The Truth About Cars » Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 05 Mar 2015 23:09:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. 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/ Whistleblower Incentive Legislation Passes US Senate Panel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/whistleblower-incentive-legislation-passes-us-senate-panel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/whistleblower-incentive-legislation-passes-us-senate-panel/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009314 A whistleblower bill that would grant financial incentives to auto industry employees who expose safety defects won backing by a U.S. Senate panel Thursday. Reuters reports the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted 13-0 in favor of sending the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, though when the vote would come has […]

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United States Capitol

A whistleblower bill that would grant financial incentives to auto industry employees who expose safety defects won backing by a U.S. Senate panel Thursday.

Reuters reports the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted 13-0 in favor of sending the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, though when the vote would come has yet to be determined, per an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Once voted and approved on the floor, however, the bill would go forward to the U.S. House for their vote.

The legislation would give employees and contractors for automakers, suppliers and dealerships up to 30 percent of any penalties resulting from a federal enforcement action totalling over $1 million, but only if said employees “shared original information on product defects or reporting violations” with either the Transportation or Justice departments.

The panel vote comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began fining airbag supplier Takata $14,000/day for failing to cooperate in the agency’s investigation into the supplier’s airbag inflators linked to at least six fatalities and several injuries.

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Chicago’s Yellow Light Intervals Generating More Fines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009266 Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula. FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver […]

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Chicago vs Recommended Yellow Light Time

Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula.

FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver running a red, an act that would then be caught by the city’s red-light cameras, thus leading to a fine for the driver.

The formula used in Chicago is the one prescribed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which sets the deceleration rate at 11.2 feet/second over the standard formula’s 10 feet/second. The city also calculates yellow intervals by the posted speed limit, instead of the Federal Highway Association’s 85th percentile speed of real drivers, with the option to add 5 mph to the speed-limit yellow interval, as well.

The yellow interval — and its tie to the red-light cameras — have been a factor in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s fight for another term in office, which has since entered the runoff phase after his campaign failed to gain an outright majority Tuesday. Emanuel’s support for the cameras runs in opposition of the city’s residents, 66 percent of whom believe the technology isn’t helping traffic safety in the least.

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NHTSA To Congress: Pull Recalled Used, Rental Vehicles Off The Road http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006322 The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being […]

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Rental Car Corridor - SeaTac International Airport

The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being repaired; current legislation only asks of such things for new vehicles prior to sale.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that “requiring rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix defective vehicles before renting is a common-sense solution” that would improve road safety. Foxx adds that Congress should follow the lead of both safety advocates and the rental-car industry in taking a stand on the issue.

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Ito: Honda Won’t Help Takata Sort Its Affairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ito-honda-wont-help-takata-sort-affairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ito-honda-wont-help-takata-sort-affairs/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006282 Should the day come when Takata asks for financial assistance to remain afloat after its troubles have passed, Honda may not be there to lead the rescue. The Wall Street Journal reports Honda CEO Takanobu Ito stated as much during an autonomous vehicle demo in Asahikawa, Japan, dismissing rumors that the automaker planned to lead […]

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2015 Honda CR-V Touring

Should the day come when Takata asks for financial assistance to remain afloat after its troubles have passed, Honda may not be there to lead the rescue.

The Wall Street Journal reports Honda CEO Takanobu Ito stated as much during an autonomous vehicle demo in Asahikawa, Japan, dismissing rumors that the automaker planned to lead a bailout of the supplier:

Takata itself needs to figure out how to fulfill its duties, but if it makes any request to auto makers, then we would think about that.

Ito also warned that many of Takata’s clients would be in trouble if it was unable to supply the needed replacements for the defective airbag modules linked to the ongoing recall of 25 million affected vehicles around the world; Honda’s own vehicles account for half of the overall total.

For its part, Honda has begun working with rival suppliers Daicel and Autoliv to quickly replace the defective parts, as well as investigate what factors lead to the catastrophic failure of current units, and implementing recalls as needed.

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MIT: Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication A Breakthrough Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 15:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004570 In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine […]

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V2V

In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine and society.” The publication cites General Motors as one of the key players in promoting V2V, and mentions the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s efforts to bring the technology online by 2017 at the earliest.

That said, MIT cautions that the first vehicles to have V2V — such as the 2017 Cadillac CTS — won’t have too many vehicles to talk to about location, speed, brake status et al, and that it could take up to a decade before V2V is as common as the cold. Audi, Ford and Toyota are among some of the other manufacturers looking into V2V.

