Tag: NHTSA

By on December 29, 2015

2012_Ford_Focus_SFE_sedan_--_08-12-2011

The New York Times reported that federal regulators have received about 150 complaints over four years about power steering failures in the 2012 model year Ford Focus, including 124 crashes with injuries, with no recourse. One crash reportedly killed an 89-year-old New Jersey woman, although federal investigators concluded, “a steering failure is most likely not implicated,” according to the New York Times.

Despite the widespread reports by owners and the manufacturer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t asked Ford to recall the car. Ford has issued two service bulletins to dealers to inform consumers that the electric-assisted steering could lose power on startup and “wander” at highway speeds.

Safety authorities told the New York Times that its investigations revealed that in most of the crashes the fault was with the steering wheel and not necessarily the power steering.

(Read More…)

By on December 28, 2015

2016 Mazda CX-3 GT (18 of 25)

Newly promoted, high-priced executives at Mazda seem to think there’s something to this crossover fad.

That, Hyundai’s landed a Benjamin Button to lead Genesis and I wish I would have known how cheap I could have purchased an F1 team … after the break.

(Read More…)

By on December 22, 2015

Volkswagen Logo/Typeface with old/new VWs

Volkswagen’s simple, effective and direct slogan “Das Auto” ist kaput after about a decade of ruining our logic and grammar.

That, and BMW gets spanked by NHTSA, drive like it’s 2008 and more … after the break. (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2015

FCA_Location_1_Torino_Lingotto_high

Federal regulators Thursday fined Fiat Chrysler Automobiles $70 million for under-reporting death and injury claims from vehicles as far back as 2003, officials announced in a statement. The fine is related to a September announcement from the automaker to the Transportation Department that the automaker had violated terms of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act.

The automaker issued a statement saying it would accept the penalty and agree to a consent order that would require FCA to submit crash data from the cars.

“FCA US LLC accepts these penalties and is revising its processes to ensure regulatory compliance. However, FCA US is confident that it identified and addressed all issues that arose during the relevant time period, using alternate data sources,” the company said in a statement.

(Read More…)

By on December 2, 2015

Anthony Foxx + Barack Obama et al

Auto executives from nearly every major U.S. automaker met in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to discuss safety, recalls and technology with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Automotive News reported.

Senior executives from 15 automakers, including General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn and Nissan North America boss Jose Munoz, met to address Foxx’s concerns that “the public has lost faith in the auto industry’s commitment to safety,” according to a letter obtained by Automotive News.

The recent snowballing recall crises at GM, FCA and other automakers concerning Takata’s airbag inflators prompted the meeting, according to reports. A spokesman for the Transportation Department said the meeting was “very productive.”

(Read More…)

By on November 23, 2015

Takata-jpg

Ford announced Monday that it would no longer use airbag inflators made by beleaguered supplier Takata. It’s the latest automaker to join a growing list of companies abandoning the controversial parts maker, Automotive News reported.

Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Toyota all announced they wouldn’t be using the airbag inflators, which could explode and spray metal shards into drivers and passengers, after the company’s record recall and fine by the Department of Transportation. Roughly 1.5 million Fords have been recalled as part of the airbag recall that has affected 19 million cars by 12 different automakers.

So far, eight deaths and nearly 100 injuries have been blamed on the faulty airbags.  (Read More…)

By on November 7, 2015

Congressman Michael C. Burgess (R-TX)

Through an amendment by U.S. Representative Michael C. Burgess (R-TX) to the transportation funding bill, the House voted in favor of dialing back planned budget increases for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday, Automotive News reported.

Those planned increases of $46.3 million for 2016 and $76.7 million by 2021 have been cut by $15 million per year.

Burgess is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade and is responsible for a 62-page draft bill that would have credited vehicles with three advanced safety devices an additional 3 grams of CO2 per mile, up to 6 grams of CO2 per mile for a car that communicates with the road.

(Read More…)

By on November 6, 2015

Takata Logo on Belt

Toyota said Thursday that the world’s largest automaker would no longer use the beleaguered company’s airbags, joining Honda, Mazda and others, putting in doubt that supplier’s viability, Bloomberg reported (via Fortune).

Reuters (via Automotive News) reported that the automotive supplier, who was hit with a $70 million fine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this week, is preparing for the worst.

“We are considering some plans to survive, but it is not at the stage I can talk about yet,” CEO Shigehisa Takada said Wednesday, according to Reuters.

(Read More…)

By on November 3, 2015

Takata Driver Airbag

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Tuesday it would fine auto supplier Takata $70 million for its defective airbags that have caused seven deaths and nearly 100 injuries.

Regulators announced that an additional $130 million fine could be levied on the supplier if they do not comply with additional safety standards or if more defects are found.

“For years, Takata has built and sold defective products, refused to acknowledge the defect, and failed to provide full information to NHTSA, its customers, or the public,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “The result of that delay and denial has harmed scores of consumers and caused the largest, most complex safety recall in history. Today’s actions represent aggressive use of NHTSA’s authority to clean up these problems and protect public safety.”

(Read More…)

By on November 2, 2015

640px-Ralph_Nader_in_Waterbury_12,_October_4,_2008

In 1966, nascent federal automotive safety regulators recalled 982,823 vehicles. For the week of Oct. 25-31, automakers announced recalls of 2,727,205 vehicles. In 2014, the so-called “year of the recall,” more than 72 million cars were recalled by automakers in 902 separate recalls. On average, there are 2.5 times more cars on the road today than there were in 1966.

By most measurable statistics, vehicle recalls are more frequent and more costly to automakers and, according to safety data from NHTSA, fatal crashes happen proportionately less since their peak in 1972 — in short, recall repairs work and serve a purpose. Ralph Nader’s 1965 book, “Unsafe At Any Speed,” which accused automakers of intentionally delaying now-standard safety equipment, such as airbags, seatbelts and passive safety features, was met with fierce criticism from automakers. By 1972, several of Nader’s key points, including the federal oversight committee that would become NHTSA, had become commonplace. Automotive safety was already moving in the right direction, but Nader punched the throttle. 

Like Nader’s call for mandatory safety equipment and tests in the ’60s and ’70s revolutionized automaking, a new call to revolutionize and modernize is needed. However, instead of focusing on defective and unsafe cars, there needs to be new focus for this future safety revolution: defective and unsafe drivers.

(Read More…)

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