The Truth About Cars » Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 27 May 2015 20:00:04 +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/ China’s SUV Boom Fueled By Road Rage Concerns, Other Factors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076922 A handful of factors are fueling China’s current SUV boom, with road-rage protection at the top of the list. SUV registrations rose 48 percent during Q1 2015 while accounting for 27 percent of all registrations during the period compared to three years ago, Bloomberg reports. Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Robin Zhu says the boom […]

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Great_Wall_Haval_H6_01_China_2012-06-02

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

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

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

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

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

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General Motors Renaissance Center HQ

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

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

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

Jim Cain, GM spokesperson, told The Detroit News:

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

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

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

[Source: The Detroit News]

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

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Canadian Tire Store

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Takata TTAC Style

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

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

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

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

[Photo credit: Takata]

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

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Uber Texas BBQ Pedicab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Paradise Valley Arizona Police

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Photo credit: Paradise Valley PD/Facebook]

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

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Google Autonomous Vehicle Prototype Circa December 2014

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

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

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

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

[Photo credit: Google]

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

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World Premiere Freightliner Inspiration Truck

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Photo credit: Freightliner]

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NHTSA: No Decision Yet On Extending General Motors’ Oversight Decree http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-no-decision-yet-extending-general-motors-oversight-decree/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-no-decision-yet-extending-general-motors-oversight-decree/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062842 A year ago, General Motors was placed under government oversight in the wake of its recall crisis. Whether the NHTSA continues babysitting the automaker is yet to be determined. The oversight consent decree signed between GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resulted in a record $35-million fine for the former’s role in the February […]

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2015 Cadillac ATS Near Capitol Hill Circa January 2015

A year ago, General Motors was placed under government oversight in the wake of its recall crisis. Whether the NHTSA continues babysitting the automaker is yet to be determined.

The oversight consent decree signed between GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resulted in a record $35-million fine for the former’s role in the February 2014 ignition switch recall, as well as requiring the automaker to disclose any potential and ongoing problems, and to meet with the agency monthly about safety issues, The Detroit News reports. The decree can also be extended for up to two years, a decision agency head Mark Rosekind is discussing at present.

Rosekind praised the automaker’s willingness to be forthcoming about safety issues and improvements during those meetings, while GM spokesman Jim Cain had this to say about cooperating with the government:

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

No word was given as of this writing on when a decision to extend or rescind the decree would occur.

[Photo credit: General Motors]

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US Uber Users Latest Victims In Hacking, Selling Scheme http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-uber-users-latest-victims-hacking-selling-scheme/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-uber-users-latest-victims-hacking-selling-scheme/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 20:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1061154 Uber customers in the United States are the latest victims in a hacking scheme where Uber accounts are sold on the dark web for as little as $1. The scheme first affected Uber customers in the United Kingdom earlier this year, Motherboard reports, and is now hitting U.S. customers. One user saw several ride requests […]

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uber fashion shoot 02

Uber customers in the United States are the latest victims in a hacking scheme where Uber accounts are sold on the dark web for as little as $1.

The scheme first affected Uber customers in the United Kingdom earlier this year, Motherboard reports, and is now hitting U.S. customers. One user saw several ride requests made for travel in London, even though she lives in North Carolina. After posting the fraudulent attempts to her Twitter account, the transportation network company refunded her bank account for the three trips that did go through, ranging from $40 to $120 per trip; she also cancelled the card associated with her Uber account.

Meanwhile, others who have seen their accounts hacked and sold haven’t been as fortunate to have their money refunded. The TNC’s representatives said the investigation “is now in the hands of the authorities” upon finding no breaches into the company’s systems. They add the hacks were “a good opportunity to remind people to use strong and unique usernames and passwords and to avoid reusing the same credentials across multiple sites and services.”

The publication’s own investigation couldn’t confirm if the fraudulent uses happening to U.S. consumers were the result of Uber accounts being sold on the dark web that affected U.K. customers, nor how those accounts were snagged in the first place.