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Honda Abandons 2017 Sales Target To Improve Product Quality http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/honda-abandons-2017-sales-target-improve-product-quality/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/honda-abandons-2017-sales-target-improve-product-quality/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002770 Deciding quality should be its focus over quantity, Honda announced it would scrap its target of 6 million units sold annually by 2017. Bloomberg reports the automaker also won’t set a target for global annual sales in its next midterm plan, again, to focus its attention to improving overall quality of its products. Honda CEO […]

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2014 Honda Civic Coupe (7 of 29)

Deciding quality should be its focus over quantity, Honda announced it would scrap its target of 6 million units sold annually by 2017.

Bloomberg reports the automaker also won’t set a target for global annual sales in its next midterm plan, again, to focus its attention to improving overall quality of its products. Honda CEO Takanobu Ito, inspired by the late Soichiro Honda, says he will bring his company “back to basics,” with business expansion no longer in the cards.

The announcement follows a year of quality issues affecting the automaker, from the recalls involving the Fit and Vezel, to the Takata airbag recall crisis that led to Honda’s decision to use units from Autoliv and Daicel. The latter issue also brought scrutiny to the company from the United States government, resulting in a record fine of $70 million for how it handled reporting potential issues to regulators for over a decade.

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NHTSA: Marijuana Use Not Likely To Increase Accident Risk http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-marijuana-use-not-likely-increase-accident-risk/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-marijuana-use-not-likely-increase-accident-risk/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995362 Planning to light one up before visiting the local drive-thru taquería? The NHTSA says marijuana use might not increase the risk of an accident after all. According to AutoGuide, the agency’s study on the matter — the “most precisely controlled” study of its kind to date — says that while marijuana users may end up […]

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Jeff Spicoli et al Tumble Out of Volkswagen Type II

Planning to light one up before visiting the local drive-thru taquería? The NHTSA says marijuana use might not increase the risk of an accident after all.

According to AutoGuide, the agency’s study on the matter — the “most precisely controlled” study of its kind to date — says that while marijuana users may end up in accidents more often, but that said increase is coincidental:

Analyses incorporating adjustments for age, gender, ethnicity, and alcohol concentration level did not show a significant increase in levels of crash risk associated with the presence of drugs. This finding indicates that these other variables (age, gender ethnicity and alcohol use) were highly correlated with drug use and account for much of the increased risk associated with the use of illegal drugs and with THC.

Despite the findings, NHTSA associate administrator for research and program development Jeff Michael cautions that marijuana users shouldn’t drive while impaired, especially as the drug does bring on impairment.

The study took place in Virginia Beach, Va. for 20 months with a sample of 9,000, two-thirds of whom had never been in an accident.

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DOD: Connected Technologies Growing More Vulnerable To Sabotage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/dod-connected-technologies-growing-vulnerable-sabotage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/dod-connected-technologies-growing-vulnerable-sabotage/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995314 As connected technologies make inroads into vehicles et al, the growing possibility of sabotage has the Department of Defense and DARPA on notice. Per Jalopnik, CBS’ “60 Minutes” spent some time with DARPA Information Innovation Office chief Dan Kaufman to explore the vulnerabilities of connected technology coming into play not only on the road, but […]

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2012_Chevrolet_Impala. Photo courtesy wikipedia

As connected technologies make inroads into vehicles et al, the growing possibility of sabotage has the Department of Defense and DARPA on notice.

Per Jalopnik, CBS’ “60 Minutes” spent some time with DARPA Information Innovation Office chief Dan Kaufman to explore the vulnerabilities of connected technology coming into play not only on the road, but at home, in the office et al.

In one demonstration, Kaufman was able to break into the OnStar system aboard a previous-gen Chevrolet Impala, transplanting a code that allowed him to control everything on the car, from the wipers and the horn, to the braking and acceleration system itself.

The situation may be more dire still: a report from Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts’ office states all new vehicles can be hacked, and that only “two out of 16 car makers can diagnose or respond to an infiltration in real-time.”

