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. Wed, 01 Jul 2015 22:30:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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/ Takata’s Shigehisa Takada Publicly Apologizes For Airbag Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/takatas-shigehisa-takada-publicly-apologizes-for-airbag-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/takatas-shigehisa-takada-publicly-apologizes-for-airbag-crisis/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099761 Spending a year out of the public eye since Takata’s airbag crisis exploded, president Shigehisa Takada publicly apologized for the situation Thursday. Following the supplier’s annual shareholders meeting — where he made his last public appearance a year earlier — Takada bowed and apologized at a public conference over the eight fatalities and the hundreds […]

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Shigehisa TakadaSpending a year out of the public eye since Takata’s airbag crisis exploded, president Shigehisa Takada publicly apologized for the situation Thursday.

Following the supplier’s annual shareholders meeting — where he made his last public appearance a year earlier — Takada bowed and apologized at a public conference over the eight fatalities and the hundreds of injuries caused by his company’s airbags over the past decade, Automotive News writes:

I apologize for not having been able to communicate directly earlier, and also apologize for people who died or were injured. I feel sorry our products hurt customers, despite the fact that we are a supplier of safety products.

Takada says his company is looking over ways to help those affected by the airbags, including the establishment of a compensation fund.

Meanwhile, shareholders took him to task for disappearing from the public eye instead of facing the music, the slow progress on the investigation into the root cause behind the catastrophic failures of Takata’s airbags, and the lack of dividends.

Regarding the last point, Takada says he hoped dividend payments would resume “as soon as possible” once the crisis was resolved, adding he intends to see through to the end as its president. He declined to speculate as to when the end of the crisis would come, stating “the analysis isn’t progressing very well” as far as the investigation goes.

The apology comes after FCA cut ties with Takata, bringing aboard rival TRW Automotive to supply the 4 million modules needed to replace the defect airbags. The decision was made on the basis Takata would continue to use ammonium nitrate in its airbags — the same chemical linked to the catastrophic failures — whereas TRW uses a safer chemical propellant in its units.

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Uber Bans Drivers, Passengers From Carrying Guns During Rides http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/uber-bans-drivers-passengers-from-carrying-guns-during-rides/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/uber-bans-drivers-passengers-from-carrying-guns-during-rides/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 19:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097937 Uber drivers and passengers alike are now banned from carrying their guns into town, thanks to a new policy. While no explanation has been given about the new policy, the following was implemented after a recent incident in April, where an Uber driver stopped what would have been a mass shooting in Chicago, according to […]

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Uber At Igby's In Cincy Circa April 2014

Uber drivers and passengers alike are now banned from carrying their guns into town, thanks to a new policy.

While no explanation has been given about the new policy, the following was implemented after a recent incident in April, where an Uber driver stopped what would have been a mass shooting in Chicago, according to The Truth About Guns:

We seek to ensure that everyone using the Uber digital platform — both driver-partners and riders — feels safe and comfortable using the service. During a ride arranged through the Uber platform, Uber and its affiliates therefore prohibit possessing firearms of any kind in a vehicle. Any rider or driver found to have violated this prohibition may lose access to the Uber platform.

The stance — long since adopted by competing transportation network company Lyft — contrasts what a spokeswoman for the TNC said after the incident in Chicago, stating its drivers were only required to abide by local, state and federal laws on the matter of carrying guns in one’s glove compartment.

(Photo credit: Uber/Facebook)

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Why Did The Airbags In This BMW X5 Deploy Without Warning? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/airbags-bmw-x5-deploy-without-warning/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/airbags-bmw-x5-deploy-without-warning/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 12:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096281 “I was pulling into a parking lot and I stopped so I could back into a spot. I had a friend of mine in the passenger seat. I backed into the spot, and was in a stopped position. I was in neutral (the vehicle is a manual 5 speed). My friend got out of the […]

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“I was pulling into a parking lot and I stopped so I could back into a spot. I had a friend of mine in the passenger seat. I backed into the spot, and was in a stopped position. I was in neutral (the vehicle is a manual 5 speed). My friend got out of the car, I had my door open as well. As my friend got out of the passenger side and was closing the door both airbags deployed.”

Not exactly what you’d expect, right?


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Over the weekend, I got a tip about a BMW X5 that experienced an unintended double airbag deployment. I reached out to the owner to get more details. It’s a 2002 X5 3.0i with the rare manual transmission. He bought it with 76,000 miles and a clean CarFax; in the past three years he’s taken it all the way to 155,000 on the odometer.

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He’s not the only person to experience this kind of issue: I was quickly able to find an instance of another no-impact deployment. Turns out, however, that it was a 2006 X5, which is the second generation of the model.

It’s easy to imagine any number of scenarios where a deployment like this could cause a major safety hazard; it’s a good thing it never happened when the X5 was testing at the Nurburgring, right? So far, BMW NA’s response has been to offer a free inspection. We’ll keep you posted on what happens next. In the meantime, if you have an X5, particularly one that is close to, or past, its tenth birthday, you might want to have the bags checked.

