Tag: accidents

By on May 13, 2019

Image: Mazda

It may not be a bombshell report that leaves mouths agape, but it reinforces an age-old bit of driving wisdom: when it starts to rain, slow down and leave a greater distance between you and the car in front.

A new study reveals just how much precipitation plays a role in increasinging the likelihood of a fatal crash. Even in weather docile enough to simply dampen one’s hair, death stalks the roadways like a vulture seeking out scraps of rancid meat. (Read More…)

By on February 25, 2018

Ralph Gilles

Last weekend, a drunk driver in a Ford Edge crossed into oncoming traffic in Addison Township, Michigan, and collided with a 2013 Ford Fiesta in the early hours of Sunday morning. At the same time Ralph Gilles, Fiat Chrysler’s Global Head of Design, was returning from an evening out with his wife and happened across the scene as the engine compartment of the Edge was beginning to catch fire.

With the occupants of the Fiesta trapped inside, Gilles decided to use his Jeep Wrangler push a burning SUV away from a wrecked hatchback — hoping to save them from a fiery death by keeping the flames from spreading to their vehicle. He explained that he had arrived just moments after the crash and had noticed the Edge driver had already exited the vehicle. Unfortunately, one of the two people in the Fiesta later passed away due to injuries sustained during the accident. But he may have saved the other by pushing the flaming SUV to the side of the road. (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2018

2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Thanks to a pact among the world’s largest automakers, automated emergency braking will soon be standard kit on nearly every new vehicle, paving the way for a future of collision-free bliss. That’s the plan, anyway. While undoubtedly a valuable addition to the automotive landscape, self-thinking vehicle safety systems sometimes reveal their dark side.

That’s what happened Wednesday during the Abu Dhabi Tour — a big-deal cycling race in a locale where hydration no doubt takes on new importance. Fluids weren’t top of mind for five of the cyclists, however, as their race was cut short by a Mercedes-Benz with a mind of its own. (Read More…)

By on January 25, 2018

tesla firetruck crash

With automakers, the Department of Transportation, NHTSA, and Congress all attempting to get self-driving vehicles onto the road as quickly as possible, the autonomous revolution finds itself in a sticky situation. Some motorists are confusing their semi-autonomous technology with an impenetrable safety net. This has resulted in avoidable accidents as drivers assume their high-tech cars can cope with whatever’s thrown at them, and it’s probably going to get worse as more idiots buy them.

We’ve already covered how semi-autonomous features make everyone less-effective behind the wheel and the fatal Tesla Autopilot crash was a story we kept up with for over a year. Investigators ruled that accident was the perfect storm of mishaps, however, there remains a common thread between the two pieces. The driver may have been spared were he not so eager to put his faith into the vehicle’s semi-autonomous system.

On Monday, a Tesla Model S collided with stopped firetruck that was responding to an accident on a freeway in Culver City, California. As you already guessed, the driver told the firefighters that the vehicle was operating in Autopilot mode. While nobody was injured in the crash, it’s another stroke in the ugly portrait of people placing blind trust in a technology they don’t understand. And, boy oh boy, are we just getting started on illustrating this problem.  (Read More…)

By on December 23, 2017

(In keeping with our promise to share thought-provoking fodder with our readers, we sometimes run articles published by TTAC’s sister sites. This look at recent crashes involving self-driving Chevrolet Bolts, penned by GM Inside News head honcho Michael Accardi, touches on a number of themes we’ve explored in these pages. Are humans really to blame for all of the accidents involving “perfectly safe” autonomous vehicles, or is the real picture not as crystal clear? Read on.)

The autonomous Chevrolet Bolts GM’s self-driving startup has running around San Francisco have been involved in 22 accidents during 2017 – none of which were the software’s fault (legally, that is).

Cruise Automation has been using a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolts to log autonomous miles in an urban environment since GM purchased the company for more than $1 billion in 2016. When you’re trying to disrupt personal transportation as we know it and develop a new technology standard, there are bound to be a few incidents.

But this hybrid model of humans and algorithms sharing the road is more complex than simply apportioning blame based on the law, isn’t it? None of the 22 incidents involving GM’s Cruise fleet were serious, but a majority of them were caused by a fundamental difference in the way autonomous and human drivers react. (Read More…)

By on September 12, 2017

Tesla AutoPilot cruise control

According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the “operational limitations” of Tesla’s Autopilot system played “major role” in a highly publicized crash in May of 2016 that resulted in the death of a Model S driver.

