Tag: Safety

By on January 22, 2020

2017 Toyota Corolla LE - Image: Toyota

A ghost in the machine that could render passive safety systems like airbags and seatbelt pretensioners useless has infected a range of Toyota models, sparking a global recall of roughly 3.4 million vehicles — some 2,891,976 of those in the United States.

While the suspected fault only rears its head in certain types of crashes, owners would probably prefer their airbags deploy in all major impacts. (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2020

It’s not good to live your life in fear, at least if you can help it. Sometimes there’s no choice but to soldier on with a stiff upper lip, hoping the bombers won’t show up again tonight, but for most of us in the Western world things are pretty okay — regardless of what your coworker posts 18 times a day on Facebook and Twitter.

Yet fear persists in more specific circumstances. One of them may involve a certain vehicle not owned by yourself, but someone you know. (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2020

Even though automakers routinely preview concept and prototype vehicles with camera mounts replacing traditional side and rear-view mirrors, you’ll have to wait a while before the technology makes its way to production vehicles. While Japan thinks ditching mirrors for a digital display is sugoi (Japanese for hunky-dory), other nations have maintained some amount of trepidation in embracing the technology.

For our purposes, both Canada and the United States have examined the matter, yet neither feels ready to make any industry-altering decisions. Supplier Magna International says that’s okay ⁠— it’ll be ready to hook up North America with the applicable hardware when the time comes. Plenty of downsides can be found in swapping out traditional mirrors, offsetting some of the benefits, and lawmakers need to figure out how to manage that when it comes time to redefine automotive regulations(Read More…)

By on January 3, 2020

Tesla Model S Grey - Image: Tesla

Barely two weeks after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last opened an investigation into a Tesla crash, the federal agency is once again probing a collision involving a Tesla vehicle — this one a fatal incident.

The agency announced this week that a December 29th crash in Gardena, California that killed two occupants of a 2006 Honda Civic will fall under its purview. (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2019

2019 Mazda 3 sedan - Image: Mazda

A system designed to detect obstacles on the road ahead and automatically apply the brakes is acting up in current-generation Mazda 3 vehicles. Seems it’s seeing things that aren’t there.

On Friday, Mazda announced a recall of 35,390 Mazda 3 sedans and hatchbacks in the U.S., spanning the 2019 and 2020 model years. (Read More…)

By on December 19, 2019

General Motors is recalling more than 900,000 vehicles across the globe to addresses issues from separate campaigns — one of which poses an always-exciting fire risk. On Thursday, the automaker announced a callback of more than 400,00 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 trucks from the 2019-2020 model years. The manufacturer is concerned that pickups’ battery positive cable rings may have been installed with excessive glue, creating a stalling risk, or in some instances a potential fire hazard.

Another 550,000 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Cadillac CT6, and GMC Sierra 1500 models from 2019 will also need to be recalled. A potential software issue related to the vehicles’ service brake system notifications could cause it to go haywire, negatively impacting their electronic stability control (ESC) and anti-lock braking (ABS) functions.  (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2019

gm

Maintaining a clear view of the road ahead through a vehicle’s windshield is a fundamental part of road safety, and things can go downhill fast if a vehicle’s wipers crap out at an inopportune time.

Since 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has paid growing attention to the wipers on two GM models: the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, both of which were recalled that year following a number of reported windshield wiper transmission failures. The recall covered the 2013 model year.

NHTSA also began looking into Equinoxes and Terrains from different models years, receiving numerous (read: hundreds) of complaints during the course of its investigation. Now, that probe has entered a new phase, signalling that a new recall might be on the way. (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2019

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it will investigate a 12th crash relating to Tesla Motors’ Autopilot system. The automaker has found itself under increased scrutiny as the public grows increasingly weary of technological gaps in today’s advanced driving aids. Truth be told, it’s probably shouldering more of the burden than it needs to. Whereas most driving aids manage to fly beneath the radar, Tesla’s marketing of Autopilot has always framed it as being on the cusp of true autonomy.

It’s always just one over-the-air-update away from genuine self-driving capabilities.

