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. Tue, 04 Aug 2015 22:00:01 +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/ 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 […]

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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.

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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. […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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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, […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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

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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 […]

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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

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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.  […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Google’s Robot Car Crashed, Humans At Fault http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/googles-robot-car-crashed-humans-fault/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/googles-robot-car-crashed-humans-fault/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 18:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118793 Three people were injured when a car rear-ended Google’s self-driving Lexus on July 1 in Mountain View, California, The Detroit Bureau is reporting. It’s the 15th crash for the self-driving car and the first with injuries. Three people had “minor whiplash” Google’s Director of Driverless Cars Chris Urmson wrote and the driver of the car that rear-ended the […]

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Three people were injured when a car rear-ended Google’s self-driving Lexus on July 1 in Mountain View, California, The Detroit Bureau is reporting. It’s the 15th crash for the self-driving car and the first with injuries.

Three people had “minor whiplash” Google’s Director of Driverless Cars Chris Urmson wrote and the driver of the car that rear-ended the Lexus appeared to be at fault.

“Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road,” he wrote.

The robots will not look kindly on our inattention.

According to Google’s monthly report, the fleet of autonomous cars has traveled more than 1 million miles without human piloting, and the cars are averaging around 10,000 miles traveled each week.

Google says the autonomous cars have not been at fault in any of its 15 recorded accidents so far. Testers say the vehicles are being crashed into at a higher rate than normal due to under-reported accident numbers.

Earlier this month, Google sent two Lexus RX450h vehicles to Austin, Texas for mapping and testing.

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Senate Committee Says Rental Cars Must Have Recall Repairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-says-rental-cars-must-have-recall-repairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-says-rental-cars-must-have-recall-repairs/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 18:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1117929 U.S. rental cars will need to comply with open recalls before being driven off the lots, a U.S. Senate panel decided Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. The measure was an about-face from an earlier proposal backed by automakers, consumer groups and some rental car companies, which would have allowed rental cars with known defects to continue to be […]

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US Senate Wing of the Capitol

U.S. rental cars will need to comply with open recalls before being driven off the lots, a U.S. Senate panel decided Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.

The measure was an about-face from an earlier proposal backed by automakers, consumer groups and some rental car companies, which would have allowed rental cars with known defects to continue to be driven, as long as those defects were disclosed to consumers. NHTSA asked lawmakers to consider the proposal on pulling defective cars off the road in February.

The bill’s opponents said the revised amendment could harm consumers by filling dealerships with rental cars waiting to be repaired.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said preventing rental car companies from issuing cars with known defects would ultimately be safer for drivers.

“When consumers and families drive a rental car off the lot, they should be able to do so with the confidence that car is safe to drive, and we’re one step closer to that peace of mind today,” she said, according to Bloomberg.

The amendment is part of a much larger, comprehensive bill that tackles automakers’ recalls and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ability to fine or penalize car companies.

The embattled bill, which was proposed by Republicans this month, would double the existing $35 million cap on fines for automakers and extra federal money for vehicle safety measures. Democrats opposed the larger measure, saying it didn’t go far enough. Democrats have introduced a much larger reform measure which would include a recall warning light for new cars.

 

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Report: Hummer Recall Only Happened After NHTSA Threatened GM http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-hummer-recall-happened-nhtsa-threatened-gm/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-hummer-recall-happened-nhtsa-threatened-gm/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 21:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1115425 Jalopnik has an interesting story today about how General Motors negotiated its way into recalling 200,000 Hummers only after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration threatened to launch a formal investigation. Last week, Hummer recalled nearly 200,000 SUVs due to an increased fire risk because of a faulty HVAC harness that could melt and catch fire. GM knew about the problem […]

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Hummer H3. Photo courtesy wikipedia.org

Jalopnik has an interesting story today about how General Motors negotiated its way into recalling 200,000 Hummers only after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration threatened to launch a formal investigation.

Last week, Hummer recalled nearly 200,000 SUVs due to an increased fire risk because of a faulty HVAC harness that could melt and catch fire.