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Report: NHTSA Failed Consumers Over Automotive Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/report-nhtsa-failed-consumers-over-automotive-safety/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/report-nhtsa-failed-consumers-over-automotive-safety/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 20:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097473 Last Friday, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General dropped the sledgehammer on the NHTSA over its failings in automotive safety. The 42-page report released to the public Monday says the agency fails to do all it can to promote automotive safety, from carefully reviewing safety issues and holding automakers accountable for potential problems, […]

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BMW 325Ci on Fire

Last Friday, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General dropped the sledgehammer on the NHTSA over its failings in automotive safety.

The 42-page report released to the public Monday says the agency fails to do all it can to promote automotive safety, from carefully reviewing safety issues and holding automakers accountable for potential problems, to carefully collecting data and properly training its employees, The Detroit News reports.

The report — the result of the NHTSA’s stumblings surrounding the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall crisis — notes the agency ignored complaints as early as 2003 from consumers regarding air bag deployment failures in certain GM models over the years.

The issue isn’t out of the ordinary, unfortunately, as the agency was found to ignore 90 percent of all consumer complaints arriving daily. The screeners responsible for reading them spent mere “seconds” on each complaint, with one screener having gone over 78,000 in one year — 330/day — while working in other duties.

Regarding self-reporting from automakers, the NHTSA isn’t doing all it can to determine accuracy in what is reported. According to Jalopnik, what everyone else would call a fire, manufactures call it something else:

However, according to [NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation] staff, manufacturers routinely miscategorize safety incidents. For example, staff told us that some manufacturers avoid using the word “fire” in non-dealer field reports and instead use phrases such as “strange odor” to avoid categorizing an incident as fire-related.

The Inspector General’s report lists 17 major recommendations needed to extensively reform the NHTSA, reforms administrator Mark Rosekind plans to “aggressively implement” by June 2016. Rosekind and the Inspector General, Calvin Scovel, are among those set to testify before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday on automotive safety.

(Photo credit: Tony Webster/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

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Nürburgring Management Bans Manufacturers From Attempting, Publishing ‘Ring Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nurburgring-management-bans-manufacturers-from-attempting-publishing-ring-times/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nurburgring-management-bans-manufacturers-from-attempting-publishing-ring-times/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 17:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095969 Depending on one’s point of view, this is either the best or the worst thing to happen: The ‘Ring time is no more on the Nürburgring. During filming of “APEX: The Story of the Hypercar” — a documentary following auto manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche and Koenigsegg over three years as they battle for halo-car dominance, […]

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BMW M5 Ring Taxi

Depending on one’s point of view, this is either the best or the worst thing to happen: The ‘Ring time is no more on the Nürburgring.

During filming of “APEX: The Story of the Hypercar” — a documentary following auto manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche and Koenigsegg over three years as they battle for halo-car dominance, with the ‘Ring as the backdrop — director J.F. Musial said he received a phone call from Koenigsegg founder and CEO Christian Von Koenigsegg, informing him the track’s management had banned all manufacturers from attempting and publishing times achieved on the famed course. Koenigsegg had planned to put his One:1 through the pace prior to the ban.

The ban stems from an accident during a VLN race in March involving driver Jann Mardenborough, where a spectator was killed as a result. Management reacted by imposing a speed limit at the site where the accident occurred, followed by similar limits on other high-speed portions of the ‘Ring.

While management is set to review the limits at the end of this year, manufacturers are barred from making lap-record runs, even if the entire track was closed to the public for said runs. However, a run recorded by Lamborghini with its Aventador SV was allowed — under the claim the run happened before the limits were in place — while WTCC is permitted to ignore the limits altogether.

(Photo credit: elyob/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Fatal Accident In Louisiana Could Be Seventh Linked To Takata Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fatal-accident-in-louisiana-could-be-seventh-linked-to-takata-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fatal-accident-in-louisiana-could-be-seventh-linked-to-takata-airbag-recall/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 18:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090689 A fatal accident in Louisiana involving a Takata-equipped Honda may be the seventh fatality linked to the supplier’s ongoing airbag crisis. Kylan Langlinais of Lafayette, La. lost her life in early April of this year when her 2005 Honda Civic crashed into a utility pole at 4 a.m., Bloomberg says, at which point the driver-side […]

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Takata Agua Prieta Mexico Facility

A fatal accident in Louisiana involving a Takata-equipped Honda may be the seventh fatality linked to the supplier’s ongoing airbag crisis.

Kylan Langlinais of Lafayette, La. lost her life in early April of this year when her 2005 Honda Civic crashed into a utility pole at 4 a.m., Bloomberg says, at which point the driver-side airbag catastrophically deployed, spraying metal shrapnel throughout the cabin.

As noted in the complaint filed in federal court Monday, a recall notice for her Honda arrived in the mail two days after the crash, two days before her passing.

The most recent fatality linked to Takata’s airbags came in January, when Carlos Solis IV of Spring, Texas lost his life following a crash in his 2002 Honda Accord, marking the fourth fatal accident in the United States reported by Honda prior to Langlinais’ accident. Three other confirmed deaths, another under investigation, and at least 60 injuries were also reported by the automaker for the U.S. market, while another fatality was confirmed in Malaysia.

The report of a new accident possibly linked to Takata comes nearly a month after the supplier admitted as many as 34 million vehicles in the U.S. could be affected, leading to one of the largest product recalls in U.S. history.

