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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.

© 2016

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.

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The first of what could become a wide range of projects is already underway, 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.


Google Wants to Know More About New Auto Industry Safety Consortium

Autonomous vehicle chief Krafcik upbeat about Obama Admin’s new proposals.

by on Jan.14, 2016

This time the government is moving fast, said John Krafcik (l), head of Google's autonomous vehicle program, in Detroit.

The head of Google’s autonomous vehicle program said he wants to learn more about a precedent-setting auto industry consortium that will be announced in Detroit on Friday.

Organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the group will be aimed at bringing new safety technology to market faster than would be possible through the traditional regulatory process while also pushing those breakthroughs on to as broad a consumer market as possible.

Safety News!

“I’d guess I’d want to see more and understand more,” John Krafcik, the CEO of Google’s self-driving car program said in response to a question from He was at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to attend another announcement by NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation. (more…)

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.


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.”


GM, Subaru Add Vehicles to Growing Takata Recall List

Largest recall in US history getting hard numbers.

by on Jun.01, 2015

GM is recalling about 375,000 2007 and 2008 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups to replace the faulty Takata airbags in the trucks.

General Motors and Subaru followed the lead of five other automakers late last week when the pair announced they would be adding vehicles to their existing list of recalled cars equipped with Takata airbags.

The Japanese airbag supplier recently complied with demands from federal safety officials to declare 33.8 million driver- and passenger-side airbags defective in the U.S. The total number globally exceeds 50 million.

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The airbags, which have been tied to six deaths and more than 100 injuries, have inflators that may cause an explosion sending metal shrapnel into the cabin of the vehicle. (more…)

Former Truck Lobbyist to Regulate Truck Safety?

Ferro confirmed as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator just as Court orders a review of increased driver hours.

by on Nov.09, 2009

Fox guarding the chicken coop approach to regulation from the Democrats?

Fox guarding the chicken coop approach to regulation from the Democrats?

It seemed like a victory for safety advocates when the Obama Administration agreed to review the rule that increased the hours truck drivers could be on the road while reducing their rest time.

Critics have contended since 2003 that this Bush Administration regulation increasing driver hours was bad policy that would lead to more accidents and fatalities.

However, when the Senate unanimously confirmed Anne S. Ferro as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator last week, the Administration put a former trucking association executive and lobbyist as the head of truck safety at the Department of Transportation.

It appears that Ferro’s selection goes against President Obama’s decision to limit the ability of lobbyists to enter government as high officials and influence policy from within.

Ferro was president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association during the six years before her appointment. Moreover, the association supported the increase in driver hours.

During Ferro’s Senate confirmation hearing, which featured the usual tough posturing but ultimately agreed to her appointment, she said she would be a “fair and balanced regulator” and use a “data-driven, sound scientific research” to decrease truck and bus crashes.

Ferro now leads FMCSA just as a court order requires it to review its rulemaking on truck driver hours of service – the most controversial issue facing the agency since it pits the profits of big trucking firms against your well-being on the nation’s roads.

There are more than 5,000 fatal truck accidents every year or about 15 people die each day, every day.


EPA Grants California’s Waiver Request for Separate Emissions Standards

Latest defeat for the auto industry could create administrative chaos and severely restrict your new vehicle choices.

by on Jun.30, 2009

EPA Adminstrator Jackson

The Obama appointee claimed the waiver is appropriate and consistent with previous interpretations of the Clean Air Act by EPA.

At least 13 other states and the District of Columbia have said that they intend to follow California in instituting tougher standards than previously called for under federal regulation. Since these areas comprise about 40% of new car sales, it is possible that California legislators and bureaucrats will determine the size and types of cars that you can buy after 2016.

The first California waiver request was made in December 2005 under the Bush Administration and was subsequently denied in March 2008. This previous decision was based on an interpretation of the Clean Air Act finding that California did not have a need for its greenhouse gas emission standards to meet “compelling and extraordinary conditions,” EPA said in a statement defending the reversal of this previous policy ruling.

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Act Now!

“This decision puts the law and science first. After review of the scientific findings, and another comprehensive round of public engagement, I have decided this is the appropriate course under the law,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. The Obama appointee claimed the waiver is consistent with the Clean Air Act as it’s been used for the last 40 years. 

“More importantly, this decision reinforces the historic agreement on nationwide emissions standards developed by a broad coalition of industry, government and environmental stakeholders earlier this year,” she said.