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Automaker Alliance Seek Kelly For Takata Probe Panel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/automaker-alliance-seek-kelly-takata-probe-panel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/automaker-alliance-seek-kelly-takata-probe-panel/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994762 Concerned with Takata’s ongoing airbag woes, ten automakers are assembling to investigate the supplier, with former NHTSA chief David Kelly likely to helm. Autoblog reports the alliance — composed of General Motors, FCA US, Ford, Honda, Toyota and five others — are in talks with Kelly to head the investigation effort, with a final decision […]

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Takata Logo on Belt

Concerned with Takata’s ongoing airbag woes, ten automakers are assembling to investigate the supplier, with former NHTSA chief David Kelly likely to helm.

Autoblog reports the alliance — composed of General Motors, FCA US, Ford, Honda, Toyota and five others — are in talks with Kelly to head the investigation effort, with a final decision expected in the near future. Whomever does ultimately lead the probe will have a few questions needing answers, from how Takata’s airbags failed to protect their occupants, to whether or not newer modules will follow down the same road years from now.

The alliance’s investigation panel joins two others in the works: one involving the supplier and helmed by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Samuel Skinner, the other led by NHTSA deputy administrator David Friedman with help from outside engineers.

As for the supplier itself, Takata’s bottom line is reddening further with a projected ¥31 billion ($264 million USD) loss through the end of FY 2014 in March. The new projection is higher than the ¥25 billion ($214 million) previously forecasted.

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Congress Unsure On NHTSA Funding Increase http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/congress-unsure-nhtsa-funding-increase/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/congress-unsure-nhtsa-funding-increase/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 14:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994242 Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says funding is needed to boost staffing, some in Congress aren’t so sure on the proposal. The Detroit News reports the proposal, part of President Barack Obama’s FY 2016 budget plan, would triple the NHTSA’s funding from $10.7 million to $31 million, helping to boost the total staff […]

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United States Capitol

Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says funding is needed to boost staffing, some in Congress aren’t so sure on the proposal.

The Detroit News reports the proposal, part of President Barack Obama’s FY 2016 budget plan, would triple the NHTSA’s funding from $10.7 million to $31 million, helping to boost the total staff of the agency’s Office of Defects Investigation to over 100 employees. Chair of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, isn’t sure such an increase is necessary, however:

We think there are ways too that you could reform and accomplish some things (without higher funding). Clearly, we want to work with them, but it’s going to be tough in this budgetary environment with all the constraints that we’re dealing with to get significant increases in funding for any agency.

Thune adds that the NHTSA’s mission “is a awfully important one,” and wants to ensure the agency can do the job expected of it. Meanwhile, Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Bill Nelson of Florida both praised the increase in the agency’s budget, though McCaskill wants to see more done still. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut adds that Congress should heed the call for a larger staff, and provide the NHTSA with “the most robust possible resources.”

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Foxx: NHTSA Needs Staffing Increase To Keep Pace With Recalls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/foxx-nhtsa-needs-staffing-increase-keep-pace-recalls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/foxx-nhtsa-needs-staffing-increase-keep-pace-recalls/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 11:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994186 U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said on Tuesday the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration needs more staffing to keep pace with recalls. The Detroit News reports the secretary said as much during a brief conference call, asking for 56.5 new full-time positions and 57 people to keep up with the recalls: It’s no longer reasonable […]

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Japanese-government-weighs-in-on-Takata-airbag-debacle

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said on Tuesday the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration needs more staffing to keep pace with recalls.

The Detroit News reports the secretary said as much during a brief conference call, asking for 56.5 new full-time positions and 57 people to keep up with the recalls:

It’s no longer reasonable frankly to expect an office with 8 screeners and 16 defects investigators to adequately analyze 75,000 complaints a year.

With the proposal from President Barack Obama’s FY 2016 budget plan that would triple funding of the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation from $10.7 million to $31 million, the agency could bring aboard a mathematician, two statisticians, four investigators and 16 engineers to help fill the staffing gaps currently in play. Total staffing would climb above 100 personnel.

Additionally, the NHTSA would be able to use stronger methods of data mining and monitoring to develop a consumer awareness campaign to encourage owners to have their vehicles repaired, using integrated information pulled from social media, accident and fatality reports, medical records and manufacturing data to identify potential issues.

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Toyota Ordered To Pay $11M In Minnesota Unintended Acceleration Suit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/toyota-ordered-pay-11m-minnesota-unintended-acceleration-suit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/toyota-ordered-pay-11m-minnesota-unintended-acceleration-suit/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993954 Nine years after a 1996 Camry with an accelerator defect led to a fatal accident in Minnesota, Toyota was found at fault and ordered to pay $11 million. Reuters reports jurors debated the points of three-week-long trial before finding the automaker 60 percent responsible for the deaths of Javis Trice-Adams Sr. and two children when […]

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1996 Toyota Camry LE

Nine years after a 1996 Camry with an accelerator defect led to a fatal accident in Minnesota, Toyota was found at fault and ordered to pay $11 million.