[Photo credit: Takata]

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US Attorney’s Office Consider Charging General Motors With Criminal Wire Fraud http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-attorneys-office-consider-charging-general-motors-with-criminal-wire-fraud/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-attorneys-office-consider-charging-general-motors-with-criminal-wire-fraud/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 15:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1088961 Federal prosecutors in New York are considering criminal wire fraud charges against General Motors over its role in the February 2014 ignition recall. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are also considering other charges against GM, though they hope to reach a settlement with the automaker by late summer or […]

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Renaissance Center At Night Circa January 2011

Federal prosecutors in New York are considering criminal wire fraud charges against General Motors over its role in the February 2014 ignition recall.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are also considering other charges against GM, though they hope to reach a settlement with the automaker by late summer or early fall of this year, Reuters reports.

The basis for the wire fraud claim is linked to the prosecutors’ findings suggesting GM possibly hid information about the defects in the ignition switches installed in 2.66 million vehicles made in the early through mid-2000s, as well as made misleading statements on the issue.

The yet-to-be-finalized action is one more legal action GM has on its plate, following numerous civil lawsuits, over 4,300 compensation claims, and an ongoing criminal probe set to conclude the interview phase by October.

As far as settlements with the government are concerned involving the wire fraud charge, CEO Mary Barra informed shareholders her company fully cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and any settlements to be made would occur on the company’s timeline.

[Photo credit: John Marino/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Indiana Latest To Penalize Slow Left Lane Motorists http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/indiana-latest-to-penalize-slow-left-lane-motorists/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/indiana-latest-to-penalize-slow-left-lane-motorists/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 20:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1088545 For those who despise being stuck behind left lane hogs, days could be short thanks to a handful of states cracking down on slow drivers. Indiana is the latest to establish fines on motorists who choose to remain in the left lane rather than moving back onto the right to let faster motorists pass by, […]

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Passing_vehicle_I-15_rural_Utah_July_2011

For those who despise being stuck behind left lane hogs, days could be short thanks to a handful of states cracking down on slow drivers.

Indiana is the latest to establish fines on motorists who choose to remain in the left lane rather than moving back onto the right to let faster motorists pass by, The Detroit Bureau reports. The fine would be up to $500/ticket for a driver caught driving in the left lane 10 mph under the speed limit.

Georgia, New Jersey, Florida and Michigan are among those with similar policies, with Florida docking three points on a motorist’s license in addition to a monetary fine, and Michigan fining drivers who remain in the left lane after passing; said law is rarely enforced, especially in metropolitan area due to high traffic levels. Overall, a total of 40 states have left lane legislation on the books, with states like Oregon and Ohio planning to join soon.

Critics of such legislation believe penalization of slower left lane drivers would only serve to encourage speeding, while advocates and experts counter by stating encouraging said drivers to remain or return to the right lane leads to greater passing and overall traffic safety. Leaving slow drivers in the left can create situations leading to greater chances of injury and death by forcing faster motorists to pass on the right.

[Photo credit: Garrett/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Google Wades Carefully Into Connected-Vehicle Waters With Android Auto http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/google-wades-carefully-into-connected-vehicle-waters-with-android-auto/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/google-wades-carefully-into-connected-vehicle-waters-with-android-auto/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 19:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087737 Though Google’s Android OS may be awash with numerous apps, Android Auto goes for a more limited approach in the name of traffic safety. Appearing in the showrooms of Hyundai, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, and other automakers this summer, Android Auto will only have 35 apps available for the time being, Automotive News reports. The limitation is […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Spark-Android-Auto-013

Though Google’s Android OS may be awash with numerous apps, Android Auto goes for a more limited approach in the name of traffic safety.

Appearing in the showrooms of Hyundai, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, and other automakers this summer, Android Auto will only have 35 apps available for the time being, Automotive News reports. The limitation is part of Google’s effort to carefully enter the realm of connected-vehicle technology, especially when it comes to minimizing distraction while on the road.

Thus, Google’s finest minds have created templates to which third-party apps must adhere, with streaming audio apps Audible, Pandora and Spotify, as well as messaging apps WhatsApp, WeChat and Telegram all pass with flying colors. The templates use a common button layout and a new common typeface called Roboto, both intended to minimize constant learning of new apps via standardized controls, thus preventing distractions in so doing.

While Google is moving steadily into the water, automakers are doing the same with Android Auto. Audi in particular has tested over 10 exclusive apps since early 2014, including ones which would track traffic history and help off-roaders tackle obstacles in the next-gen Q7. Thus far, none are ready for prime time. Meanwhile, Hyundai is first out of the gate with the connected-vehicle system aboard the 2015 Sonata, with the first models and over-the-air updates coming this month.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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NHTSA Facing The Music Over Role In 2014 GM Ignition Recall Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nhtsa-facing-the-music-over-role-in-2014-gm-ignition-recall-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nhtsa-facing-the-music-over-role-in-2014-gm-ignition-recall-crisis/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087617 A year after General Motors went under the gun for its part of the February 2014 ignition recall crisis, the NHTSA is now facing the music for the rest. According to two internal reports released last Friday from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the agency failed several times to prevent the defective ignition switch found […]

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GMIgnitionAndSwitchAssembly02(1)

A year after General Motors went under the gun for its part of the February 2014 ignition recall crisis, the NHTSA is now facing the music for the rest.

