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Posts Tagged ‘auto safety’

Airbag Control Module Defect Forcing Seven Makers to Recall 5 Mil Vehicles

Problem could prevent airbag deployment in crash – or trigger inflation accidentally.

by on Feb.04, 2016

The 2008 Honda Accord is one of the vehicles affected by a recall due to faulty airbag controllers.

A total of 5 million vehicles will be recalled due to a defective airbag control module that could accidentally trigger one of the devices – or prevent an airbag from deploying in the event of a crash.

The announcement by German supplier Continental comes less than a day after one of its customers, Honda Motor Co., issued a recall covering 341,000 Accord sedans. Separately, the Japanese maker also announced it was recalling 2.23 million Honda and Acura vehicles due to faulty Takata airbags.

Safety News!

Widely hailed as one of the most significant safety devices since the introduction of the seatbelt, airbags have become the source of some of the biggest recalls in recent years. The Takata problem alone is now affecting more than 20 million vehicles in the U.S.

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New, Active Safety Tech Reducing Rear-End Crashes by As Much as 40%

New study finds “significant” benefits from auto-braking and collision warning technology.

by on Jan.28, 2016

An illustration by Mercedes shows how radar-based Emergency Auto Braking works.

New active safety systems, such as forward collision warning and emergency auto-braking, are having a major impact on the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities, according to police reports from the U.S.

According to a deep dive conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, automatic braking systems yield a 40% reduction in rear-end crashes, while collision warning systems alone have cut the collision rate by 23%. The IIHS study estimates that if all vehicles on the road were equipped with these technologies, that would have prevented about 700,000 police-reported rear-end crashes in 2013.

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“The success of front crash prevention represents a big step toward safer roads,” says David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer. “As this technology becomes more widespread, we can expect to see noticeably fewer rear-end crashes. The same goes for the whiplash injuries that often result from these crashes and can cause a lot of pain and lost productivity.”

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Automotive Recalls Hit New Record in 2015

Surge reflects large-scale issues like Takata airbag problem, crackdown by feds.

by on Jan.22, 2016

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind wants more "vigilance in looking for defects."

Automotive recalls hit an all-time high of 51.2 million in 2015, the second record year in a row that has happened, driven in part by the massive problems with faulty Takata airbags.

The announcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at this week’s Washington Auto Show comes at a time when automakers and automotive suppliers are being driven to be more proactive in addressing problems, federal regulators showing far less tolerance and levying far larger fines than ever before for safety lapses.

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“Part of what has happened is a vigilance in looking for defects,” said Mark Rosekind, the NHTSA Administrator behind the crackdown, adding that, “getting them addressed, has been effective.”

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NHTSA Investigating Ford Focus Door Latches

Could impact as many as 400,000 vehicles.

by on Jan.20, 2016

NHTSA is investing complaints about ineffective door latches on 2012 and 2013 Ford Focus models.

U.S. safety regulators announced they’re looking into complaints about Ford Focus compacts with doors that do not latch properly. The problem affects as many as 400,000 vehicles built for the 2012 and 2013 model years.

There have been 73 complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including one instance in Texas where the driver’s side door flew open while driving.

Safety News!

“This is an extreme safety hazard, and it is just a matter of time until someone falls out of a moving vehicle and is killed or injured,” the person wrote in the complaint filed with the agency, adding that he called the automaker and was told that it is aware of a large number of failures but would not do a recall. (more…)

Feds, 18 Automakers Agree to Form Broad Consortium to Improve Auto Safety

First joint project to focus on cyber-security; concept modeled after successful aerospace effort.

by on Jan.15, 2016

U.S. Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx, surrounded by industry leaders, at the news conference.

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In an unprecedented move, 18 global automakers have agreed to form a broad consortium aimed at not only developing advanced safety technology but also bringing it to a broad a range of consumers as quickly as possible.

The concept was modeled after a similar and successful program developed by the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration to work with aerospace manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus.

The Last Word!

The first of what could become a wide range of projects is already underway, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned. The members of the new consortium agreed earlier this month to pool resources in an effort to thwart the threat of hackers. Cyber-security is considered a critical issue as the industry adds more digital technology to vehicles and works towards a collective goal of putting autonomous vehicles on the road.

The new safety consortium is a “strong start,” and a “new approach,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, surrounded by senior executives from all 18 automakers.