[Photo credit: Uber]

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Consumers Union: California Recall Bill Backed By Dealers Is “Not Enough” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/consumers-union-california-recall-bill-backed-dealers-not-enough/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/consumers-union-california-recall-bill-backed-dealers-not-enough/#comments Sat, 02 May 2015 16:47:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1059402 A proposed bill in California aimed at closing a loophole in federal recall law is being rushed through the legislative process. Consumers Union, the parent of Consumer Reports, is not happy about it. Neither are automakers. The bill – AB 287 – is being supported by California car dealers as a way to defend themselves […]

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2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Kia StoreA proposed bill in California aimed at closing a loophole in federal recall law is being rushed through the legislative process. Consumers Union, the parent of Consumer Reports, is not happy about it. Neither are automakers.

The bill – AB 287 – is being supported by California car dealers as a way to defend themselves against future lawsuits, even though it requires more work on their part. If passed, the law would make it illegal to rent or sell a recalled vehicle in California without prior disclosure, force dealers to fix used vehicles of the same make as their franchise, and require automakers to reimburse dealers for recalled vehicle storage.

The current federal law states dealers only be required to fix new cars before sale; rental and used cars are absent from the legislation.

Consumers Union says the new law is a “half-measure” and still doesn’t cover the problem of fixing used cars sold by non-franchised dealers, used vehicles of other makes at franchised dealers and rental vehicles before they are rented to customers. Oddly enough, the Association of Global Automakers agrees with Consumers Union, though for vastly different reasons. The automaker association – representing companies such as Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai – believes any such law should be a federal affair instead of complying with a patchwork of state-level laws which could be quite complex.

Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association, told Automotive News, “The regulation of recalls on used cars in the United States is zero” and “doing something is way better than where we are today.”

For their part, Consumers Union believes if the law goes into effect it will become a model for other states, eliminating the willingness of governments to introduce additional legislation fixing the underlying problem: repairing recalled vehicles before they are sold or rented.

[Source: Automotive News]

 

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US Senate Approves Industry Whistleblower Bill http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/us-senate-approves-industry-whistleblower-bill/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/us-senate-approves-industry-whistleblower-bill/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 19:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056442 Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved a whistleblower bill that would incentivize those in the auto industry to blow the whistle on potential safety problems. The Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act would give the U.S. Secretary of Transportation the discretion to award whistleblowers up to 30 percent of the total monetary penalties levied by the transportation […]

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US Senate Wing of the Capitol

Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved a whistleblower bill that would incentivize those in the auto industry to blow the whistle on potential safety problems.

The Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act would give the U.S. Secretary of Transportation the discretion to award whistleblowers up to 30 percent of the total monetary penalties levied by the transportation or justice departments that total a minimum of $1 million, The Detroit News reports.

The bill would cover all employees and contractors working at automakers, suppliers or dealerships, and take into account “original information” on product defects and other safety issues the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn’t know about previously, the information’s significance, and whether the whistleblower did everything they could to let the employer know prior to blowing the whistle.

Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune of South Dakota and panelist Bill Nelson of Florida both praised the Senate’s decision to pass the whistleblower bill by unanimous vote, noting that it would reward those in the industry for presenting safety issues before anyone is killed or injured as a result of industry inaction. The bill now goes on to the House, where House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton of Michigan repeatedly stated that auto safety-related bills have yet to be addressed this year.

[Photo credit: Ron Cogswell/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Automakers, NHTSA Meet To Discuss Increasing Recall Completion Rates http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/automakers-nhtsa-meet-discuss-increasing-recall-completion-rates/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/automakers-nhtsa-meet-discuss-increasing-recall-completion-rates/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 18:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056394 Despite the numerous recalls over the past year, recall completion rates are not at 100 percent. The NHTSA and automakers hope to change this. The agency met with representatives of General Motors, Honda and other automakers Tuesday to discuss ways to encourage affected consumers to take action when a recall is issued, Bloomberg reports. In […]

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Mark Rosekind Circa December 2014

Despite the numerous recalls over the past year, recall completion rates are not at 100 percent. The NHTSA and automakers hope to change this.

The agency met with representatives of General Motors, Honda and other automakers Tuesday to discuss ways to encourage affected consumers to take action when a recall is issued, Bloomberg reports.