GM knew about the problem in 2008, Jalopnik writes, and did nothing until issuing a recall this July.

The story details a growing schism between NHTSA and automakers, who’ve been accused of having a cozy relationship before.

Officials at GM presented NHTSA officials with their accounting of the increased fire risk in Hummer H3 and H3T models in January. When federal officials audited the numbers later, they discovered a larger number of incidents than what GM may have reported.

According to Jalopnik, federal safety officials gave GM an ultimatum in June: recall or risk a federal investigation. GM issued a recall notice on July 9.

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BMW To Customer: Aftermarket Parts Cause Fires, Airbag Deployments http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/bmw-rep-customer-aftermarket-parts-cause-fires-unwanted-airbag-deployments/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/bmw-rep-customer-aftermarket-parts-cause-fires-unwanted-airbag-deployments/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1114961 Last month, I shared the story of an unexpected double front airbag deployment in a BMW X5. In the twenty days since then, that car’s owner has been working with BMW NA, which conducted an independent examination of the car while it was in dealership custody. Yesterday he heard from a BMW consumer service representative, […]

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Last month, I shared the story of an unexpected double front airbag deployment in a BMW X5. In the twenty days since then, that car’s owner has been working with BMW NA, which conducted an independent examination of the car while it was in dealership custody. Yesterday he heard from a BMW consumer service representative, who told him that BMW has determined the reason for the deployment.

If this was Upworthy, or if we used the Upworthy Generator to create headlines, we’d have to title the article “What This BMW Representative Told A Father About His Airbag Deployment Will Break Your Heart. The Worst Part Is At 4:23 In The Call Record.”

But seriously, if you have a BMW you might want to click the jump, because there’s a good chance that BMW’s reason for the deployment applies to you as well.

The X5 owner shared a recording of his call with me. In the call, the BMW rep assigns the blame for the airbag deployment to the only non-OEM part in the affected chain: the battery.

“You had an aftermarket battery that was not installed properly,” she tells him. “The positive cable had a loose nut. This caused thermal events… thermal damage to the cable. There were several faults stored prior to the deployment. The airbag light was on in your vehicle prior to the deployment.”

The owner states for the record that he never saw an airbag light and that, had he seen one, he’d have acted.

“The battery wasn’t installed correctly,” the rep states later on in the call, “which caused a short. The battery cable began to melt. There are two scenarios that could happen. Number one is your vehicle catches fire. Number two is there will be an airbag deployment. There was melted plastic throughout the cable.”

I try not to wear too thick of a tinfoil hat nowadays, so my first impulse is to believe that BMW did, in fact, discover a loose nut connected to a non-OEM battery in this X5. What’s confusing me is:

  • Would a non-OEM battery with a tight nut also be a problem?
  • Would an OEM battery with a loose nut also be a problem?
  • Why would a loose nut cause the cable to melt?
  • Why would a melted cable cause an airbag deployment?

It turns out that there are two battery cables on the positive side of a BMW airbag. One of them has an explosive charge mounted on it. Supposedly, when the airbags deploy, this device “blows the connection” between the battery and the rest of the car to protect first responders. You can see pictures of this device on E90Post.

So, it’s easy to see the intended chain of events there and not so easy to see how the charge cable might cause an airbag deployment. Perhaps we have a BMW tech in the B&B who can elaborate further. In the meantime, if you own a BMW that was manufactured some time in the past twenty years, you might want to consider having the battery, and cable, evaluated by your dealership. Loose battery terminals are as common in a parking lot full of old cars as empty cigarette cartons, so the news that having one could lead to an airbag deployment is worrisome, to say the least.

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New Mercedes-Benz E-Class Will Play Loud Noise Before Crash to Save Eardrums http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-mercedes-e-class-will-play-loud-noise-crash-save-eardrums/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-mercedes-e-class-will-play-loud-noise-crash-save-eardrums/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 21:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1114905 The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class can basically drive itself. But if you prefer to pilot the car yourself, and you happen to get into a crash, the 2017 E-Class will pump static into the cabin to save your ears. As Wired reports, the new E-Class will be equipped with what Mercedes-Benz is calling “PRE-SAFE Sound” to play […]

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The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class can basically drive itself. But if you prefer to pilot the car yourself, and you happen to get into a crash, the 2017 E-Class will pump static into the cabin to save your ears.