According to two internal reports released last Friday from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the agency failed several times to prevent the defective ignition switch found in certain GM models from being repaired for over a decade, says The New York Times.

While the reports did lay the majority of the blame on GM, the blunt assessment of the NHTSA’s part of the story is now leading to improvements and revisions with the agency’s methodology into potential safety problems. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx confirmed as much during a conference call with reporters following the release of the reports, acknowledging “deficits” in the methodology, and admitting there was “room for self-improvement.”

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind added he had not disciplined or dismissed any officials involved in the GM recall, but did note the improper handling of the situation “changed the culture” at the agency to the point where questioning the information received and assumptions pursued were encouraged.

The changes planned for the agency including putting automakers “on notice” without the need for gathering more evidence beforehand if a potential problem comes up, adopting a so-called “risk control” program to better align its departments and foster sharing of safety information, and instituting a formal process to contact lawyers representing affected litigants.

Finally, the NHTSA will be monitored by a team of experts over the next year, including those formerly of NASA and the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as a professor of medicine and engineering from the University of Michigan.

The two reports are only the first to give the agency the once-over; the Transportation Department inspector general will give their assessment later in June.

[Photo credit: General Motors]

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FCA Set To Meet NHTSA Over Recalls Despite Desire To Cancel Hearing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-set-to-meet-nhtsa-over-recalls-despite-desire-to-cancel-hearing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-set-to-meet-nhtsa-over-recalls-despite-desire-to-cancel-hearing/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 20:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1085601 Though FCA insists its compliance with the NHTSA over its recalls no longer merits a hearing, the agency will press forward with its order. The automaker is set to meet the agency for a special hearing July 2 to discuss its handling of 20 recalls covering 11 million vehicles since 2013, Detroit Free Press reports, […]

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 Exterior-013

Though FCA insists its compliance with the NHTSA over its recalls no longer merits a hearing, the agency will press forward with its order.

The automaker is set to meet the agency for a special hearing July 2 to discuss its handling of 20 recalls covering 11 million vehicles since 2013, Detroit Free Press reports, and was sent a 12-page questionnaire to answer by June 1. FCA sent an 18-page response back to the NHTSA, giving details on its safety record, repair completion rates, and how it will handle safety concerns moving forward.

Thus, FCA believes a meeting the NHTSA is no longer necessary. However, NHTSA representative Gordon Trowbridge said the hearing will go on as planned, explaining the procedure “is a part of the process for determining whether the company has met its obligations.”

The agency itself praised FCA Thursday for its compliance with the order and thoroughness it was undertaken, while the automaker said it has taken a number of actions to improve product safety, including reviews of the recall process and creating a stand-alone organization to help with safety and compliance.

[Photo credit: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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Takata, NHTSA Face Uncertainty Over Safety Of Replacement Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/takata-nhtsa-face-uncertainty-over-safety-of-replacement-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/takata-nhtsa-face-uncertainty-over-safety-of-replacement-airbags/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 18:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1085529 Neither Takata nor the NHTSA can say for certain how many of the 34 million vehicles now under recall for defective airbags need theirs replaced. What is known is 400,000 of the driver-side replacement inflators — out of 4 million produced so far — will need to be replaced again due to a defective propellant […]

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Takata Driver Airbag

Neither Takata nor the NHTSA can say for certain how many of the 34 million vehicles now under recall for defective airbags need theirs replaced.

What is known is 400,000 of the driver-side replacement inflators — out of 4 million produced so far — will need to be replaced again due to a defective propellant wafer, Reuters reports. Another 500,000 units were found to be safe, as those were assembled for Takata by competitors Autoliv and TRW Automotive, both of whom use a different propellant compared to Takata’s ammonium nitrate mix.

However, determining how many of the 34 million vehicles under recall need new units for original and repaired vehicles is easier said than done. Eight of the 10 automakers affected by Takata’s ongoing airbag issues expanded earlier or created new recalls following last month’s announcement by the supplier regarding the number of affected U.S. vehicles, amounting to only 3.3 million recalled since then.

Further confusion comes from how many repaired vehicles will also need to come in again for a new replacement unit, though Honda said those owners who had their airbags replaced since September 12, 2014 would not need to come back. The automaker explained the replacement units assembled by Takata used a different design made by Takata and other suppliers.

Meanwhile, the NHTSA said Takata and the affected automakers would be the ones responsible for demonstrating the replacement parts would be safe over the life of a given vehicle, with finding those needing to return to the repair shop a priority. Administrator Mark Rosekind told legislators this week owners would be best served by checking with their dealership’s service department for news about their vehicles, adding the replacement issue was “confusing.”

[Photo credit: Alexauto123/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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Subaru Funding Crash Tests Of Pet Carriers, Crates http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/subaru-funding-crash-tests-of-pet-carriers-crates/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/subaru-funding-crash-tests-of-pet-carriers-crates/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 19:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084473 As part of its effort to keep pets safe on the road, Subaru is funding crash tests of pet carriers and crates. The funding will be directed to the Center for Pet Safety in Reston, Va. according to AutoGuide, who will use the funds to determine structural integrity of every crate and carrier put through […]

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Subaru Impreza Wagon Dog Circa March 2008

As part of its effort to keep pets safe on the road, Subaru is funding crash tests of pet carriers and crates.