Reuters reports jurors debated the points of three-week-long trial before finding the automaker 60 percent responsible for the deaths of Javis Trice-Adams Sr. and two children when Koua Fong Lee’s Camry lost its brakes while its accelerator became stuck, striking Trice-Adams Sr.’s Oldsmobile Ciera. Two other passengers were injured in the accident, and Lee spent three years in prison for vehicular manslaughter before being released in 2010 after reports of unintended acceleration involving Toyota products took the spotlight.

Toyota still claims Lee was 100 percent at-fault for the fatal accident, and is considering legal options to pursue. The car itself also wasn’t under the 2009-11 recall of 10 million vehicles made between 2005 and 2010.

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2016 Acura MDX Hits Showrooms With Nine-Speed Auto, Safety Tech Suite http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/2016-acura-mdx-hits-showrooms-nine-speed-auto-safety-tech-suite/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/2016-acura-mdx-hits-showrooms-nine-speed-auto-safety-tech-suite/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 12:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993562 Starting today, the 2016 Acura MDX will hit U.S. showrooms with an assortment of power and technological upgrades. Power for the new premium crossover comes from its 3.5-liter, 24-valve, direct-injection i-VTEC V6, which now paired with a nine-speed automatic with Acura’s Sequential SportShift. The new transmission not only replaces the former six-speed auto, but weighs […]

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2016 Acura MDX 02

Starting today, the 2016 Acura MDX will hit U.S. showrooms with an assortment of power and technological upgrades.

Power for the new premium crossover comes from its 3.5-liter, 24-valve, direct-injection i-VTEC V6, which now paired with a nine-speed automatic with Acura’s Sequential SportShift. The new transmission not only replaces the former six-speed auto, but weighs 66 pounds less than said unit. Colin Chapman’s philosophy is also applied to the MDX’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, where its rear differential is now 19 pounds lighter than the previous part.

The other major upgrade for the MDX is the AcuraWatch package, which comes by itself on all MDX, and is standard when part of the Advance Package. The suite includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, lane departure/lane keeping/road departure, blind-spot information with rear cross-traffic monitor, and multi-view rear camera.

Other features include: Siri Eyes Free voice recognition; easy-entry/exit driver’s seat that moves 35 mm back when the door is opened; bi-directional remote engine starter; start-stop; and a tire-pressure monitor that alerts when tires are inflated to the correct pressure.

Price of admission begins at $42,865 for the base MDX, $57,080 for the top-end MDX SH-AWD with Advance, Entertainment and AcuraWatch Plus packages on-board. Fuel economy for most AWD models amounts to 18 city/26 highway/21 combined, with start-stop adding 1 mpg to the city and combined figures. FWD models do slightly better at 19/27/22, 20/27/23 with start-stop.

2016 Acura MDX 02 2016 Acura MDX 01

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OEMs Delay Vehicle Alert Sounds For Pedestrians On EVs, Hybrids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/oems-delay-vehicle-alert-sounds-pedestrians-evs-hybrids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/oems-delay-vehicle-alert-sounds-pedestrians-evs-hybrids/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992458 As quiet as electric vehicles and hybrids are, plans to make them noisy for the benefit of pedestrians et al have been delayed until 2018. Edmunds reports accidents involving pedestrians climbed 6 percent in 2012 over the previous year, totaling 76,000 injuries and 4,743 deaths. Though EVs and hybrids only account for less than 2 […]

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2013-nissan-leaf-01-628-1357743465

As quiet as electric vehicles and hybrids are, plans to make them noisy for the benefit of pedestrians et al have been delayed until 2018.

Edmunds reports accidents involving pedestrians climbed 6 percent in 2012 over the previous year, totaling 76,000 injuries and 4,743 deaths. Though EVs and hybrids only account for less than 2 percent of all vehicles traversing the United States, were they equipped with engine sound technology — and were the percentage to increase to a projected 4 percent in 2016 — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 2,790 fewer accidents with pedestrians would result.

