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Posts Tagged ‘car safety’

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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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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Men More Likely Than Women to Die in Car Crash

Blame alcohol as much as testosterone.

by on May.28, 2015

Men are more likely to die in a crash, and alcohol is just one of several reasons why.

After years of decline, U.S. highway fatalities have taken a jump in recent months, and that could be particularly bad news for men. Whether you blame testosterone or alcohol, male motorists are twice as likely to be killed behind the wheel as women, according to federal crash data.

Men tend to have more severe crashes than women, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports. But in comparable crashes, women are more likely than men to be killed or injured. Separate studies have shown young men are particularly prone to being involved in fatal crashes, and the new NHTSA report indicates that the gap between men and women narrows with age.

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Federal researchers focused on crash data from 2012, a year in which 33,541 Americans were killed on the nation’s roadways. That broke down to 23,808 men and just 9,733 women.

The NHTSA study pointed to a variety of factors that could lie behind this gender gap: (more…)

Ford Targeting Nearly 450,000 Vehicles With Two Separate Recalls

Power steering problems are primary issue.

by on May.27, 2015

One recall covers versions of the new 2015 Ford Mustang equipped with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine.

Ford is targeting nearly 450,000 vehicles as part of a pair of recalls, it announced today.

The primary problem is a flawed power-steering system on a variety of recent sedan and crossover models. But the second problem affects the turbocharged version of the recently redesigned Ford Mustang.

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Ford says the bigger recall involves a problem so far linked to four minor crashes with no injuries. There have been no accidents, fires or injuries involving the Mustang defect.

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New Driver Aid Prevents Accidents

Testing shows errors can be eliminated before they happen.

by on Apr.20, 2015

Researchers have developed technology that monitors a driver's movements and warns them when they are about to make a mistake.

No one has come up with a foolproof system for autonomous driving but driver assistance programs that help motorists control their vehicles are becoming more sophisticated all the time.

Cornell and Stanford University researchers have developed a system that anticipates what a driver is going to do a few seconds before it happens using cameras and a new computer algorithm.

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Some cars are already equipped with safety systems that monitor a car’s movement and warn if there is an unsafe turn or lane change, the researchers noted. But the warning comes too late, after the driver has acted. (more…)

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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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…)

VW Adds 151,000 Vehicles to Year’s Surging Recall Tally

German maker targets stalling Tiguan SUVs.

by on Aug.11, 2014

VW's Tiguan model could suffer unexpected stalling.

This year’s record run-up in safety-related recalls is showing no sign of abatement, Volkswagen the latest to announce a six-figure service action, the German maker targeting 151,000 of its Tiguan SUVs due a stalling problem.

The announcement came just days after General Motors announced yet another batch of recalls covering an assortment of issues including a faulty ignition switch.

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All told, the auto industry has now recalled more than 40 million vehicles since January 1, a more than 30% increase over the previous record of 31.4 million vehicles set during 2004. And industry analysts warn that at the ongoing pace, the numbers could grow substantially before the end of this year.

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