The funding will be directed to the Center for Pet Safety in Reston, Va. according to AutoGuide, who will use the funds to determine structural integrity of every crate and carrier put through testing, as well as looking over safer methods to connect crates and carriers to the vehicle.

Subaru’s ongoing partnership with the CPS has thus far resulted in a pet harness crashworthiness test, which put several harnesses through the gauntlet, with few performing as hoped.

The tests will be carried out by MGA Research Corporation’s lab in nearby Manassas, Va., with results and recommendations to come by later this summer.

[Photo credit: Katie Brady/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Google’s Autonomous Cars See 12th Accident, Virginia Opens Highways For Testing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/googles-autonomous-cars-see-12th-accident-virginia-opens-highways-for-testing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/googles-autonomous-cars-see-12th-accident-virginia-opens-highways-for-testing/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 17:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084305 Google acknowledges the 12th accident involving its autonomous cars, while Virginia opens 70 miles of highway to Google and others for testing. Google’s acknowledgement of the accident was made Wednesday during the tech giant’s annual shareholders meeting, Autoblog reports. Co-founder Sergey Brin said the vehicle was stopped at a traffic light when it was rear-ended, […]

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google-self-driving-car

Google acknowledges the 12th accident involving its autonomous cars, while Virginia opens 70 miles of highway to Google and others for testing.

Google’s acknowledgement of the accident was made Wednesday during the tech giant’s annual shareholders meeting, Autoblog reports. Co-founder Sergey Brin said the vehicle was stopped at a traffic light when it was rear-ended, the seventh or eighth occurrence of such a scenario per Brin.

Safety advocates want the company to release all records pertaining to the accidents so the public can know where each instance went wrong, a request reinforced by shareholder and Consumer Watchdog advocate John Simpson during the meeting. Brin gave a synopsis of each accident in response, adding Google would be open to giving more information, an action it has yet to take thus far.

The latest accident follows a disclosure made by Google in May, wherein 11 accidents involved its fleet of autonomous cars over a six-year period, with all accidents attributed to human error by the tech giant.

Meanwhile, Northern Virginia drivers may soon see Google’s autonomous cars on their way to work. Richmond Times-Dispatch says over 70 miles of highway on Interstates 95, 495 and 66, as well as U.S. 29 and U.S. 50, will become so-called Virginia Automated Corridors under the oversight of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. The vehicles would be first certified for safety by VTTI at its Smart Road test track in Montgomery County, and at Virginia International Raceway in Halifax County prior to highway testing.

VTTI Center for Autonomous Vehicle Systems Director Myra Blanco says the aim of the program is for Virginia to show other states how to make testing of autonomous technologies easier, adding the program would “advance the technology and… attract companies and satellite offices in the Northern Virginia area to develop these new concepts.”

Testing is set to begin within a year, with the Center providing insurance and license plates for those companies looking to prove their concepts. The Virginia Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles are partners in the program.

[Image credit: Google]

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Electronic Stability Control Required On All Heavy Trucks, Large Buses By 2017 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/electronic-stability-control-required-on-all-heavy-trucks-large-buses-by-2017/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/electronic-stability-control-required-on-all-heavy-trucks-large-buses-by-2017/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 16:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084225 Two years from now, all heavy trucks and large buses will be required to equip electronic stability control per a new rule from the NHTSA. The new rule, finalized Wednesday, would affect all trucks and buses exceeding 26,000 pounds in total weight, USA Today reports, and is expected to prevent over 1,700 crashes, 649 injuries, […]

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Heavy Truck Rollover Circa April 2006

Two years from now, all heavy trucks and large buses will be required to equip electronic stability control per a new rule from the NHTSA.

The new rule, finalized Wednesday, would affect all trucks and buses exceeding 26,000 pounds in total weight, USA Today reports, and is expected to prevent over 1,700 crashes, 649 injuries, 49 fatalities, and up to 56 percent of rollovers on the road per year once it comes into force in 2017.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind both offered praise for the new rule. Foxx declared ESC “a remarkable success story” in its implementation on cars since 2012, while Rosekind added the technology would be “a win for the safety and convenience of the traveling public and for our economy.”

The rule’s finalization, coming after a 2011 recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board to mandate ESC’s use in trucks and buses, was announced on the same day three were killed in an accident in Pennsylvania involving a semi-trailer colliding with a bus ferrying Italian tourists. Whether ESC would have prevented the accident remains unknown at this time.

[Photo credit: Bjørn Bulthuis/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Rosekind Will Give Prepared Statement Before Congress Over Funding Concerns http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/rosekind-will-give-prepared-statement-before-congress-over-funding-concerns/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/rosekind-will-give-prepared-statement-before-congress-over-funding-concerns/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 18:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082161 Testifying before Congress Tuesday, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind will give a statement on his agency’s need for funding to properly function. Rosekind’s statement is one among those given by the witnesses called upon by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to testify during its hearing over airbag supplier Takata and the safety […]

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Mark Rosekind At Work With The NTSB Circa January 2015

Testifying before Congress Tuesday, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind will give a statement on his agency’s need for funding to properly function.

Rosekind’s statement is one among those given by the witnesses called upon by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to testify during its hearing over airbag supplier Takata and the safety issues surrounding the supplier’s airbags, Reuters reports.