To help introduce the technology in all EVs and hybrids, Congress enacted the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act in January 2011, which mandates the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop standards for automakers to use in implementing “recognizable” sounds meant to alert pedestrians that a vehicle is approaching when the vehicle is moving down the road at 18 mph or less. The full power of the act would have come into play three years after the final rule is passed down, but delays in getting to that point — the result of comments by automakers and industry groups — have pushed the mandate to September 2018.

Meanwhile, a handful of automakers have moved ahead with implementing their versions of the safety system. Nissan has the Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians on its Leaf, while Chevrolet has a driver-operated noise onboard the Volt. However, the sounds don’t always resemble that of the ICE; Fisker’s Karma, for example, pulls its alert from Tron light-cycles and Motorola Droids, while the Kia Soul EV is waving its light saber in front of a field of crickets. Most manufacturers, though, are sitting out the PSEA until they know what the final rule will say on the matter.

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IIHS: US Driver Fatalities Fall One-Third In Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/iihs-us-driver-fatalities-fall-one-third-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/iihs-us-driver-fatalities-fall-one-third-three-years/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991274 Per a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, driver fatalities in the United States have fallen by a third over the past three years. Automotive News says the report’s findings come after the seemingly endless recall parade of 2014, which saw 60.5 million vehicles in the U.S. brought in for repair work, an […]

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2011-honda-odyssey-touring-elite-rear-three-quarters

Per a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, driver fatalities in the United States have fallen by a third over the past three years.

Automotive News says the report’s findings come after the seemingly endless recall parade of 2014, which saw 60.5 million vehicles in the U.S. brought in for repair work, an all-time industry record.

The IIHS added that nine vehicles made in 2011 or earlier had no fatalities recorded between 2009 and 2012: Audi A4 4WD, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sorento 2WD, Lexus RX 350 4WD, Mercedes-Benz GL-class 4WD, Subaru Legacy 4WD, Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD, Toyota Sequoia 4WD and Volvo XC90 4WD. The list marks an improvement in safety according to the non-profit group, when only eight years ago, “there were no models with driver death rates of zero.”

However, while most of the vehicles with zero fatalities are SUVs and crossovers, most of the vehicles with the highest number of deaths over the same period are compacts like the Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa and Kia Rio. The report confirms this, proclaiming that “with some exceptions, death rates tend to go down as size goes up.” This is a change from a decade earlier, when SUVs and crossovers had higher numbers of deaths due to a lack of stability controls and other systems meant to prevent roll-over.

As far as total elimination of traffic fatalities in the U.S. goes, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer David Zuby says such a thing is decades away, and would require not only continued improvements in vehicle safety, but changes in road construction and public safety policy, as well. The report adds that the Great Recession helped to contribute toward the decline in deaths, warning that as the economy continues its recovery, and without said policy changes, the decline could reverse.

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NHTSA Seeking Whistleblowers In Takata Airbag Investigation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nhtsa-seeking-whistleblowers-takata-airbag-investigation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nhtsa-seeking-whistleblowers-takata-airbag-investigation/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991194 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking whistleblowers who have knowledge “of possible defects or any wrongdoing” about Takata. Reuters reports the NHTSA has set up a hotline for current and former employees of the airbag supplier as part of its ongoing investigation into a number of death and injury cases linked to defective […]

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking whistleblowers who have knowledge “of possible defects or any wrongdoing” about Takata.

Reuters reports the NHTSA has set up a hotline for current and former employees of the airbag supplier as part of its ongoing investigation into a number of death and injury cases linked to defective airbag inflators, with the promise of legal protection for those who call. Agency representative Gordon Trowbridge explains:

We encourage all individuals with information about the manufacture or testing of Takata air bag inflators, or who have knowledge of possible defects or any wrongdoing by the company, to make this information available to NHTSA.

The news organization itself received numerous reports from former Takata employees wishing to remain anonymous of hiding or altering data and other information linked to the airbags, as well as two from Mark Lillie and Michael Britton regarding the supplier’s introduction and use of ammonium nitrate at its facility in Moses Lake, Wash. Both expressed concerns about the lack of safety testing and validation for the chemical before Takata pressed forward with its use in the late 1990s.

Takata, for its part, claimed that it was “committed to working with NHTSA and [its] automotive customers to ensure the safety of the driving public,” opting not to comment specifically on the NHTSA’s call for whistleblowers, nor on Reuters‘ own findings.

