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Archive for the ‘NHTSA Investigations’ Category

NHTSA Investigating Ford F-150 Seat Belt Fires

Five complaints filed, but no recall issued yet.

by on Aug.07, 2018

NHTSA is investigating a series of fires involving the truck's seat belts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is exploring complaints about fires occurring in 2015–18 model year Ford F-150 pickup trucks. The fires may have been caused by the truck’s seat belts.

Ford officials say they are cooperating with the query involving more than 2 million trucks. A Ford spokeswoman said the automaker takes “the safety of our customers very seriously. We are investigating the matter and will cooperate with the agency, as we always do.”

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No recall has been ordered yet. (more…)

Bill Allowing National Testing for Autonomous Vehicle Testing Remains Stalled

Foreign competitors are gaining on U.S. in the arena.

by on Jul.09, 2018

Nissan is conducting on-road autonomous vehicle testing in Europe, including London, shown here.

As automakers scramble to find what U.S. states are best for testing autonomous vehicles, Congressional efforts to communize rules for all 50 states, once on the fast track, appears to have stalled and there is no timetable for a restart.

In today’s political climate, it would be easy to assume that partisanship is the reason the efforts have ground to a halt in the U.S. Senate, but the bill had strong bipartisan support coming out of committee.

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However, the Senate is tied up with other responsibilities, such as the looming Supreme Court justice approval process and other legislative agenda items, according to the Automotive News. (more…)

Lexus Order Fire-Related Recall as Feds Probe Hyundai, Kia, Tesla Fire Concerns

Nearly 2 million vehicles involved in recalls, probes.

by on Jun.27, 2018

The Lexus recall covers a number of models, including the 2010 IS350C convertible.

Toyota’s high-linen Lexus brand today said it will recall 121,000 vehicles because fuel leaks in the engine compartment could lead to a fire.

The announcement came about the same time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advised a senior member of Congress that it is expanding a probe of engine problems with Hyundai and Kia vehicles that may also result in fires. And, as TheDetroitBureau.com reported earlier Wednesday, NHTSA is exploring reports that battery packs that have caught fire in Tesla vehicles have proved more difficult than expected to put out.

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The recall involving Lexus products covers four different products, 2006 through 2013 IS350 sedans, as well as the 2010 through 2014 IS350C, and the 2007 through 2011 GS350 and GS450h. All shared the same 3.5-liter gasoline powertrain.

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Kia Recalling 500K Cars Due to Airbag Problem

Hyundai already recalled nearly 600K vehicles for same issue.

by on Jun.12, 2018

The 2011 Kia Forte is part of a larger recall related to an airbag deployment problem..

Kia issued a recall of more than 500,000 cars in the U.S. because the airbags may fail to inflate during a crash, according to the automaker.

The action includes 2010–13 Forte modes, 2011–13 Optima models as well as 2011 and 2012 Optima hybrids and Sedona minivans. The move comes in conjunction with a similar action by Kia’s sibling maker, Hyundai.

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Which brings the total to nearly 1.1 million vehicles due to the problem, which has been linked to four deaths. (more…)

Tesla Model S Was in Autopilot at Time of Crash

Driver repeatedly took hands off the wheel.

by on May.17, 2018

The NTSB is investigating a third crash involving a Tesla vehicle using Autopilot at the time of the collision.

A Tesla Model S sedan that crashed into the back of a fire truck in Utah last week was operating in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode, the battery-electric automaker has confirmed, though the company has also tried to shift blame to the 28-year-old driver by noting that she repeatedly took her hands off the wheel and admitted being distracted immediately before the crash occurred.

The incident is the latest in a series of accidents involving Tesla vehicles in the U.S. and abroad and could raise new concerns about the safety of the automaker’s products – especially those using Autopilot which Tesla CEO Elon Musk has hailed as a potentially life-saving feature.

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The latest crash occurred when a Model S slammed into a parked fire truck at around 60 mph. The female driver suffered a broken foot. She subsequently told authorities that she was driving in Autopilot mode. Tesla engineers on Wednesday accessed the vehicle’s black box and confirmed that statement, though they also revealed that the driver had taken her hands off the wheel for as much as 80 seconds immediately prior to the crash. (more…)

NTSB Opens 2nd Tesla Investigation After Florida Crash Kills 2 Teens

Batteries catch fire after high-speed impact.

by on May.10, 2018

The National Transportation Safety Board launched a second investigation into a Tesla crash. This time a Model S burst into flames after spinning into a wall.

