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Posts Tagged ‘auto safety’

Ten Automakers Sued Over Deadly Keyless Ignition Risks

Suit claims 13 deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

by on Aug.27, 2015

The Ford Flex is one of a growing number of vehicles to use keyless ignition systems.

A lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Los Angeles naming 10 of the world’s largest automakers as defendants in a suit alleging 13 deaths were caused by faulty keyless ignition systems.

The complaint claims that the systems allow motorists to walk away thinking the vehicles have been shut off but actually can continue running, producing deadly carbon monoxide gas. The suit alleges that the 10 automakers have known about the problem but hid it from consumers and continued to market the keyless ignition systems.

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“The automakers had actual knowledge of the dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning consequences of vehicles with keyless fobs that lack an automatic shut-off,” the lawsuit stated.

The federal lawsuit names as defendants General Motors, Ford Motor Co. Fiat Chrysler, Mercedes Benz, Honda, BMW, Hyundai Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen, as well as some of their subsidiary brands.

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Automakers Rapidly Expand Availability of Forward Crash Prevention Systems

Technology boosts safety ratings, says Insurance Institute.

by on Aug.26, 2015

Ford workers prepare a mannequin for testing the maker's new pedestrian alert system.

Once available only on a handful of the most expensive luxury models, a growing number of vehicles, including mainstream and even economy models, now offer forward crash warning systems. That means better protection for passengers and improved safety ratings for manufacturers.

For the first time ever, more than half of all new cars, trucks and crossovers offer standard or optional forward crash warning systems, according to a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. And a quarter of all new vehicles take things a step further with warning systems that can automatically apply the brakes, if necessary.

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There’s growing evidence the technology is helping reduce highway crashes, injuries, and possibly fatalities.

As part of its ongoing series of tests, the IIHS is awarding 19 new models its superior or advanced ratings due to the addition of forward crash warning technology.

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Consumers Increasingly Frustrated, Dissatisfied by Recalls

Satisfaction levels falls to lowest level in over a decade.

by on Aug.25, 2015

More and more Americans are finding automotive recall notices in their mailboxes.

Have you received a recall for your car, truck or crossover? Maybe several? If so, chances are you’re growing frustrated and dissatisfied as a result.

A new study finds that, despite an overall increase in quality, the epidemic of recalls that reached an all-time record of 64 million vehicles last year has left Americans less happy with the cars and trucks they drive than at any time in more than a decade. And with the spate of new recalls showing little sign of slowing, the situation isn’t likely to improve anytime soon.

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“While it is true that all cars are now much better than they were 10 to 20 years ago, it is alarming that so many of them have quality problems,” said Claes Fornell, chairman and found of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index.

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Rental Car Act Named for Two Sisters Killed in Crash Passes Senate

House delays vote until after recess.

by on Jul.31, 2015

The Houck sisters were killed instantly when their vehicle spun out of control and hit a truck head-on.

With Washington lawmakers set to go home for their summer recess, family and friends of two sisters killed in a 2004 rental car crash received at least one bit of good news.

The Senate passed a 6-year highway bill on Thursday that includes the terms of the long-delayed Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act. The House won’t deal with the measure until lawmakers return to the capital in September. But if they also approve the measure it would ensure that rental car companies can no longer keep cars in operation that are subject to recall until the necessary fixes are made.

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The two California sisters were killed in a crash of a Chrysler PT Cruiser they’d gotten from Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Initially, the company attempted to blame 24-year-old Raechel, who was driving, going so far as to say she might have been “suicidal or on drugs.” But a jury later disagreed,

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Hidden Killers? What Happens When Airbags Age?

Federal regulators worried that safety systems could fail -- or worse -- on older vehicles.

by on Jul.21, 2015

A Takata airbag after a crash. The supplier hasn't been able to pinpoint the problem causing the airbags to explode.

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They’ve been called one of the most important safety technologies ever developed, but there’s growing concern that as airbags age they could become a major threat to the safety of millions of American motorists.

Nearly a dozen different automakers have so far recalled more than 40 million vehicles around the world due to faulty airbags produced by Japan’s Takata Corp. that have been blamed for at least eight deaths and 100s of injuries. But as NHTSA launches an investigation into the supplemental restraint system provided by a second supplier, the nation’s top automotive safety regulator told TheDetroitBureau.com that he’s worried the problem could be far more widespread.

