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Posts Tagged ‘auto safety’

Chrysler Expands Takata Recall as 10 Automakers Begin Airbag Probe

Will replacement airbags face a similar problem?

by on Dec.12, 2014

The 2005 Chrysler 300C is included in the latest expansion of Chrysler's airbag recall.

Chrysler is the latest automaker to expand its recall of vehicles equipped with potentially defective airbags provided by the embattled Japanese supplier Takata.

The announcement came hours after the Detroit automaker met with a group of nine rivals in an effort to understand the problems with the airbag systems that have so far been linked to at least five deaths and 46 injuries in the U.S. alone.

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Chrysler will boost its recall of Takata-equipped vehicles by 208,783. It’s the second time in a week that the smallest of the Detroit makers expanded its effort to deal with the airbag problem. Chrysler now has recalled 617,000 vehicles with the suspect Takata safety systems. But the figure jumps to nearly 11 million when other manufacturers are factored in.

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New NHTSA Nominee Promises to Speed Up Safety Recalls

Agency needs to be industry “enforcer.”

by on Dec.04, 2014

Mark Rosekind, nominee for NHTSA Administrator.

(This story has been revised to correct the name of former NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.)

Call him “the enforcer.” Mark Rosekind, the nominee to take over as the new administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, says he’ll be getting tough when it comes to recalls and other auto industry safety lapses.

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That appeared to be precisely what members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee wanted to hear as they held a hearing on Rosekind’s appointment by President Obama. Over the last 11 months, since David Strickland left his post as NHTSA chief, the agency has come under intense fire for its handling of a series of safety issues, including the current Takata airbag recall crisis.

“I’ve been concerned with the slowness across all of the agency’s recalls,” Rosekind told the committee, adding that “NHTSA needs to be the enforcer.”

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Recalls Aside, Automobiles Becoming Safer than Ever

An era of zero fatalities may be within reach.

by on Dec.03, 2014

Volvo's new AstaZero safety proving grounds. The maker wants to see zero deaths in its vehicles.

With a record 54 million vehicles facing recall — and nearly another month to go before the books are closed on 2014 — it’s no surprise American automakers and auto buyers alike have been focused on safety this year.

But despite all the lapses that have seen dozens of deaths from faulty airbags and flawed ignition switches, there’s another side to the story: cars are safer than ever. U.S. highway fatalities are now about 40 percent down from their 1970s peak, even though there are more cars on the road logging more mileage.

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“I don’t think we’ve ever seen vehicle safety reach this level before,” contends Raj Nair, global product development director for Ford Motor Co.

The latest vehicles are not only better-equipped to survive crashes but also to avoid them altogether. That’s led several automakers, including both Nissan and Volvo, to declare that they hope to see no deaths occur in the new vehicles they bring to market by the beginning of the next decade.

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NHTSA Debates How Far to Expand Takata Airbag Recall

Agency still wants nationwide recall for faulty driver’s side bags, but hedging on passenger-side airbags.

by on Dec.02, 2014

A Takata airbag after a crash.

(This story has been updated.)

Already under fire for its handling of several recent major safety issues, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to debate how far to expand the recall of vehicles equipped with potentially faulty airbags produced by Japanese supplier Takata Corp.

With NHTSA officials set to testify before Congress on Wednesday, the agency confirmed it is still seeking a nationwide recall of driver-side airbags, but that it is not yet calling for a similar action for passenger-side airbags. The safety agency was sharply criticized following its initial decision in October to order a recall of 7.8 million vehicles in areas with high humidity where the risk of airbag failures was considered most serious.

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The big question is whether Takata will accept NHTSA’s midnight deadline and agree to go along with the expanded driver’s side airbag recall before tomorrow’s Capitol Hill hearing.

Takata Chairman Shigehisa Takada was expected to announce a decision on Tuesday but failed to reveal the company’s position.

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Rearview Cameras Saving Lives, Says AAA

But some systems are better than others.

by on Oct.29, 2014

Backup cameras are already common - even before the new government mandate takes effect.

Advancing autumn darkness increases concerns about pedestrian safety and one innovation that does help reduce accidents is the back-up camera, according to studies by AAA.