In the case of GM, the automaker studied those who didn’t take action, then did everything it could to make them aware of a recall issue with the aim of bringing those consumers into the repair shop. However, even with 98 percent of GM owners made aware of recalls as a result of the campaign, inaction still occurred. Of those who did finally act, customer relationship management director Julie Heisel noted it took multiple mailings, phone calls, and assurances of loaner vehicles before those consumers brought their affected vehicles in for repair.

As it stands, the average completion rate for recall repairs comes to 75 percent, though the older the vehicle is, the less likely it will be repaired, according to The Detroit News: 15 percent for vehicles older than 10 years versus 83 percent for newer models.

In 2014, automakers recalled 63.9 vehicles in a record total of 803 recalls, including the February 2014 ignition switch recall issued by GM, and the ongoing Takata airbag recall affecting Honda and nine other automakers.

[Photo credit: Senator Claire McCaskill/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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AAA: Average Annual Driving Costs Fall 2 Percent In 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/aaa-average-annual-driving-costs-fall-2-percent-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/aaa-average-annual-driving-costs-fall-2-percent-2015/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 19:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055737 According to AAA’s 2015 Your Driving Costs study, annual driving costs costs fell 2 percent to an average of $8,698 in 2015. The annual study, which looks at the associated costs in owning and maintaining a typical sedan driven 15,000 miles a year, found that fuel costs fell nearly 14 percent to 11.2 cents per […]

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AAA Your Driving Costs 2015 Infographic

According to AAA’s 2015 Your Driving Costs study, annual driving costs costs fell 2 percent to an average of $8,698 in 2015.

The annual study, which looks at the associated costs in owning and maintaining a typical sedan driven 15,000 miles a year, found that fuel costs fell nearly 14 percent to 11.2 cents per mile, while finance charges came down 21 percent to just $669 per year. The former is due to a combination of falling gas prices at the pump and improved fuel economy, the latter due to low finance rates amid rising sales and heavy dealer competition.

However, vehicle depreciation climbed 4.1 percent to $3,654 as new-car sales help push used and off-lease models back onto the lot. Insurance trickled up nearly 9 percent to $1,115/year for an average policy, mainly because of higher-cost modern features linked to safety, use of lightweight materials, and newer connected-vehicle systems.

Maintenance costs barely rose to just over 5 cents/mile in 2015 – though owners are behind on routine maintenance – while licensing, registration and taxes totaled $665 a year on average, thanks to slightly higher prices on the showroom floor. Tires held their ground as a result of the dynamics and competitiveness of the market, with costs rising to just 0.98 cents/mile.

Among the vehicle types factored into the annual average, owners of minivans and SUVs will continue to fare well at the pump and in financing their vehicles, as those vehicles average 0.625 cents and 0.708 cents per mile in 2015. Owners of large sedans face the highest average cost at 0.710 cents/mile, while midsize and small sedan owners pay 0.581 cents and 0.449 cents for every mile driven, respectively.

[Image credit: AAA]

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Suzuki Recalls 2M Amid Reports Of Smoking Ignitions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/suzuki-recalls-2m-amid-reports-smoking-ignitions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/suzuki-recalls-2m-amid-reports-smoking-ignitions/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 22:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1051009 Suzuki is recalling a record 2 million vehicles to replace ignition switches amid reports of smoke and fumes being emitted from the part. The recall adds 1,873,000 vehicles to the 168,000 previously recalled late last month, Reuters reports. Both figures apply to nine models made in Japan, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda AZ-Wagon, Mazda Carol, […]

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2003 Suzuki Wagon R

Suzuki is recalling a record 2 million vehicles to replace ignition switches amid reports of smoke and fumes being emitted from the part.

The recall adds 1,873,000 vehicles to the 168,000 previously recalled late last month, Reuters reports. Both figures apply to nine models made in Japan, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda AZ-Wagon, Mazda Carol, and Suzuki’s own Alto, Wagon R and Swift. The recall for the latter three covers vehicles built between 1998 and 2009.

Another 133,700 models in the new recall were sold overseas in Australia and Europe, including the aforementioned Swift, Alto and Cruze.

Thus far, 67 reports of smoking switches have been reported, including 18 in police cars. The reports have all come from Japan.