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Land Rovers, Jaguars Et Al Leave Höegh Osaka After Month At Sea http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/land-rovers-jaguars-et-al-leave-hoegh-osaka-month-sea/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/land-rovers-jaguars-et-al-leave-hoegh-osaka-month-sea/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991122 Having spent most of January on its side, the Höegh Osaka returned to Southampton, England Tuesday to unload 1,400 premium vehicles bound for Germany. According to The Daily Mail, the car carrier was intentionally run aground in the Solent off the Isle of Wight January 3 when it began to list at 52 degrees shortly […]

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Land Rover Hoegh Osaka

Having spent most of January on its side, the Höegh Osaka returned to Southampton, England Tuesday to unload 1,400 premium vehicles bound for Germany.

According to The Daily Mail, the car carrier was intentionally run aground in the Solent off the Isle of Wight January 3 when it began to list at 52 degrees shortly after departing for Germany through the English Channel. Around 1,400 premium vehicles were onboard, including Land Rover Defenders, Jaguar XFs, MINIs, a Rolls-Royce Wraith, and a Porsche Boxster.

Presently, each of the 1,400 vehicles aboard are being inspected for any damage, especially the type that would mean a final ride to the crusher. The final total won’t come until early next week at the latest, though a decision to follow in Mazda’s footsteps — the automaker scrapped 4,700 units aboard the Cougar Ace in 2006 — would prove costly; the total value of Höegh Osaka’s cargo stands at £30 million ($45 million USD).

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German Automakers Rally In Support of US-EU Trade Agreement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/german-automakers-rally-support-us-eu-trade-agreement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/german-automakers-rally-support-us-eu-trade-agreement/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989578 Leaders from Germany’s automotive sector held a rally Wednesday in Berlin to lend support to a transatlantic trade agreement heavily facing opposition. Automotive News reports the agreement between the European Union and the United States, which is supported by the likes of Daimler AG’s Dieter Zetsche, Volkswagen AG’s Martin Winterkorn, and even Germany’s chancellor Angela […]

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Leaders from Germany’s automotive sector held a rally Wednesday in Berlin to lend support to a transatlantic trade agreement heavily facing opposition.

Automotive News reports the agreement between the European Union and the United States, which is supported by the likes of Daimler AG’s Dieter Zetsche, Volkswagen AG’s Martin Winterkorn, and even Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, would be the largest such agreement put into play when signed. The deal would deliver a gain of €119 billion ($135 billion USD) for the EU and $131 billion for the U.S. by 2027, which equals an average of €545 ($620) and $910 for a family of four in their respective locations. Eighty percent of the gains would be the result of eliminating duplication costs linked to maintenance of two different bureaucracies and regulations.

However, German union IG Metall and various consumer groups take issue with key parts of the agreement, if not the entire agreement itself. For the union, the investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism — which grants corporations the right to sue the government if revenue is lost due to government policy — is unacceptable, as are the threats of softening environmental and consumer protections, and hollowed workers’ rights. Other groups fear U.S. companies could force European legislators to draft policies in the former’s favor, and “harmonize safety or product standards downward.”

As for why the German automakers are rallying, the aforementioned harmonization would allow all automakers to focus on one set of safety and emission standards, thus allowing for the possibility of buying a new car from a different market without waiting 25 years first. That said, the agreement could collapse without majority support from all 28 members of the European Parliament.

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ACLU: Drug Enforcement Administration Tracking Plates Since 2008 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/aclu-drug-enforcement-administration-tracking-plates-since-2008/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/aclu-drug-enforcement-administration-tracking-plates-since-2008/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989522 It’s not just auto lenders and police who track plates: The Drug Enforcement Administration has collected 343 million records since 2008. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the DEA’s National License Plate Recognition program has at least 100 license plate readers deployed by the agency in states such as California, New Jersey and Georgia, […]

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License Plate Reader Mounted On Police Car

It’s not just auto lenders and police who track plates: The Drug Enforcement Administration has collected 343 million records since 2008.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the DEA’s National License Plate Recognition program has at least 100 license plate readers deployed by the agency in states such as California, New Jersey and Georgia, with local, state and other federal law enforcement agencies contributing information to the DEA’s database. One collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol brought in 793.5 million license plate numbers at land border crossings between May 2009 and May 2013, the latter agency sharing its information “at regular intervals” with the former, as well as with anyone with a vested interest, such as prosecutors and local law enforcement.