As Wired reports, the new E-Class will be equipped with what Mercedes-Benz is calling “PRE-SAFE Sound” to play a 85-db noise to coax the ear into protecting itself.

According to the automaker, the system works by triggering the stapedius reflex, which is the constriction of muscles around the eardrums, and is a natural reaction to loud noise. By playing the sound before the collision, Mercedes-Benz says, the E-Class could potentially lessen hearing damage.

The sound safety system is part of a slew of technology Mercedes-Benz is stuffing into the E-Class. Also included is the similarly named “PRE-SAFE impulse side” collision system that “nudges” driver and passenger toward the center of the car during a side collision with airbags that inflate upon impact.

Mercedes-Benz said the side-collision system is an option for the E-Class. It’s unclear if the noise safety system is standard.

The automaker also said the E-Class owners would be able to park the new E-Class while outside the car by using an app, but the system won’t be available in the United States when the fifth-generation car launches.

The automated parking system works somewhat like the Batmobile. We live in exciting times.

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Former NHTSA Boss Blocked From Testifying in Toyota Case http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/former-nhtsa-boss-blocked-testifying-toyota-case/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/former-nhtsa-boss-blocked-testifying-toyota-case/#comments Sun, 12 Jul 2015 15:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113617 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is blocking former chief David Strickland from testifying in a California civil lawsuit for Toyota on issues regarding its push-button start systems in some of its cars. According to the Detroit News, NHTSA officials told lawyers in a letter that Strickland would be barred from testifying in the case as an […]

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All you need is love. Strickland. Picture courtesy detnews.comThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is blocking former chief David Strickland from testifying in a California civil lawsuit for Toyota on issues regarding its push-button start systems in some of its cars.

According to the Detroit News, NHTSA officials told lawyers in a letter that Strickland would be barred from testifying in the case as an expert witness.

“The agency has been roundly criticized for its relationship with Toyota in terms of recent enforcement actions, particularly regarding unintended acceleration,” NHTSA’s lawyer wrote in the letter. “Given this history, Mr. Strickland’s testimony as a former NHTSA administrator describing Toyota’s actions or conduct in this matter with approval, will likely diminish the agency’s ability to pursue a vigorous enforcement review of Toyota moving forward.”

Congress has said NHTSA wasn’t tough enough on Toyota when it looked into issues that its push-button start system could leave cars running without the keys present.

Toyota said it asked Strickland to testify on general matters in the lawsuit, but the agency barring the former administrator to testify is being praised as a harder line for what people say is a too-familiar relationship between former safety officials and automakers.

“For too long there has been a revolving door at NHTSA which allowed former NHTSA employees to seek lucrative employment with the same auto manufacturers they had at one time been charged with regulating,” Christine Spagnoli, a lawyer for the owners suing Toyota, told the Detroit News. “Hopefully, the denial of Mr. Strickland’s request to testify on behalf of Toyota is a sign that the new administrator recognizes that these historically cozy relationships between agency employees and the companies they are charged with regulating often results in undermining public trust.”

After leaving NHTSA in 2014, Strickland joined a Washington D.C.-based law firm that has also represented Fiat Chrysler. Former NHTSA officials are not allowed to directly lobby for automakers for two years after leaving the safety administration.

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Report: Nurburgring Won’t Lift Limits in 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-nurburgring-wont-lift-limits-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-nurburgring-wont-lift-limits-2015/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 14:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113385 After speculation that Germany’s famed Nurburgring would lift speed limits at the track for manufacturer testing this year, GTSpirit.com has reported that officials will keep the limits in place for at least this year. “There is no change in the situation so far and the speed limit at three sections of the Nordschleife will not […]

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After speculation that Germany’s famed Nurburgring would lift speed limits at the track for manufacturer testing this year, GTSpirit.com has reported that officials will keep the limits in place for at least this year.

