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Risky Behavior Behind the Wheel Running Rampant, Survey Says

AAA poll shows 87% of drivers engaged high-risk behavior in last month.

by on Feb.25, 2016

A new survey shows 87% of drivers engage in risky behavior, including talking on the phone while driving.

Almost no one behind the wheel is above the law these days, according to a new survey that shows 87% of drivers engaged in “risky behavior” behind the wheel in the last 30 days.

With all of the reports about texting while driving, eating during a commute and other distractions, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report isn’t all that surprising; however, it’s not limited to distracted driving. It includes impaired or drowsy driving, speeding, running red lights and not wearing seat belts.

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As is often the case, the cause of an auto accident – and subsequent injuries or deaths – is often avoidable if the driver focuses on the task at hand. (more…)

Nissan Unveils Trio of High-Tech Safety Systems

Technology designed to “predict” and “suppress” collisions.

by on Oct.14, 2011

Nissan reveals an advanced system that can warn of a collision a driver can't even see yet.

Nissan has unveiled a trio of new high-tech safety systems that are designed to help prevent collisions or, where that’s not possible, reduce the chance of injuries and fatalities.

The maker’s move is part of a general trend in the market that has been led as much by the industry as by government regulators and reflects the growing consumer demand for safer vehicles.

While basic improvements in vehicle design have helped improve automotive safety many of the latest advances rely on onboard digital technologies that can monitor the area around a vehicle and, if necessary, respond even faster than a human driver.

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That, in fact, is the key to Nissan’s new Acceleration Suppression for Pedal Misapplication technology, which can prevent a driver from inadvertently stepping on the throttle when that might lead to an accident.  The system relies on the multi-camera system now used by the maker’s Around View Monitor, which provides a seemingly birds-eye image of the terrain immediately surrounding the vehicle.


New Rules Will Require Quiet Battery Cars to Make More Noise

Automakers agree to proposal.

by on May.19, 2010

This Smart Brabus fortwo concept can be made to sound like a V8 or Jetsons-mobile.

Press the Start button on the Toyota Prius and you’re greeted with silence.  If you don’t notice the flashing lights on the instrument panel you might not even realize the hybrid is running until you shift into gear, and even then, about the only thing you’ll notice as you creep forward is the crunch of rubber on the road.

While many drivers like how quiet Prius and other battery-based vehicles operate when in electric vehicle mode, that very silence worries safety advocates, including the National Federation of the Blind.  The problem is that for pedestrians, near-silent vehicles can creep up and take you by deadly surprise.

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That’s led federal safety regulators to put together new rules that, if passed, would give the industry 18 months to set minimum vehicle sound levels.  In turn, the carmakers would have three years to phase in new methods to meet the rules.

How loud a car would need be is unclear, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants the “alert sound” to come on automatically.  And don’t expect to be able to download a ring tone.  The rules would require that manufacturers or dealers set the appropriate alert, not the customer.

With pedestrian collisions accounting for as much as 10% of the annual highway fatalities in the U.S., experts take the issue seriously; indeed, the industry has given the proposal its support.

But there have been some quirky proposals as to how to address the issues.  A prototype Brabus Smart fortwo has a switch that allows a driver to opt for either the sound of a revving V8 or sci-fi bleeps and boops may suitable for the fold-up car from the Jetsons cartoon.

The Senate will hold a hearing on the issue before a final version of the proposal goes up for vote.