While automakers dependent on government support and others observing the “bully pulpit” that the administration has used to shape the debate on automotive matters have been cowed into public silence, auto dealers, many them small business owners with Republican ties, are more vocal in their opposition.

“EPA’s decision to reverse its 2008 denial of California’s request for a pre-emption waiver is sadly a triumph of politics over good common sense,” said John McEleney, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association. “Moreover, with its action today, the Obama administration has effectively ceded the long-term setting of national fuel economy standards to unelected California regulators,” he added.

Just after taking office in late January, President Barack Obama directed EPA to assess the appropriateness of denying the waiver. EPA received a letter from California on January 21, 2009, raising several issues for Administrator Jackson to review regarding the denial.

Last month, President Obama announced a first-ever national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States. The new standards would cover model years 2012-2016. Cars and light trucks must average 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, about 40% higher than today. Congress in 2007 passed a 35 mpg requirement by 2020. The accelerated time table will add thousands upon thousands of dollars to the cost of a new car critics say.


Rose Garden Ceremony Proclaims New Auto Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Policy

The President demonstrates his powers of persuasion and the collapse of auto industry influence.

by on May.19, 2009

President Obama at a Townhall meeting

In an historic first, the projected reduction of approximately 900 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions sets in motion a policy that says it's America's desire to deal with global warming after decades of denial.

For followers of the auto emissions and fuel economy wars that have been going on for five decades now, the announcement today by President Barack Obama that one “National Fuel Efficiency Policy” is decreed is a clear turning point in America’s growing interest in cleaning the air we all breathe.

It is also a stark demonstration of the growing inability of the auto industry to promote its own narrow self-interests to the detriment of the larger public good.

The proposed National Fuel Efficiency Policy adopts uniform federal standards to regulate both fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions while preserving the legal authorities of the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of California and 13 other States, according to the President.

The fuel efficiency program covers new vehicle model years 2012 to 2016, and ultimately requires an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg in 2016. An estimated 1.8 billion barrels of oil will not be used by vehicles bought over the five-year life of the program — over an unspecified lifetime of each vehicle. The fuel economy gains of more than 5% per year would have once been unthinkable in lobbyist-dominated Washington.

In an historic first, the projected reduction of approximately 900 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions sets in motion a policy that says it’s America’s desire to deal with global warming after decades of refusing to do so. The 35.5 in 2016 is equivalent to taking 177 million cars off the road or shutting down 194 coal plants, according to the Administration.

Subscribe to TheDetroitBureau.comThe key component in this reduction is the increase in the average mileage requirement from new vehicles that leaves as road kill the existing CAFE law passed by Congress and President Bush in 2007. Back then, under heavy auto industry lobbying, the bill only required an average fuel economy of 35 mpg in 2020.

“In the past, an agreement such as this would have been considered impossible,” said President Obama. “That is why this announcement is so important, for it represents not only a change in policy in Washington, but the harbinger of a change in the way business is done in Washington.”  (more…)

President Obama Endorses Tougher National Emissions and Fuel Economy Standards Tomorrow

Automakers lose as Administration imposes the California Greenhouse Gas rule nationally that effectively raises mileage requirements by more than 25% in the short term.

by on May.18, 2009

President Obama with house majority leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD, and house speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CAca

Raising the fuel economy standard for automakers avoids once again a much tougher political choice of raising the price of fuel paid for by voters.

President Obama will announce tomorrow that he is requiring new national standards on auto greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy that will drastically increase the mileage required for new vehicles sold in the U.S.

The White House and the EPA declined to confirm this, but widespread news reports citing people who were briefed on the new plans leave little doubt that the gridlock caused by auto industry lobbyists on imposing higher mileage standards is about to be broken.

Under the new standard, the national fleet mileage rule for cars would be more than 40 miles a gallon in 2016. Light trucks would have to meet a fleet average of slightly than 26 miles a gallon by 2016.

Back in March, the Department of Transportation (DOT) issued new fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks for the 2011 model year. They raised the industry-wide combined average to 27.3 miles per gallon, a 2 mpg increase over the 2010 model year average, as estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is part of DOT and is responsible for fuel economy regulations. The car standard for a 2011 is an average of 30.2 mpg. The 2011 light truck requirements average to about 24.1 mpg    (more…)