“There is no change in the situation so far and the speed limit at three sections of the Nordschleife will not be lifted during the 2015 season,” track spokesman Uwe Baldes told GTSpirit.com.

Nurburgring management implemented speed limits in three portions of the track after a Nissan GT-R GT3 crashed and killed a spectator during a race held in March. The limits effectively ended the manufacturer arms race for the fastest production time around the circuit.

Porsche’s 918 Spyder was the last production car to set a record lap around the circuit. Supercar maker Koenigsegg had planned to challenge Porsche’s record before speed limits were imposed on the track.

The Flugplatz, Schwedenkreuz and Antiniusbuche sections of the Nordschleife track are limited to 200 kph (124 mph) and Dottinger Hole is limited to 250 kph (155 mph).

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Senate Bill Proposes Recall Warning Light on Your Dash http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-bills-propose-sweeping-reforms-nhtsa-recall-policies/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-bills-propose-sweeping-reforms-nhtsa-recall-policies/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 22:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113297   Two proposals for reforms to how the U.S. handles safety recalls and penalizes automakers are winding through a Senate committee. A proposal backed by three Senate Democrats would make automakers include a recall warning light in the dashboard of new cars to notify owners of a safety recall and lift the cap on delayed recall […]

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A recalled Chevy Cobalt ignition switch is seen at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch

 

Two proposals for reforms to how the U.S. handles safety recalls and penalizes automakers are winding through a Senate committee.

A proposal backed by three Senate Democrats would make automakers include a recall warning light in the dashboard of new cars to notify owners of a safety recall and lift the cap on delayed recall fines and more. A less-aggressive proposal put forward by Republicans would require dealers to notify owners if their cars have been recalled, something most automakers already do but aren’t required by law.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 25 percent of recalls are never completed.

The Democrat-backed bill may not have life beyond headlines, however. Included in the bill were sweeping proposals to empower NHTSA to expedite recalls, charge and prosecute auto executives for fatal safety flaws and grant NHTSA special investigative powers, according to the Detroit News.

The larger proposal would also require new- and used-car dealers to apply all recalls to vehicles before they’re sold. Currently, dealers are only required to perform recall fixes on cars that haven’t been sold yet.

Some of the measures may have legs beyond the bill’s demise, however. The Democrat proposal includes making mandatory crash avoidance systems and allow NHTSA to investigate people who hack vehicle electronics that could “endanger public safety.”

The Democrat proposal also lifts the 10-year cap on automakers’ responsibilities to pay for or fix defects in their cars. The Republican proposal doesn’t lift that cap.

The recall reforms are partly due to extremely public, and extremely embarrassing, recall issues with General Motors and airbag maker Takata.

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Good Samaritans Can Break Windows to Save Dogs in Tennessee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/good-samaritans-can-break-windows-save-dogs-tennessee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/good-samaritans-can-break-windows-save-dogs-tennessee/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 21:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1112305 Passersby can now break a window to save a dog from dying inside a car on a hot day in Tennessee, according to Time. That state added to its “Good Samaritan” law to include protecting pups from sweltering heat by breaking a window. According to the Humane Society, a car can heat up in 30 minutes […]

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Passersby can now break a window to save a dog from dying inside a car on a hot day in Tennessee, according to Time.

That state added to its “Good Samaritan” law to include protecting pups from sweltering heat by breaking a window. According to the Humane Society, a car can heat up in 30 minutes to nearly 120 degrees inside if the outside temperature is 85 degrees.

According to the new law, people should reasonably search for the owner of the car or notify police before breaking the car’s window. Bark Post reports that 16 states have similar laws on the books.

 

Although Colorado doesn’t have a Good Samaritan law specifically protecting people from saving pets, a spokeswoman with the Denver Police Department said a passerby may break a car window to save an animal after calling animal control. Nearly every state offers protection to Good Samaritans breaking windows to save children.

A woman in Georgia recently dropped charges against a man who broke her window to save a dog after a local dealership offered to replace her window for free.

