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Archive for the ‘NHTSA Investigations’ Category

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…)

NHTSA Opens Probe into Hyundai, Kia Airbag Issue

Airbag problem could extend beyond named makers.

by on Mar.19, 2018

The Kia Forte's airbag is subject to an investigation by NHTSA for the 2012–13 model years.

Less than a month after Hyundai declared there is a problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is investigating airbag problems affecting 425,000 Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

The agency is also looking to see if the problem – airbags not inflating during a collision – is affecting other automakers.

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Over the weekend, NHTSA said it was opening a query into 2011 Hyundai Sonata and 2012–13 Kia Forte vehicles. The move comes after the agency said it received reports that because of the problem in sixn instances, there have been four deaths and six injuries. (more…)

2 Fed Safety Teams Head to California Tesla Crash Probe

Was drive using Autopilot when Model S crashed into fire truck?

by on Jan.25, 2018

An LA TV station caught the aftermath of a crash involving a Tesla Model S and a firetruck.

Two separate teams of federal safety investigators have been dispatched to California to examine what happened when a Tesla Model S crashed into a firetruck on a suburban Los Angeles freeway on Monday, the agencies aiming to find out if the incident happened while the battery sedan was operating in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode.

This marks the second time both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have examined a Tesla crash to see if the maker’s self-driving technology may have malfunctioned.

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In the first case, 40-year-old Joshua Brown was killed in a Florida crash in May 2009 when his Model S failed to stop when a semi-truck turned in front of it. The former Navy SEAL was ruled at least partially at fault for failing to take evasive action, but the NTSB also determined that flaws in the design of the Tesla Autopilot system contributed to the crash.

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NHTSA Calls Up Next Round Vehicles with Takata Airbags

New set includes 3.3 million airbags.

by on Jan.18, 2018

Now 21 people are known to have died due to faulty Takata airbag inflators.

The next round of vehicles needing to have faulty Takata airbags repaired have been released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is now overseeing the repair process.

The current set includes models from 14 different automakers that are being recalled. The automakers in this round include: Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Daimler Vans, Toyota, Tesla, BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Mazda, Subaru, Jaguar-Land Rover, McLaren and Volkswagen.

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Toyota, Ford and Honda released some of their models last week. (more…)