His prepared statement will address the NHTSA’s analysis of the data from its investigation into Takata, as well as the aforementioned budget concerns his agency faces. Of the latter, Rosekind said the agency’s budget is, when adjusted for inflation, 23 percent lower than a decade ago, making the agency’s work difficult as technology pushes forward.

[Photo credit: U.S. Department of Transportation/Facebook]

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FCA, Ford, Honda Expand Respective Takata Airbag Recalls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-ford-honda-expand-respective-takata-airbag-recalls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-ford-honda-expand-respective-takata-airbag-recalls/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 17:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1078090 FCA, Ford and Honda are adding more models to their recalls involving Takata’s airbags, the first following the supplier’s admission on the issue last week. FCA is recalling 1.8 million units equipped with Takata’s airbags, while Ford and Honda are recalling 950,000 and 350,000 units, Automotive News reports. The new recalls follow the supplier’s statement […]

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2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition

FCA, Ford and Honda are adding more models to their recalls involving Takata’s airbags, the first following the supplier’s admission on the issue last week.

FCA is recalling 1.8 million units equipped with Takata’s airbags, while Ford and Honda are recalling 950,000 and 350,000 units, Automotive News reports. The new recalls follow the supplier’s statement last week, where it admitted as many as 34 million vehicles were equipped with defective airbags.

FCA’s recall adds 1.4 million units with driver-side airbags to the 2014 recall of 3.3 million vehicles covering 2004-2007 Dodge Ram pickups, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Dakota, among other models within the timeframe. An additional 437,947 Dodge Rams from the 2003 model year are being recalled for their passenger side airbags.

Over at Ford, 593,000 units will receive recall notices for both driver- and passenger-side airbags. The affected models are the 2005-2014 Mustang built at Flat Rock, the 2005-2006 GT assembled at Wixom, the 2004 Ranger put together at Edison, and the 2004-2006 Ranger brought to life at Twin Cities. The new figure brings the global total to 1.5 million models, of which 1.49 million are in North America, 1.3 million in the United States.

Finally, Honda will recall 350,000 2005 Civics and 2006-2007 Accords for their passenger-side units, and could recall more “if Takata or the NHTSA later determine that a defect exists in vehicles sold or registered beyond” the 13-state-and-territory region where the current passenger-side airbag recall campaign is being carried out, according to representative Chris Martin.

[Source: Mecum Auctions]

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China’s SUV Boom Fueled By Road Rage Concerns, Other Factors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076922 A handful of factors are fueling China’s current SUV boom, with road-rage protection at the top of the list. SUV registrations rose 48 percent during Q1 2015 while accounting for 27 percent of all registrations during the period compared to three years ago, Bloomberg reports. Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Robin Zhu says the boom […]

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Great_Wall_Haval_H6_01_China_2012-06-02

A handful of factors are fueling China’s current SUV boom, with road-rage protection at the top of the list.

SUV registrations rose 48 percent during Q1 2015 while accounting for 27 percent of all registrations during the period compared to three years ago, Bloomberg reports. Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Robin Zhu says the boom is in part due to increasing incidences of road rage, prompting “sane” motorists to buy SUVs “for self defense” against “the angry ones” on the road.

Other contributors to the boom include rough roads (of the literal sort) outside the nation’s cities, lower fuel prices, and the introduction of low-cost SUVs and crossovers with prices beginning at ¥130,000 ($21,000 USD); 49 such models were or will be introduced by domestic automakers during 2014 and 2015.

[Source: Navigator84/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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NHTSA Will Partially Continue GM Safety Oversight http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-will-partially-continue-gm-safety-oversight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-will-partially-continue-gm-safety-oversight/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 19:53:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072386 Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was undecided whether it would require GM to continue monthly safety issue disclosure meetings. However, in a letter obtained by The Detroit News, the NHTSA has decided to extend parts of the agreement for another year. GM agreed to the safety disclosure meetings along with a $35 million […]

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General Motors Renaissance Center HQ

Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was undecided whether it would require GM to continue monthly safety issue disclosure meetings. However, in a letter obtained by The Detroit News, the NHTSA has decided to extend parts of the agreement for another year.

GM agreed to the safety disclosure meetings along with a $35 million civil penalty as part of the ignition switch saga in May 2014. The letter – dated May 14th, 2015 – says NHTSA is opting to extend some requirements from the agreement. NHTSA can extend the agreement up to May 2017.

The meetings have proven “to be a productive and effective tool to proactively and expeditiously address potential safety-related defects. I understand that GM shares that sentiment and has found the process to be a positive one in facilitating communication between GM and NHTSA,” stated NHTSA lawyer Timothy H. Goodman.

Jim Cain, GM spokesperson, told The Detroit News:

We have used our monthly meetings with NHTSA to foster a relationship that’s candid, transparent and totally focused on the safety of our customers. We’ve come a long way and we fully intend to build on this progress.

With the spotlight again on the NHTSA thanks to defective Takata airbag inflators, the move to extend GM oversight may also be political, showing the government agency’s resolve in handling wide-scale safety matters.