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“Cars are lasting on the road a lot longer than ever before,” said Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during a visit to Detroit. “Is aging now an issue? That’s part of the investigation going on.”

And it’s taking on increased urgency as automotive regulators, safety advocates and industry officials begin to question whether a technology designed to save lives can, over time, become a threat to life and limb.

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Feds Aim for “More Muscular” Auto Safety Oversight – and Congress Ready to Help

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle ready to act.

by on Jul.10, 2015

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx may get some help from Congress for a "much more muscular" effort to regulate automotive safety.

After a year of record recalls and a number of well-publicized fatalities, federal regulators and lawmakers alike apparently are ready to commit to what the head of the U.S. Department of Transportation is calling “much more muscular” enforcement.

And in a politically polarized Washington getting ready for a long presidential campaign, the issue of auto safety is spurring some unusual agreement across the aisle. That said, proposals from the Democratic and Republican camps appear to be taking very different approaches to solving the problem.

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Calling for “much more muscular” enforcement, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx this week said that under new leadership, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is “going to be pretty rigorous,” emphasizing that “If companies fall short, they are going to hear from us.”

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GM Recalling Nearly 700k Utility Vehicles Because Liftgates Could Fail

News caps a week of safety-related problems.

by on Jul.10, 2015

The Enclave's curves are different than any other SUV on the market.

The 2012 Buick Enclave is one of the various GM crossovers covered by the liftgate recall.

Capping a week that already has seen some massive recalls, General Motors has announced a new service action covering 686,000 midsize crossover-utility vehicles because their rear liftgates could fail.

The latest recall by GM – which has taken major heat for safety problems over the last 18 months – covers Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia CUVs sold during the 2008 through 2012 model-year, 2009 through 2012 model-year Chevrolet Traverses and 2007 through 2010 model-year Saturn Outlooks.

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According to a report posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, the affected vehicles are equipped with power liftgates whose gas struts may prematurely wear out. If that happens, the hatches could suddenly and unexpectedly fall.

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Honda Adds Another 4.5 Mil Takata Airbags to Recall List

Further recalls could be possible.

by on Jul.09, 2015

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the automaker won't financially assist Takata.

Already having recalled more vehicles for defective Takata airbags than any other manufacturer, Honda Motor Co. is adding another 4.5 million vehicles to its global tally, it announced today.

More than a third of those vehicles were sold in Japan, according to Honda, which noted that none of the affected vehicles are in North America. Until recently, the U.S. and Canada constituted the bulk of the recalls involving Takata airbags, but the latest announcement from Honda suggests the problem is much more widespread.

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The latest recall appears to bring the total number of vehicles impacted by faulty Takata airbags to more than 40 million worldwide. At least eight deaths have been directly linked to the problem, all in Honda vehicles. So far, all but one occurred in the U.S. But it remains to be seen if more fatalities will be added to the list as manufacturers expand the scope of their recalls abroad.

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Potentially Faulty Truck Hitch Could Be Cause of Deadly Crash

Did federal safety investigators miss defect?

by on Jul.01, 2015

One of two pickup trucks struck by a runaway trailer in Batavia, OH, in January 2014.

Already under fire for failing to catch a series of deadly defects – including the flawed General Motors ignition switch blamed for over 100 deaths – federal regulators may have missed yet another fatal flaw.

This one involves a potentially defective hitch used on as many as 6,000 semi-trucks plying U.S. highways. Produced by an Alabama supplier, the part has been linked to a case involving a runaway trailer that killed two people on a snowy highway in Batavia, Ohio early last year.

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Though the manufacturer had issued several service bulletins, and users had filed several complaints – at least one involving a crash – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declined to open a formal investigation until last month.

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Amidst Safety Crackdown, NHTSA Comes Under Fire

“Significant safety concerns (are) being overlooked.”

by on Jun.22, 2015

Mark Rosekind, NHTSA's new administrator, will testify before a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

In the wake of a series of fatal safety problems, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has promised to crack down on the auto industry. But NHTSA itself is expected to come under fire for its own lapses.

Published reports indicate the agency charged with regulating automotive safety fell short in a variety of ways in recent years, among other things failing to uncover the ignition switch problem at General Motors that led to more than 110 deaths.

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“Collectively, these weaknesses have resulted in significant safety concerns being overlooked,” says a harsh, 42-page report by the Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General, which is expected to be published on Friday.

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