit as the center of innovation in the auto industry.

Mcity is the state of Michigan saying, “not so fast” to Silicon Valley. So far, it appears to be the only facility of its kind in the world.

The site is realistic down to the handicapped parking spaces and meters. So far no meter maids.

The site is realistic down to the handicapped parking spaces and meters. So far no meter maids.

The test environment (Mcity is adverse to calling it a mere “test track”) is supposed to replicate “the broad range of complexities vehicles encounter in urban and suburban environments.” There are about five miles of roadways including, intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings (both fixed and moveable), street lights, and obstacles such as construction barriers, “pedestrians”, and railroad crossings. A variety of road surfaces are used including concrete, asphalt and brick paving as well as metal grid and gravel surfaces. There’s a 1,000 foot straight along with a variety of curves and ramps with different radii. There are two, three and four lane roads as well as bike lanes and a roundabout. What looks like a covered bridge is supposed to simulate tunnels and overpasses. One street is covered overhead with netting to reproduce the shade from a canopy of trees. There are parallel and angle parked cars as well as mechanized bicycles, fire hydrants and both fixed and variable lighting and traffic control devices.

IMG_0443

The Mcity facility is supported by the University of Michigan, the Michigan Dept. of Transportation, and about 50 corporate partners, including 15 “Leadership Circle” members that have each pledged $1 million.

While there are ramps and signs that look like they do on an interstate highway, there will be no high speed testing at the facility, despite the ‘road train’ of cars and trucks traveling in unison on a highway in Mcity’s animated promotional video. The top speed allowed at the facility is just 40 mph.

Mcity looks very modern and tidy. Everything follows the latest designs for roadways, etc. and I have to wonder how a car developed at Mcity might do in an urban area that’s a bit more vintage — like San Francisco or Rome. I wonder if Mcity has developed a protocol for dealing with New York City levels of litter.

Aerial photo and infographic courtesy of the University of Michigan. All other photos by the author.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

The post Michigan to Stay Ahead of Silicon Valley with “Mcity” for Autonomous & Connected Car R&D appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/michigan-tries-stay-ahead-silicon-valley-mcity-autonomous-connected-car-rd/feed/ 25