The program, which currently retains “non-hit” data for six months, is meant to target roadways “commonly used for contraband transport,” a statement the ACLU finds unclear, since every roadway could be used for said transport. The group goes further, stating that the DEA may be using this belief “to target people of color,” though the heavily redacted information obtained by its FOIA request leaves such answers in doubt.

Other key findings include the program’s primary goal of asset forfeiture, and the usage of plate data to determine travel patterns. The ACLU believes more information is needed about the program regarding the civil liberties of all who travel in the United States and pass through the country’s borders, and is seeking transparency from the DEA to answer questions about where the agency receives its data, how it collects the data, whether or not it uses private databases to conduct operations, and whether or not the program has actually done its job in ensuring the safety of the American populace.

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Next-Gen Honda Accord Foregoing Takata Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988450 When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system. Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the […]

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When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system.

Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the CR-V and Odyssey starting in 2016.

As for the airbags currently in play, Honda signed an agreement with another airbag competitor, Autoliv, to start production of replacement units for the 13 million-plus vehicles recalled by the automaker due to Takata-supplied airbags since 2008. Honda is also in discussions with Daicel Corporation for more replacement parts, as well.

The move toward Toyoda Gosei from Takata follows a request from General Motors for the supplier to share specs with both TRW Automotive and Autoliv in the event the automaker needs to replace airbags in its own vehicles. Over 21 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers around the world have been recalled due to the potential for catastrophic failure of airbags made by Takata, resulting in five fatalities and several dozen injuries thus far.

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US Transportation Department Recommends Automatic Braking For NCAP http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/us-transportation-department-recommends-automatic-braking-ncap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/us-transportation-department-recommends-automatic-braking-ncap/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987866 Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it would add two forms of automatic emergency braking as recommended systems for its New Car Assessment Program. The Detroit News reports crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support will be included as safety feature recommendations for the program’s five-star rating system, though automakers won’t be mandated to […]

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Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it would add two forms of automatic emergency braking as recommended systems for its New Car Assessment Program.

The Detroit News reports crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support will be included as safety feature recommendations for the program’s five-star rating system, though automakers won’t be mandated to have them on all of their new models. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx encouraged them to consider doing so, however:

Today marks an enormous leap in the evolution of auto safety by encouraging adoption of new technologies to keep drivers and their passengers safe on our roads. Making it very clear that the technology will be one of the criteria on which auto manufacturers are graded is a pretty big step. They all want to be a five-star company.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had considered making automatic braking mandatory, setting a deadline of the end of 2013 to decide whether to press forward or to include it in the program. Administrator Mark Rosekind says the agency is still looking over the subject, while Foxx added that he wouldn’t put the idea completely on the shelf down the road.

The new recommendations will come into force 60 days after the public has had a chance to comment, followed by responses from the NHTSA. The 16-page proposal details the testing parameters automakers would need to pass before being listed as having automatic braking.

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NAIAS 2015: 2016 Buick Cascada Marks Brand Return To Convertibles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-buick-cascada-marks-brand-return-convertibles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-buick-cascada-marks-brand-return-convertibles/#comments Sun, 11 Jan 2015 18:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=975697 Revealed ahead of its 2015 Detroit Auto Show debut, the 2016 Buick Cascada marks the brand’s return to the convertible game after a 25-year absence [Live photos now available – CA]. The 2+2 convertible — based on the Opel model of the same name — can seat four adults comfortably, with its top able to […]

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Revealed ahead of its 2015 Detroit Auto Show debut, the 2016 Buick Cascada marks the brand’s return to the convertible game after a 25-year absence [Live photos now available – CA].

The 2+2 convertible — based on the Opel model of the same name — can seat four adults comfortably, with its top able to provide more of the same when up, both in regards to warmth and noise. Said top can be taken down in 17 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph.

Speaking of speed, power for the Cascada comes via a 1.6-liter turbo-four with direct injection and variable valve timing, capable of 200 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque, 221 lb-ft with overboost. A six-speed auto will direct that power to the front.

Heading back inside, those who take their Cascada to the beach house for a weekend getaway will have 13.4 cubic feet of cargo space to use with the top up, 9.8 cubic feet when the top is down. The electronically controlled rear seatbacks fold down to provide more storage space, as well.