Even as federal investigators probe the cause of a fatal March crash in California, the National Transportation Safety Board is sending another team off to Florida to look into a fiery crash that killed two Ft. Lauderdale teenagers and seriously injured a third this week.

While the California probe focuses on the Tesla Autopilot system in use at the time of the crash, the new investigation aims to find out why the battery pack in the Model S sedan the teens were riding in burst into flames after the vehicle spun out of control into a wall.

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“NTSB has a long history of investigating emerging transportation technologies, such as lithium-ion battery fires in commercial aviation, as well as a fire involving the lithium-ion battery in a Chevrolet Volt in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” noted NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt in a statement. (more…)

Pedestrian Deaths Skyrocketing – Pot, SUVs and Smartphones Catching Blame

Tech distractions and possible tech solutions.

by on May.09, 2018

Despite recent efforts to improve safety, pedestrian deaths have risen for the past few years.

Highway deaths have been on the rise in recent years, reversing a long period of improved roadway safety. And one reason for the deadly turnaround has been the skyrocketing increase in pedestrian fatalities.

Since 2009, the number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes has jumped by nearly 50%, and a number of factors are being blamed, including the use of mobile devices by both motorists and pedestrians. But a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety puts a chunk of the blame on the increasing number of SUVs on the road.

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Both the number SUVs and their design appear to be factors, according to David Harkey, the president of the insurance industry trade groups, who noted that, “SUVs have higher front ends, and often the design for the vehicle is much more vertical than passenger cars.” That can make for a more blunt impact and less likelihood that a pedestrian being struck by an SUV might be able to roll off the vehicle and reduce injuries.

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Goodyear Tire Defect Linked to as Many as 95 Motorhome Deaths and Injuries

NHTSA launches probe after judge releases sealed documents.

by on Apr.06, 2018

A motorhome crash that may have been linked to the Goodyear G159 tires.

Defective Goodyear motorhome tires may have led to as many as 95 deaths and injuries, according to a new probe launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The potential problem, which played out over the past two decades, came to light after a Phoenix judge unsealed previously closed settlement agreements. The tires, which were sold between 1996 and 2003, were initially designed for use on delivery trucks, not for vehicles operating at freeway speeds, according to the data.

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“That information — primarily concerning the tire’s design, its testing, the decision to market it for use on motor homes, and the adjustment data generated by consumer experience with it — should be made public because it relates to and reveals a substantial potential risk to public health or safety,” Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah ruled in releasing the information that had been sealed as part of settlements between Goodyear and victims.

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Governor Suspends Uber Autonomous Testing in Arizona

Move follows fatal crash and questions about service’s self-driving technology.

by on Mar.27, 2018

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the suspension of Uber's autonomous testing program.

In the wake of a fatal crash earlier this month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has suspended the permit allowing ride-sharing service Uber to test self-driving vehicles on the state’s public roads.

The move comes as state and public regulators try to find out why a Volvo SUV modified by Uber to drive with only a backup “operator” slammed into a 49-year-old pedestrian crossing a four-lane road on the evening of March 18 without even slowing or trying to swerve out of the way. The incident has raised broader concerns about autonomous technology – but also questions Arizona’s relatively laissez faire approach to testing such vehicles on public roads.

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“In the best interests of the people of my state, I have directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend Uber’s ability to test and operate autonomous vehicles on Arizona’s public roadways,” Ducey announced. (more…)

Uber Fatality Investigation Produces More Questions Than Answers

NTSB, NHTSA assisting in accident query.

by on Mar.22, 2018

The Tempe (Arizona) Police Department released the video footage of Uber's collision with a pedestrian.

The video chronicling the fatal accident between an Uber vehicle in autonomous test mode and a woman crossing a street with her bike has opened up a Pandora’s Box of questions for the ride-sharing giant and other companies looking to develop self-driving vehicles.

The first is, of course, how did the system not recognize her and take action to avoid the problem? The vehicle’s system had plenty of time to take action, but did nothing, eventually running over Elaine Herzberg, as she walked her bike across four lanes of traffic at night in Tempe, Arizona.

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“The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones,” Uber said in a statement. “Our cars remain grounded, and we’re assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can.” (more…)