[Photo credit: Kuha455405/Wikipedia]

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Colorado DOT Celebrates 420 Day With Marijuana Use Campaign http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/colorado-dot-celebrates-420-day-marijuana-use-campaign/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/colorado-dot-celebrates-420-day-marijuana-use-campaign/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 18:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050121 While the Internet celebrated Monday with Snoop Dogg, Cheech and Chong, the Colorado DOT did its part to ensure 420 Day revellers didn’t get high and drive. Per AutoGuide, CDOT kicked off its safe marijuana use campaign over the weekend with a number of sites offering games, activities, and assorted snacks featuring guidance on what’s […]

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Educational Munchies

While the Internet celebrated Monday with Snoop Dogg, Cheech and Chong, the Colorado DOT did its part to ensure 420 Day revellers didn’t get high and drive.

Per AutoGuide, CDOT kicked off its safe marijuana use campaign over the weekend with a number of sites offering games, activities, and assorted snacks featuring guidance on what’s legal in Colorado and how much one can be fined for being caught driving while high.

According to CDOT Communication Manager Sam Cole, the agency has a responsibility “to pioneer marijuana education campaigns to keep our roadways safe” via “unique and eye-catching” methods meant to grab the attentions of cannabis consumers in the hope of reinforcing safe consumption and laws surrounding the legal use of pot in so doing.

Current legislation states a driver with 5 nanograms of THC in their blood can be arrested for DUI, as determined by a given officer’s observations at the time of the stop. Critics of the legislation state that those levels will still be in the bloodstream long after the other more intoxicating effects have worn off, especially among regular chronic users.

[Image source: Nick Harper/CIG]

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Virginia Set To Establish Strict Retention Limits On LPR Data http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-set-establish-strict-retention-limits-lpr-data/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-set-establish-strict-retention-limits-lpr-data/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046218 The Commonwealth of Virginia is ready to set strict limits on how long license plate reader data can be retained, said limits being on the order of days. Autoblog reports two bills hit Governor Terry McAuliffe’s desk Wednesday that would balance the citizens’ right to privacy with law enforcement’s need to investigate potential crimes. One […]

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Alexandria Virginia Police Dodge Charger With License Plate Readers

The Commonwealth of Virginia is ready to set strict limits on how long license plate reader data can be retained, said limits being on the order of days.

Autoblog reports two bills hit Governor Terry McAuliffe’s desk Wednesday that would balance the citizens’ right to privacy with law enforcement’s need to investigate potential crimes. One bill would limit data retention to just seven days, the other to 60 days.

McAuliffe would have 30 days to act on the bills before both go into effect without his signature, with the review process set to begin “in the coming days” according to representative Christina Nuckols. Either way, the new limit would be one of the shortest — if not the shortest overall — limits on data retention in the United States; Maine currently holds the record with its 21-day limit.

As for which bill privacy advocates would prefer, the American Civil Liberties Union is pushing McAuliffe to sign the seven-day limit into law, as the other limit also expands the scope of law enforcement’s ability to conduct surveillance.

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Hyundai Patent Shows Cell-Phone Disabling Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-patent-shows-cell-phone-disabling-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-patent-shows-cell-phone-disabling-technology/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045106 Can’t put down the smartphone while driving? Hyundai has a patent for technology that can render it as dumb as a Motorola DynaTAC. Autoblog reports the patent shows technology that “limits or disables the use of some of mobile device features which could cause distraction to the user.” The system determines when and what to […]

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Hyundai Driver Cell Phone Blocking Patent

Can’t put down the smartphone while driving? Hyundai has a patent for technology that can render it as dumb as a Motorola DynaTAC.

Autoblog reports the patent shows technology that “limits or disables the use of some of mobile device features which could cause distraction to the user.” The system determines when and what to disable on a phone based on vehicle speed, time of day, importance of message, and other factors, and can do so either at the driver’s seat or the entire vehicle.

According to the patent, this is done with cellular-signal-monitoring antennas placed throughout the cabin. When an antenna detects a signal, the system performs the tasks needed to disable functions that would otherwise hinder a driver’s ability to maintain vigilance. However, the system requires the phone in question to have firmware that would accept the former’s commands.