On Tuesday, the NTSB cited the incident as a perfect storm of driver error and Tesla’s Autopilot design, which led to an over-reliance on the system’s semi-autonomous features. After a meeting lasting nearly three hours, the agency’s board determined probable cause of the accident was a combination of a semi truck driver failing to yield the right-of-way, the Tesla driver’s unwillingness to retake the wheel, and Tesla’s own system — which may have set the framework for the accident.  (Read More…)

By on March 31, 2017

uber volvo

The recent collision in Tempe, Arizona, where an Uber Technologies driverless Volvo collided with another vehicle before rolling onto its side, might not have been as cut and dried as it originally seemed. While the Tempe Police Department originally deemed the autonomous car not to be at fault, the incident report suggest that it might have been taking the same sort of risks that any inattentive flesh-based operator might have.

EE Times obtained copies of the police report and reached out to Mike Demler, senior analyst at The Linley Group, to make sense of exactly what happened at the scene. The popular assumption was that a Ford Edge failed to yield during a left hand turn, impacting with the Volvo XC90 test vehicle and forcing it onto its side.

That’s not quite how it happened.  (Read More…)

By on October 21, 2016

6-speed manual transmission
Because we haven’t yet adopted a Utopian work calendar, it’s now the day before the weekend and time for some unusual automotive news.

While there hasn’t been any reports of people or cars being crushed by colorful fall foliage, Mother Nature has been a bad girl, as animals are conspiring to destroy our vehicles through theft or by making a very distracting corpse. Meanwhile, a shrinking number of vehicles are coming from the factory with the best anti-carjacking device ever made. (Read More…)

By on August 19, 2016

thecar5big

Maureen Noble’s home has become an impromptu garage for random vehicles almost too many times to count.

The last time was July 8, and she’s still repairing the damage after a Ford came in one side and went out another. According to the Canadian Press, several jars of jam and pickles died violent and colorful deaths in that incident.

It’s getting tiring. She’d like to move, but the home that attracts vehicles like moths to a light bulb also repels nervous buyers. (Read More…)

By on June 3, 2016

check

The difference between genius and stupidity, they say, is that there is a limit to genius. How else can you can explain the latest brake checking crash video making the rounds?

But if you’re willing to limit your stupidity just a tiny bit, you can avoid being the next fellow who finds out the hard way about those steel cables in the middle of the freeway.

(Read More…)

By on May 23, 2016

Car collision (Mark Turnauckas/Flickr)

Human error causes most vehicle wrecks, so why is “car accident” still the go-to term?

A safety advocate-led movement is gaining steam to change the lexicon, the New York Times reports, with “crash” being the preferred word to replace “accident.”

With fatal crashes on the rise on U.S. roads, policymakers are joining the groundswell of voices calling for eradication of the word, which they say absolves blame. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2015

IntelliSafe Auto Pilot interface

Volvo Cars President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson announced Thursday in Washington, DC, that the automaker would “accept full liability whenever one if its cars is in autonomous mode,” making Volvo one of the first automakers to solve one of many important legal issues that face autonomous vehicles.

Volvo made the announcement just days after launching a project in Sweden that will see 100 Volvo XC90s with autonomous functionality hitting the roads around Gothenburg in 2017.

(Read More…)

By on September 23, 2015

sept-18-1-kcsd

You can understand why deputies from the Kosciusko County sheriff’s department, along with police, fire, and EMS units from Syracuse, Indiana, responded last Friday afternoon to a report of a vehicle colliding with a school bus. Fortunately, there were no children on board at the time, but arriving officers found a nine-year-old boy with minor head injuries lying on the ground near the wrecked, apparently driverless Dodge Avenger that had hit the bus. (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2015

20150309_144512

I’ve lived in urban areas for most of my life. When you do that, your street-parked vehicles will get hit. You walk up to the car and the fender is mashed in or the bumper is bent… and there’s no note left by the perpetrator. In my experience — and I’d say that in my 34 years of driving, I’ve had parked cars hit and damaged enough to notice (some of my cars hid damage very well) at least 25 times. Not once has anyone ever left a note taking responsibility for the damage. I hear that this note-leaving phenomenon has been known to happen, but such a thing falls into the urban-legend category for me. How about you? (Read More…)

By on June 4, 2015

Franck Petricola

The Isle of Man TT claimed one more Wednesday when French rider Franck Petricola succumbed to injuries caused during qualifying for this year’s events.

(Read More…)

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