Why the extension wasn’t made public when the letter was sent is unknown at this time.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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Canada A Low Priority In Takata Airbag Recalls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/canada-a-low-priority-in-takata-airbag-recalls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/canada-a-low-priority-in-takata-airbag-recalls/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 17:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072154 As nearly 34 million vehicles in the United States go under recall over Takata’s airbag issues, Canada remains a low priority due to cooler climes. Numerous injuries and six deaths involving the supplier’s airbags occurred in warmer, humid climates, affecting the ammonium nitrate composition — used to aid in detonation during airbag deployment — to […]

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Canadian Tire Store

As nearly 34 million vehicles in the United States go under recall over Takata’s airbag issues, Canada remains a low priority due to cooler climes.

Numerous injuries and six deaths involving the supplier’s airbags occurred in warmer, humid climates, affecting the ammonium nitrate composition — used to aid in detonation during airbag deployment — to catastrophic effect, USA Today reports.

Most of the recalls prior to Tuesday’s nationwide action focused on a handful of states whose climate met the conditions needed for failure. However, the new recall places a considerable strain on Takata’s ability to produce replacement units — 3.8 million thus far — which it hopes to increase to 1 million per month by September. Other suppliers are helping to fill-in wherever possible, though the campaign could take years to complete, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator Mark Rosekind.

Thus, Canada is left out in the cold to wait as supply constraints and greater urgency for affected consumers in warmer climes take precedence. Meanwhile, the Canadian subsidiaries of FCA, Ford, BMW, Nissan and Mazda have issued a handful of recalls for a small number of affected vehicles, said recalls being issued closer to repair time per Transport Canada’s requirements; U.S. legislation requires recalls to be issued as soon as a safety problem comes up.

Consumer apathy will likely play a role in bringing recalled vehicles into the repair shop. Autotrader found 56 percent of those made aware of a recall action bring in their vehicles every time, while 61 percent try to keep up with recall news, and 35 percent put in the research when shopping for a vehicle.

[Photo credit: Whpq/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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Takata Expands US Airbag Recall Nationwide, Covering 34M Units http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/takata-expands-us-airbag-recall-nationwide-covering-34m-units/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/takata-expands-us-airbag-recall-nationwide-covering-34m-units/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 19:06:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071026 The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday Takata would expand its airbag recall to cover 33.8 million units in the United States. The expanded recall is now one of the largest recalls in U.S. history, USA Today reports. Additionally, the supplier is under a consent order by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to cooperate […]

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Takata TTAC Style

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday Takata would expand its airbag recall to cover 33.8 million units in the United States.

The expanded recall is now one of the largest recalls in U.S. history, USA Today reports. Additionally, the supplier is under a consent order by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to cooperate with the agency in its investigation into the recall. The NHTSA also declared it would begin the process to sort and organize the replacement schedule of the defective airbags.

The expansion comes after Takata issued a regional recall last summer affecting units in vehicles located in humid locales in the U.S. The units were prone to catastrophic failure upon detonation, scattering shrapnel into the cabin and injuring or killing the occupants inside. Six fatalities have been linked thus far, with five occurring in the U.S.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx praised the agreement made between the supplier and his department, declaring it “a major step forward for public safety.” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind agreed with the assessment, adding all parties involved had more work ahead of them to remedy the issue as quickly as possible.

[Photo credit: Takata]

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Direct Sales, Ride-Hailing Bills Among Those DOA In Texas House http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/direct-sales-ride-hailing-bills-among-those-doa-in-texas-house/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/direct-sales-ride-hailing-bills-among-those-doa-in-texas-house/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 18:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070898 Tesla and Uber are among those whose efforts were for nothing as a crucial deadline to win approval on the Texas House floor passed last week. The deadline was the last chance for House bills to win initial approval from the entire chamber, The Star-Telegram reports. Though said bills could be added onto other bills […]

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Uber Texas BBQ Pedicab

Tesla and Uber are among those whose efforts were for nothing as a crucial deadline to win approval on the Texas House floor passed last week.

The deadline was the last chance for House bills to win initial approval from the entire chamber, The Star-Telegram reports. Though said bills could be added onto other bills through the end of the legislative session June 1, “the funnel is only so large” to commit the necessary action, according to House Republican Caucus chair Rep. Tan Parker of Flower Mound.

One of the bills shut out by the deadline would have granted transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber statewide licenses to operate while stripping individual cities of their right to regulate their services. House Bill 2440, sponsored by Rep. Chris Paddie of Marshall, failed to receive a floor vote due to issues surrounding safety, wheelchair-access, and insurance.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s efforts to overturn the state’s ban on direct sales were thwarted for a second time since 2013. House Bill 1653 and Senate Bill 639 would have allowed automakers who’ve never sold their wares through a franchise dealership network to open and operated up to 12 stores in Texas. Neither bill drew a committee vote on their respective floors, with the blame directed at Tesla itself, according to Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston:

I can appreciate Tesla wanting to sell cars, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first.

[Photo credit: William Beutler/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Phoenix Suburb Installing License Plate Readers To Thwart Rare Burglary Activity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/phoenix-suburb-installing-license-plate-readers-to-thwart-rare-burglary-activity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/phoenix-suburb-installing-license-plate-readers-to-thwart-rare-burglary-activity/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 20:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068658 Police in Paradise Valley, Arizona are planning to install 15 license plate readers to aid in thwarting burglaries in the Phoenix suburb. The LPRs are the result of an anonymous donation of $234,000 to Paradise Valley Police Department, with 11 of the devices set to be installed in fake cactus plants, Ars Technica reports. The […]

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Paradise Valley Arizona Police

Police in Paradise Valley, Arizona are planning to install 15 license plate readers to aid in thwarting burglaries in the Phoenix suburb.