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US Army Puts Dummies To Work To Improve Combat Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/us-army-puts-dummies-work-improve-combat-safety/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/us-army-puts-dummies-work-improve-combat-safety/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043658 Dummies have experienced a lot over the years, from going through windshields, to being set ablaze. Now, IED explosions can be added to the resume. Gizmag reports the U.S. Army has awarded a contract to California-based Diversified Technical Systems to work on the branch’s Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin project under the U.S. Army Research Development […]

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dts-blast-dummy-0

Dummies have experienced a lot over the years, from going through windshields, to being set ablaze. Now, IED explosions can be added to the resume.

Gizmag reports the U.S. Army has awarded a contract to California-based Diversified Technical Systems to work on the branch’s Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin project under the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command. The WIAMan project’s mission will be to assess how soldiers handle explosions caused by IEDs, land mines et al while inside a vehicle, with the goal of improving safety on the battlefield.

To do this, military casualty data from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq is combined with biomedical sensors meant to simulate the human body when attached to a dummy. The dummy is then subjected to the same sort of underbody explosions and blast waves soldiers hope not to experience on the field, which is then recorded to equally small data boxes, each holding up to 16 GB of data.

dts-blast-dummy-0 dts-blast-dummy-2 dts-blast-dummy

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NHTSA’s Rosekind Calling For Automaker Safety Summit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nhtsas-rosekind-calling-automaker-safety-summit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nhtsas-rosekind-calling-automaker-safety-summit/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043218 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind is calling for a summit with industry CEOs to improve automotive safety. Automotive News reports Rosekind wants to hold the summit as soon as June to discuss with the CEOs of automakers how each of their companies handle safety and defect issues, and ways to improve upon […]

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2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 1

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind is calling for a summit with industry CEOs to improve automotive safety.

Automotive News reports Rosekind wants to hold the summit as soon as June to discuss with the CEOs of automakers how each of their companies handle safety and defect issues, and ways to improve upon those approaches. He plans to invite the CEOs of the Detroit Three, as well as those helming foreign automakers with business in the United States, though formal invitations, timing, location and other details have yet to be sorted.

Prior to the summit, Rosekind and the NHTSA is hosting a recall workshop later this month to determine the best methods for bettering the recall process. The all-day workshop will be held at the Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, and will feature presentations from automakers, suppliers, dealers and the agency itself.

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Uber Safe Helps Drunk Torontonians Make It Home Safely http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/uber-safe-helps-drunk-torontonians-make-home-safely/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/uber-safe-helps-drunk-torontonians-make-home-safely/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 12:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043194 Should you be in Toronto having a few with the TTAC Zaibatsu, and you need a lift home, Uber’s Uber Safe program might be what you need. AdWeek reports the program uses a breathalyzer sidewalk kiosk to help hammered patrons make it home safe. Said patron blows into a disposable straw for six seconds, then […]

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Uber Safe Kiosk

Should you be in Toronto having a few with the TTAC Zaibatsu, and you need a lift home, Uber’s Uber Safe program might be what you need.

AdWeek reports the program uses a breathalyzer sidewalk kiosk to help hammered patrons make it home safe. Said patron blows into a disposable straw for six seconds, then the breathalyzer determines if they are over the legal limit or not. If so, Uber offers the patron a ride home.

The Uber Safe program was developed with ad agency Rethink, and the kiosk was assembled by fabrication studio Stacklab; both companies have offices in Toronto.

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Auditor, Others Ordered To Preserve General Motors Ignition Documents http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/auditor-others-ordered-preserve-general-motors-ignition-documents/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/auditor-others-ordered-preserve-general-motors-ignition-documents/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041185 Wednesday, a federal judge in Detroit ordered General Motors’ auditor and other parties to preserve documents related to the February 2014 recall. The Detroit News reports the parties include, auditor Deloitte & Touche, supplier Delphi, and IPO lead underwriters J.P. Morgan Securities and Morgan Stanley, as well as rental companies with affected fleet vehicles and […]

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

Wednesday, a federal judge in Detroit ordered General Motors’ auditor and other parties to preserve documents related to the February 2014 recall.

The Detroit News reports the parties include, auditor Deloitte & Touche, supplier Delphi, and IPO lead underwriters J.P. Morgan Securities and Morgan Stanley, as well as rental companies with affected fleet vehicles and eight Wall Street analysts.