Other features include: Buick IntelliLink connected-vehicle system with Apple iOS 6+ compatibility; pop-up rollover protection bars that activate upon detection of potential rollover accidents; OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi; standard safety features such as lane departure, rear park assist, rearview camera and Rainsense windshield wipers; HiPer Strut front suspension, derived from the Regal and LaCrosse; Watts Z-link rear suspension; and a rigid body structure composed of high-strength steel, reinforced side sills, and A-pillars made with press-hardened steel.

The 2016 Buick Cascada is set to go on sale next year.

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New York Pedestrian Fatalities Fall To Historic Low In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/new-york-pedestrian-fatalities-fall-historic-low-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/new-york-pedestrian-fatalities-fall-historic-low-2014/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974354 New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan — aimed at ending all traffic deaths by 2024 — appears to be paying off, with a historic low of 132 pedestrian fatalities in 2014. The New York Times reports the low follows a decade high of 180 such deaths the year prior. Meanwhile, overall […]

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Pedestrians on Broadway in New York

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan — aimed at ending all traffic deaths by 2024 — appears to be paying off, with a historic low of 132 pedestrian fatalities in 2014.

The New York Times reports the low follows a decade high of 180 such deaths the year prior. Meanwhile, overall fatalities dropped from 293 in 2013 to 248 in 2014, with bicycle deaths climbing from 12 to 20 in the same period, motorcycle deaths falling from 42 to 37, and automotive deaths remaining stable at 59.

The overall decline follows the recent lowering of the city’s default speed limit of 25 mph, a move that had to go through the state legislature prior to approval; the State of New York’s default for the local speed limit is 30 mph. Increased NYPD enforcement of traffic laws, including new ones like Cooper’s Law — which strips a taxi or livery driver of their license if they kill or injure a pedestrian who has the right of way — are also contributing to the decline.

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Honda Fined $70M By NHTSA For Data Reporting Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-fined-70m-nhtsa-data-reporting-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-fined-70m-nhtsa-data-reporting-failures/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974330 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Thursday that it would fine Honda $70 million “for failing to report death and injury data in a timely manner.” Autoblog reports the fine is based on 1,729 incidents over 11 years that were not brought to the attention of the NHTSA via the agency’s Early Warning Reporting […]

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Thursday that it would fine Honda $70 million “for failing to report death and injury data in a timely manner.”

Autoblog reports the fine is based on 1,729 incidents over 11 years that were not brought to the attention of the NHTSA via the agency’s Early Warning Reporting system. Further, some of the incidences have still yet to be reported, prompting new administrator Mark Rosekind to send investigators to Honda to retrieve the missing information.

The fine, the largest ever delivered by the agency to an automaker, is composed of two separate $35 million fines, one for the death and injury data, the other for missing warranty claims. The U.S. Department of Justice is considering a criminal investigation into the matter, though nothing has been confirmed thus far.

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New South Wales Drivers ‘Block’ Traffic Cameras In Social Media-Backed Protest http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/new-south-wales-drivers-block-traffic-cameras-social-media-backed-protest/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/new-south-wales-drivers-block-traffic-cameras-social-media-backed-protest/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 12:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972050 Speed cameras are the bane of motorists, a needed safety measure for road safety advocates, and a boon to government coffers (just ask Waldo, Fla.). Motorists in New South Wales, Australia, however, have decided to fly the two-fingered salute the only way they know how: By popping the hood. According to Autoblog, the social media […]

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Block Their Shot - Strayan For Fuck Da Police

Speed cameras are the bane of motorists, a needed safety measure for road safety advocates, and a boon to government coffers (just ask Waldo, Fla.). Motorists in New South Wales, Australia, however, have decided to fly the two-fingered salute the only way they know how: By popping the hood.

According to Autoblog, the social media campaign Block Their Shot is encouraging drivers in NSW to “breakdown” in front of the state’s 45 traffic cameras, which are mounted in trucks like the one above.

As for the cause of the protest, use of said cameras increased in the last half of 2014, with a total of 7,000 hours of footage gathered over the period, compared to the 5,580 hours gathered during the last six months of 2013. In turn, the fines collected charged upward into the stratosphere, from $310,000 AUD ($250,000 USD) in 2013, to $1.35 million ($1.08 million) between January and October 2014.

Though the campaign is popular with motorists — over 40,000 Facebook likes as of this writing — both safety advocates and government officials would like to have a word or two with those behind it. NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay hopes the “idiots” grow out of this, lest he puts “draconian fines in place,” while University of New South Wales professor of road safety Raphael Grzebieta believes the campaign is putting lives in danger by encouraging speeding.

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