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GM Recalls 200K Hummers Due to Fire Risk http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-recalling-200k-hummers-due-fire-risk/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-recalling-200k-hummers-due-fire-risk/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 18:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1112169 General Motors is recalling nearly 200,000 Hummer H3 and H3T models due to an increased fire risk, Autoblog is reporting. According to the automaker, the car’s HVAC system can overheat and melt surrounding plastic, which could increase the chance for a fire in the car. GM says the fire has burned 42 cars and injured […]

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Hummer H3. Photo courtesy wikipedia.org

General Motors is recalling nearly 200,000 Hummer H3 and H3T models due to an increased fire risk, Autoblog is reporting.

According to the automaker, the car’s HVAC system can overheat and melt surrounding plastic, which could increase the chance for a fire in the car. GM says the fire has burned 42 cars and injured three people so far, but no crashes or fatalities have been reported. The recall effects 2006-2010 H3 models and 2009-2010 H3T cars.

Dealers are being instructed to replace the harness and connector module for the blowers in the SUVs. In total, 194,379 cars are being recalled, 164,993 are in the U.S.

A separate, but unrelated recall, more than 50,000 Chevrolet Sparks and Sonics are being recalled due to a malfunction in the OnStar system’s software that can lock up the car’s radio and seatbelt warning signal. The malfunction may drain the battery, the automaker said.

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Police: Drive-by Shooters May Have Used Car-sharing Service http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/police-drive-shooters-may-used-car-sharing-service/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/police-drive-shooters-may-used-car-sharing-service/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 19:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1108449 Police in Denver say suspects in a drive-by shooting in January may have rented several Smart Fortwos under fake names to use in connection with their crimes. The Denver Post is reporting that in affidavits filed by detectives investigating the Jan. 4 shooting, Denver police asked the car-sharing company for GPS data from the cars when […]

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Car2Go in Seattle

Police in Denver say suspects in a drive-by shooting in January may have rented several Smart Fortwos under fake names to use in connection with their crimes.

The Denver Post is reporting that in affidavits filed by detectives investigating the Jan. 4 shooting, Denver police asked the car-sharing company for GPS data from the cars when investigators learned multiple cars were rented with bogus names.

Surveillance camera footage from a nearby business showed the vehicles near the shooting at the time the crime was committed.

A company spokeswoman told the Denver Post that applicants are screened before they’re allowed to rent from Car2Go. The $35 application fee for Car2Go requires a credit card to complete, although presumably that card can be in anyone’s name.

The affidavit also claims the cars were rented through a call center, although the car sharing company maintains that the cars can only be rented online or through its app.

Drive-by shootings that reportedly use car-sharing services appear to be extremely rare so far, but may be a signal of how gangs can quickly adopt new technology. That and the story’s terrible lede.

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Nurburgring May Dump Speed Limits for Manufacturers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ring-may-dump-speed-limits-manufacturers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ring-may-dump-speed-limits-manufacturers/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107289 Per Road and Track, the operators of the famed Nurburgring in Germany may be preparing to dump its speed limits for manufacturers and may mean a return for manufacturer records. After a Nissan GT-R GT3 crashed and killed a spectator, the famous road installed speed limits during specific sections for safety and enforced those limits […]

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Nurburgring_lap

Per Road and Track, the operators of the famed Nurburgring in Germany may be preparing to dump its speed limits for manufacturers and may mean a return for manufacturer records.

After a Nissan GT-R GT3 crashed and killed a spectator, the famous road installed speed limits during specific sections for safety and enforced those limits during testing for manufacturers — effectively ending record run chest-thumping.

Although the rumor is just a rumor right now, there are undoubtedly a few manufacturers who should be licking their chops today at the chance to unseat Porsche for the production-car throne.

The speed limits are enforced on the Flugplatz section and Gantry to Antoniusbuche sections.

If lifted, speed limits at the track for manufacturer testing would have only lasted a few weeks, and it may signal the end of Pikes Peak two-day run as the new ‘Ring.

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