That’s why you don’t read reports about some poor dolt in a Toyota rear-ending someone and the government doing a deep dive on Safety Sense to figure out why. Nobody cares, and there aren’t countless examples of people taking their hands off the wheel of their Camry with confidence after being confused into thinking it could drive itself. But it happens in Tesla models with uncomfortable frequency, even among drivers who really should know better.  (Read More…)

By on December 13, 2019

Automakers could be staring down the barrel of another brutally large airbag recall as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration evaluates the long-term safety of inflators manufactured by the now-bankrupt Takata. Earlier this month, the parts supplier announced a recall affecting 1.4 million additional vehicles following the death of a BMW driver. Several new injuries also stemmed from the issue.

At the same time, the U.S. road safety regulator had to make a decision as to whether the roughly 100 million inflators containing a chemical drying agent intended to solve the problem are actually safe.

So far, it’s looking like a no.  (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2019

2017 Ford F250 Lariat Crew Cab 4x4 rear quarter

There’s a new Super Duty line coming to the Ford stable for 2020, and a recall coming to owners who bought the earlier version.

On Friday, Ford Motor Company issued a recall of certain 2017-2019 F-250, F-350, and F-450 pickups to fix tailgates that might fly open at inopportune moments. The callback has been a long time coming. (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

The largest automotive recall in history just got a little more inclusive. Takata is recalling another 1.4 million vehicles after the airbag-related death of a BMW driver. The German manufacturer has issued three recalls covering roughly 116,000 U.S. vehicles containing the faulty equipment, saying it is aware of at least one fatality in Australia, plus a few injuries.

By now, you’re probably familiar with the issue. Takata supplied tens of millions of defective air-bag inflators over several years. The units are prone to exploding in the event of a crash, spraying metal shrapnel inside the cabin, after its propellant becomes compromised by nothing more than moisture. This has led to many senseless deaths, the largest automotive recall in history, and Takata declaring bankruptcy two years ago before its purchase by China’s Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp.  (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2019

Australia put up the first phone-detecting cameras in New South Wales over the weekend. The move is part of a broader plan to reduce roadway fatalities by 30 percent by 2021 — especially as new technologies continue to exacerbate the issue of distracted driving. “It’s a system to change the culture,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy told Australian media las week.

There’s nothing incredibly new about the cameras themselves. But they’re networked to an artificial intelligence that determines whether or not someone behind the wheel is using their phone. Suspect images are then forwarded to authorized personnel to be verified as truly criminal.  (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2019

Transportation for London (TfL) announced it has informed Uber that it will not be reissued a license to operate in the UK capitol, citing concerns over customer safety. TfL had previously declined to renew the ride-hailing business’ private hire operator license, which expired on September 30th, saying it was unsatisfied with the number of drivers it found “fit and proper to hold a licence.” Then it changed its mind, offering a two-month extension.

Now it’s claiming that at least 14,000 Uber trips taken within the city included drivers linked, via their app profiles, to cars they were not legally registered to drive. Having done an impromptu survey of his own (done as unscientifically as possible by just asking drivers if they owned the vehicle), your author found the number of “rogue” Uber drivers in New York City to be about one in five.

While easily framed as a gotcha moment, that ratio isn’t really any different from what I’ve experienced with NYC’s sanctioned yellow (or green) cabs. But that doesn’t exactly make it a non-issue either — just more of the same.  (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2019

autonomous hardware

While the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) job isn’t to establish new regulations, it is obligated to enforce the country’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards while conducting crash investigations and making recommendations to other agencies on ways to improve vehicular safety.

Lately, that job involves telling the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency that does write those rules, to step up its game on autonomous vehicles.

Last week, the NTSB held a board meeting in Washington D.C. to determine the probable cause of a fatal collision between a self-driving Uber prototype and a pedestrian in March of 2018. While Uber took plenty of heat, the NHTSA also came under fire for prioritizing the advancement of advanced driving technologies over public safety. (Read More…)

By on November 21, 2019

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has decided to give General Motors a pass on the punitive damages associated with its faulty ignition switches. If you don’t recall the issue, it’s hardly your fault. The cars were manufactured prior to GM’s 2009 bankruptcy declaration and encompassed models from brands that no longer exist.

That timing was everything, too. Apparently the affected Saturn, Pontiac, and Chevrolet vehicles are part of the “Old GM” that died during the Great Recession. Most of the automaker’s former assets and liabilities were transferred to the “Motors Liquidation Company,” so that the General could be reborn fresh and untainted, like a baby phoenix.  (Read More…)

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