On average, these rear-view systems improved visibility an average of 46%, the travel and safety organization found. That’s a significant improvement, and something that can save 100s of lives a year, which is why federal regulators will beginning mandating the technology a year from now.

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“Rear-view cameras are a great supplement for drivers,” says John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering.

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Nissan Latest to Join Big Recall Club

Altima sedans could see hoods fly open while driving.

by on Oct.10, 2014

Nissan targets the Altima for recall.

In most years, a recall of 220,000 midsize sedans might make major headlines. This year, however, Nissan’s latest safety news could almost be lost in the noise, the auto industry already recalling roughly 40 million vehicles for all matter of problems.

But the Japanese maker is warning that it is looking into the possibility that its problems could be more serious, leading to a possible expansion of today’s announcement.

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The initial news, at least, involves 220,000 Nissan Altima sedans sold in the U.S. during the 2013 model-year because their secondary hood latches could fail. If that happens, the hoods could potentially fly open while the vehicles are in motion.

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Chrysler Recalls 349,000 Vehicles for Ignition Switch Defect

One crash linked to defect.

by on Sep.25, 2014

The 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee, one of the vehicles covered by Chrysler's ignition switch recall.

General Motors isn’t the only automaker facing problems with ignition switches. Chrysler is recalling 349,442 older sedans, wagons and SUVs because of a problem that could inadvertently lead vehicles to shut off while being driven.

The announcement is one of the latest involving faulty ignition switches, though the most notorious case involves 2.6 million small cars produced by GM that were recalled last February and which have since been blamed for at least 21 deaths.

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In the case of Chrysler, the ignition switches may inadvertently slip out of the Run position without a driver’s intervention. In some cases, that will simply shut off accessories such as the windshield wipers. But if the key turns all the way to the Off position, the vehicle’s engine may then shut off, leading to a potential loss of control and possible crash.

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Toyota Teaching Proper Safety Seat Set Up

Buckle Up for Life program increases correct installation rates.

by on Sep.10, 2014

Toyota is working with dozens of hospitals across the country to help parents understand how to properly install child safety seats in cars.

After a decade of efforts to teach parents how to do it right, statistics show that three out of four parents in the United States are still installing child safety seats incorrectly.

Child Passenger Safety Week is a chance to remind drivers of the importance of using seat belts and to become reacquainted with the proper use of child safety and booster seats for children under the age of 12.

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One program, Buckle Up for Life, launched in 2004 by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Toyota, to save children’s lives, is working to change those statistics. (more…)

Swedish Automaker Faces Smallest Recall Ever

Even little Koenigsegg faces safety problems.

by on Sep.08, 2014

The latest version of Koenigsegg Agera, the One:1.

It’s been a record year for automotive safety problems, manufacturers so far recalling more than 40 million vehicles in the U.S. alone, often in seven-figure increments. But the little Swedish automaker Koenigsegg has set something of its own record.

The supercar manufacturer has advised the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it plans to recall just one single vehicle due to a tire problem.

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The good news is that Koenigsegg doesn’t expect to have too much trouble finding the affected owners – make that owner — of the affected Agera, which can cost $1.3 million. The company says they’ve already notified him.

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Toyota Taking Advanced Crash-Avoidance Tech Mainstream

Maker sets target of zero deaths in its new vehicles.

by on Sep.05, 2014

An advanced safety research vehicle using one of Toyota's upscale Lexus models.

With a new industry study set to be released this month showing how the latest high-tech automotive safety features are saving thousands of lives, Toyota Motor Co. plans to become the first automaker to offer key crash-avoidance technologies on all its models by 2017.

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Electronic stability control is already showing tremendous results, according to a study that will be released by the Insurance Institute for Highway safety. The technology is already mandated by the government for all new vehicles sold in the U.S. But even more advanced systems using radar to detect a potential crash and, in some cases, actually stop a vehicle without driver intervention, could save thousands more.

Toyota indicated it will offer some version of pre-collision technology across the board, Seigo Kuzumaki, its chief safety technology officer, declaring, “We are entering an entirely new era of mobility,” during a seminar in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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