The LPRs are the result of an anonymous donation of $234,000 to Paradise Valley Police Department, with 11 of the devices set to be installed in fake cactus plants, Ars Technica reports. The goal is to continue to the decline in burglaries, falling from a peak of 195 in 2011, to a current low of 55 in 2014.

While privacy concerns are usually the norm surrounding LPRs, Paradise Valley residents are more concerned about aesthetics. Town manager Kevin Burke explains:

Everything in Paradise Valley is about the aesthetics. We’ll spend tens of thousands to cover up an electric box. We’ll spend hundreds of thousands to camouflage an electric substation. Our residents have spent hundreds of thousands or millions to bury overhead cables. Ugly posts are things that we do not want. But we do want people to know that these technologies are there. Probably we’ll end up putting a sign on it–half of the deterrent is knowing that people are there.

Regarding privacy, Burke says LPR data will be kept for six months, and will only be used to match plates with those on a hot list in case of criminal activity. However, parts of the datasets will be omitted from public view, while individual records won’t be released due to the city’s concerns about involvement in domestic disputes.

Further, the six-page LPR data policy lacks information on what safeguards, if any, are in place to prevent abuse of the data by officials, or how the data would be logged and audited. Burke says he’ll know if the LPRs are doing their job by clearance rates and reductions linked to burglaries.

[Photo credit: Paradise Valley PD/Facebook]

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Urmson: Google Involved In 11 Autonomous-Vehicle Accidents Over Six Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/urmson-google-involved-11-autonomous-vehicle-accidents-six-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/urmson-google-involved-11-autonomous-vehicle-accidents-six-years/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066282 Yesterday, Google said it was involved in three recent autonomous-vehicle accidents on California’s roads. The tech giant since admitted to eight more. The 11 total accidents occurred over the six-year period Google has been working on autonomous technology with its fleet of over 20 vehicles, Reuters reports, though project director Chris Urmson adds that none […]

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Google Autonomous Vehicle Prototype Circa December 2014

Yesterday, Google said it was involved in three recent autonomous-vehicle accidents on California’s roads. The tech giant since admitted to eight more.

The 11 total accidents occurred over the six-year period Google has been working on autonomous technology with its fleet of over 20 vehicles, Reuters reports, though project director Chris Urmson adds that none of them occurred with the vehicle in a proactive role.

Urmson said seven of the 11 reports involved rear-end collisions mainly on city streets at a traffic light, as well as a couple of instances where the vehicle was side-swiped, and one where a car rolled through a stop sign before striking one of Google’s cars.

The explanation comes as the tech giant and supplier Delphi were found to have been involved in four recent accidents involving autonomous vehicles since California granted such vehicles permission to test on public roads last September, the details of which were kept private due to the state’s reporting laws. Urmson says none of the accidents involved injury, with all vehicles receiving only minor damage from each incident.

[Photo credit: Google]

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Autonomous Vehicles Scrutinized Over Liability Amid ‘Minor’ Incidents http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/autonomous-vehicles-scrutinized-liability-amid-minor-incidents/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/autonomous-vehicles-scrutinized-liability-amid-minor-incidents/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 17:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065818 Autonomous vehicles may need the Three Laws of Robotics to function in the future, while getting a handle on accident prevention remains a present concern. Since September of last year, four of the 48 autonomous vehicles permitted to roam freely in California have found themselves involved in accidents, The Detroit News reports. Two of the […]

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World Premiere Freightliner Inspiration Truck

Autonomous vehicles may need the Three Laws of Robotics to function in the future, while getting a handle on accident prevention remains a present concern.

Since September of last year, four of the 48 autonomous vehicles permitted to roam freely in California have found themselves involved in accidents, The Detroit News reports. Two of the accidents happened while the cars drove themselves, while the other pair occurred while their human occupant was behind the wheel.

The vehicles in question belonged to Google and Delphi, with the former linked to three of the four accidents. Both companies claimed they were not at fault, and that the accidents were minor in scope. An employee with the California Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed two of the accidents happened in autonomous mode at speeds below 10 mph, but no other information could be given due to confidentiality laws regarding collision reports.

The accidents come as autonomous vehicles are under ongoing scrutiny over safety and responsibility for whatever does happen in a given accident. Down the road, such a vehicle – which may have no means to override an action in the future – may decide to sacrifice the lives of its occupants in order to protect everyone else, a scenario among others likely to hold back the technology overall, according to BMW sales boss Ian Robertson:

The technology will be held back by the ultimate moral question on who’s responsible. An algorithm will make a decision which might not be acceptable from a cultural or societal point of view.

The potential solution may place full responsibility upon the occupant/driver, following an amendment to the United Nations’ Vienna Convention on Road Traffic made last year allowing assisted driving so long as “such systems can be overridden or switched off by the driver.” The 1968 convention previously banned autonomous vehicles outright when it came into force 38 years ago, declaring all drivers to maintain control of their vehicles at all times.

[Photo credit: Freightliner]

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