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First, it was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles products with a tendency to roll away, even after owners placed them in park. Then, Ford decided to make sure vehicles with rotary shift knobs didn’t do the same thing, offering a “Return to Park” feature on the 2017 Fusion.
Two weeks ago, it was FCA’s turn again. The automaker found itself the focus of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation after more reported rollaways, this time with rotary-shift Rams and Dodges.
Well, NHTSA now has Jaguar Land Rover in its crosshairs. Care to guess why? Read More >
Maybe there is common sense to be found in California.
A driver who was charged for driving under the influence — even though a blood test revealed only caffeine — won’t have to enter a courtroom to plead his innocence. That, a gas station attendant takes the Florida Woman meme and runs with it (into another woman’s car), and Canadian heavy truck drivers just refuse to lower their beds while on the highway. Read More >
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary evaluations in response to complaints that Smart ForTwo engines are catching fire before quickly engulfing the car in flames. Eight complaints have found their way to NHTSA about fires in 2008-2009 Four Twos, with six of the incidents occurring while the cars were being driven.
According to the agency, the incidents began with the illumination of the vehicles’ check-engine light, followed by smoke and odd noises. In every occurrence, owners claim the fires quickly spread to the entire car. Read More >
Just when it thought a troubling roll-away controversy and resulting recall was almost behind it, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finds itself under investigation for a similar problem.
This time, it isn’t the now-defunct Monostable gear shift that supposedly confused drivers — it’s the rotary shifter found in late-model vehicles. After numerous complaints, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into 1 million FCA vehicles that could pose a roll-away risk. Read More >
Have you ever bought a secondhand car, only to find the previous owner forgot his or her favorite CD in the stereo? Well, that didn’t happen to a Kentucky man.
That Volkswagen owner’s discovery is just one of the weird news stories arising from a polar vortex-plagued world. Elsewhere, officials warn of mammal tongue baths, and a politician practices bad automotive PR. Read More >
The United States Department of Transportation has proposed a rule that would require vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology in all new cars.
Vehicle-to-vehicle systems allow cars to communicate information to each other that could be used to update drivers about potential accidents, possibly reducing the number of crashes on U.S. roadways. The basic technology uses short-range radios to send and receive vehicle data on location, speed, direction, and braking status. While extremely useful in the application of autonomous driving technology, a lot of the potential safety applications resulting from V2V has not yet been conceived. Read More >
If it wasn’t for the blissful autonomy and convenience that comes with car ownership, how many people would want to shoulder the ever-growing cost? Insurers lie in wait to squeeze you, law enforcement waits to punish you, environmental groups demonize your lifestyle, and governments at all levels salivate at the thought of making it more expensive to own a personal vehicle.
Meanwhile, you dance to the tune set by oil companies and geopolitics, weathering financial blows when pump prices rise. If only there was a place where those worries fell away — where the act of owning and driving a car wasn’t as stressful.
As it turns out, this place exists. And it’s just west of the Mississippi. Read More >
Things became grim the moment the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety added headlight performance to its testing regimen. An initial report on midsize cars came back with only a single vehicle receiving a good score, and IIHS wasn’t any kinder toward SUVs or pickup trucks. The general consensus seemed to be that most headlights are absolutely terrible at providing adequate visibility but great at blinding oncoming traffic.
Adding headlight effectiveness to the ratings criteria for the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick+ designation ended up cutting the previous year’s list practically in half. Down from 79, only 38 models received the safety plus appointment under the new measurements. Read More >
Over the past two years, we’ve brought you in-depth coverage of a crop of shadowy gadgets designed to give thieves access to parked vehicles.
Like most tools of the trade, the gadgets are very similar, using the same principle to achieve the same result — unlocking a parked vehicle by sending signals to the car’s own keyless-entry system. For vehicles with a push-button ignition, the same gadgets can sometimes start the vehicle, giving that thief an instant lifestyle upgrade.
Now, a “mystery device” purchased by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has revealed just how vulnerable an average vehicle is to these high-tech slim jims. Read More >
Used vehicles with open recalls have begun rolling off AutoNation lots again, 16 months after the country’s largest new vehicle retailer promised an end to the practice.
The retailer, which has a half-billion dollar used vehicle expansion plan in the works, blames the about-face on the incoming Trump administration, with its CEO declaring that the legislative fight for mandatory used car recall repair is dead in the water. Read More >
Ford Motor Company has announced a recall of 680,000 vehicles to fix seat belts that might not protect occupants during a crash.
The automaker claims two crashes and two injuries are connected to the failure of driver and and front passenger seat belt anchor pretensioners in vehicles spanning four model years. Read More >
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) should be mandatory, not voluntary, say safety groups, some of which have sued in order to see it happen.
It’s something of an odd situation, as one of the people behind a lawsuit filed against the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is an ex-NHTSA administrator. Read More >
Thanksgiving is past and the coming month promises plenty of opportunities for socially acceptable, clove-scented boozing. Some beverages placed in hand — egg nog, for example — can easily pack enough liquor to make a sailor’s eyes water, while the drinker remains unaware of the serving size.
No problem, you say. You’ve bought a civilian breathalyzer, or perhaps the bar you’re at provides one. Got it all covered. Once that device delivers the green light, bam — it’s motoring time! Any police impaired driving checkpoint you encounter should pass your sober ass with flying colors, right?
So wrong. The majority of breathalyzers tested in a recent study failed miserably. Read More >
There’s no denying that distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic, but consumer and safety advocates are split on the best ways to tackle it.
While the proposed guidelines for mobile device makers issued last week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won applause from safety groups, one consumer technology organization has accused the regulator of overreach.
It’s a “slippery slope” argument, now that the federal government wants mobile devices to operate in the same way as in-car infotainment systems. Read More >
Since President Johnson signed the bills requiring all passenger vehicles to include safety belts in 1968, they have saved countless lives. However, with over 36 million of today’s American drivers over the age of sixty-five, current seatbelt designs might not pass muster for older bodies. It’s the same reason you don’t see a lot of old people involved in extreme sports or professional wrestling. An aged frame just can’t take the same sort of physical abuse as a malleable younger form.
So, with the elderly and frail in mind, the Ohio State University College of Medicine wants to design new seat belts to better protect older drivers. Read More >