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Transpo Sec. Fox Set to Announce “Historic” Autonomous Vehicle News

Setting the stage for rapid change.

by on Jan.14, 2016

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox is planning to announce what is being described by his office as “new actions on vehicle automation,” though a senior member of his department has also hinted that it will be part of a “potentially history-making” series of steps in terms of improving highway safety.

With the support of both the auto industry, as well as many state and regional regulators, Fox is expected to announce that the Department of Transportation will take steps to make it easier for the industry to develop, test and eventually bring to market a new generation of semi- and fully autonomous vehicles. The ultimate goal is to sharply reduce the number of deaths on U.S. highways.

Insight!

It’s one of three announcements set to come from Washington in a matter of weeks designed to spur innovation and improve safety, Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said this week, noting that, “These actions going forward (will) change the nature of the auto industry.”

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Safety Remain Big Issue as 2015 Draws to Close with Flurry of Recalls

Total likely to near new record.

by on Dec.28, 2015

Faulty Takata airbags were a major reason why recall numbers have run so high this year.

From Ferrari to Subaru, the auto industry is ending 2015 with a flurry of safety-related recalls, more than 1 million in the last week alone.

Final figures for 2015 haven’t been released yet, but they’re expected to come in as a close second to the record 64 million vehicles recalled in the U.S. in 2014. And they cover a wide variety of issues and an even wider range of vehicles from faulty transmissions to fire hazards and exploding airbags.

SafetNews!

The huge number of recalls over the last two years is not a surprise to Joan Claybrook, a former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The companies are more likely to behave and do a recall when they know the law is going to be enforced.”

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NHTSA Ready to Slap FCA with $70 Mil Fine

The penalty is the second for FCA in the last six months.

by on Dec.10, 2015

NHTSA is expected to fine Fiat Chrysler $70 million for the maker's failure to report safety-related information.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to announce, as early as today, that Fiat Chrysler has agreed to a $70 million fine related to its failure to disclose vehicle crash death and injury reports.

The fine is the second large payout the automaker has agreed to in the last six months related to lax safety reporting and enforcement procedures. In July, FCA agreed to a $105 million settlement related to charges about it handled about two dozen recalls that impacted 11 million vehicles.

Auto Safety News!

The latest fine, according to a Reuters report, is because FCA failed to disclose an unspecified number of reports that are required to be submitted to regulators under a 2000 law. Automakers are required to submit a variety of data involving vehicle crashes, deaths, warranty claims, lawsuits, among other information. FCA failed to meet the threshold for the rules. In September, NHTSA described the automaker’s omissions a “significant failure.” (more…)

GM: Ignition Switch Victim Fund Paid Out Nearly $600 Mi

Total cost for scandal now tops $2 bil.

by on Dec.10, 2015

A replacement for the faulty GM ignition switches.

An independent victims’ fund set up by General Motors paid out nearly $600 million to settle 399 claims related to a faulty ignition switch, bringing to more than $2 billion the total amount of money the maker has spent as a result of a defect linked to more than 100 deaths.

The announcement came Thursday as the special fund began wrapping up operations. It had been set up on orders from Mary Barra, the then-new GM CEO, last year as part of a broader response to the maker’s extensive safety problems. GM has also had to pay out $900 million to settle a Justice Department criminal probe, and millions more in fines levied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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But GM’s troubles are far from over. Not all of those offered settlements from the victims’ fund accepted, and they are among a number of others still set to have their day in court, with a series of trials set to begin in U.S. District Court in New York next month.

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New Cross Traffic Alert Systems Often Fail, Warns AAA

by on Dec.10, 2015

An illustration shows how a cross-traffic alert system works, by spotting oncoming traffic.

A major new safety technology frequently fails to work as promised, according to a new study by the AAA, leading to parking lot crashes and injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The problem is complicated by the fact that more than three quarters of U.S. drivers “park incorrectly,” the road service and safety organization reported. That further enhances the risk of accidents in parking lots, according to the AAA study.

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“Recognizing that American parking habits differ from much of the world, automakers are increasingly adding technology to vehicles that is designed to address rear visibility concerns,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “However, AAA’s testing of these systems reveals significant shortcomings when used in real-world conditions and Americans should rely more on driving skills than technology.”

The root of the problem is the way Americans typically park in shopping center and mall lots, 76% pulling forward, rather than backing into spots. That practice leaves pedestrians and bicyclists more vulnerable, while increasing the risk of a driver backing out into traffic.

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