The reason for the order from U.S. District Judge Linda Parker involves the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System pension fund, who is leading a securities fraud class-action lawsuit against GM on the claim that the “faulty ignition switches in GM vehicles caused loss to the value of their investments.” Parker said she allowed the order to maintain the status quo “until the court rules on defendants’ pending motions to dismiss.”

None of the parties have turned over said documents to those involved in the lawsuit thus far.

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Nissan Making Automatic Braking Standard On JDM Models By Fall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nissan-making-automatic-braking-standard-jdm-models-fall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nissan-making-automatic-braking-standard-jdm-models-fall/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039569 Nissan announced Tuesday that it will make automatic braking standard on all of its mass-market models in its home market of Japan. Reuters reports the first model to receive the now-standard feature will be the X-Trail Hybrid, which will hit showrooms May 13 with a starting price of ¥2.8 million ($23,423 USD); Nissan expects to […]

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2014_nissan_x_trail_australia_01-1015-mc-819x819

Nissan announced Tuesday that it will make automatic braking standard on all of its mass-market models in its home market of Japan.

Reuters reports the first model to receive the now-standard feature will be the X-Trail Hybrid, which will hit showrooms May 13 with a starting price of ¥2.8 million ($23,423 USD); Nissan expects to sell 3,500 per month.

The move to make the feature standard is a step towards the automaker’s goal of autonomous vehicles, the first phase of which is set to be carried out in Japan next year.

While automatic braking is available in Nissan’s home market offerings, it hasn’t yet decided if it plans to offer the feature elsewhere.

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NYT’s Bilton Finds Vehicle Broken Into Via Wireless Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nyts-bilton-finds-vehicle-broken-via-wireless-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nyts-bilton-finds-vehicle-broken-via-wireless-technology/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039361 Locking the doors may not be enough to deter would-be thieves now, thanks to wireless technology. According to Jalopnik, New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton watched from afar as his Toyota Prius’ defenses — specifically, the door locks — were disabled wirelessly by two youths before they entered the vehicle to steal whatever they […]

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2014 Toyota Prius

Locking the doors may not be enough to deter would-be thieves now, thanks to wireless technology.

According to Jalopnik, New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton watched from afar as his Toyota Prius’ defenses — specifically, the door locks — were disabled wirelessly by two youths before they entered the vehicle to steal whatever they could find. Bilton then chased down the two to ask what they used to break into his car, only to come away with nothing but a description and a price tag: a $100 device that broadcasts RF signals to unlock the doors.

Similar instances include a slew of break-ins in 2013 linked to devices pressed against new car doors, cycling through remote-entry codes before happening upon the correct code to unlock the vehicle, and a demonstration at a Blackhat conference with a setup involving a laptop and $1,000 of radio equipment.

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Georgia Jury Orders Jeep To Pay $150M For Role In 2012 Fatal Accident http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/georgia-jury-orders-jeep-pay-150m-role-2012-fatal-accident/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/georgia-jury-orders-jeep-pay-150m-role-2012-fatal-accident/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039121 After two weeks of deliberation, a jury in Decatur County, Georgia has found Jeep liable for the 2012 death of a 4-year-old involving a 1999 Grand Cherokee. Reuters reports the decision puts the loss of Remington Walden at Jeep’s feet as a result of the automaker failing to warn consumers of a potential risk for […]

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1999 Grand Cherokee Launch-12

After two weeks of deliberation, a jury in Decatur County, Georgia has found Jeep liable for the 2012 death of a 4-year-old involving a 1999 Grand Cherokee.

Reuters reports the decision puts the loss of Remington Walden at Jeep’s feet as a result of the automaker failing to warn consumers of a potential risk for fire in a rear-end crash due to the positioning of the SUV’s fuel tank. The jury also ordered the brand to pay 99 percent — $150 million — of the damages to the Walden family, with the motorist who rear-ended the vehicle to pay the remaining 1 percent.

The decision follows a 2013 recall by FCA US — then-known as Chrysler Group — of 1993-1998 Grand Cherokees, a customer satisfaction campaign for 1999-2004 models, and a recall of 2002-2007 Libertys over fuel-tank positioning concerns.

FCA representative Michael Palese says the company was disappointed by the outcome — its lawyers putting all of the blame on the driver on the other vehicle — and is considering appealing.

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