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New Bill Ties Collision Avoidance to Crash Ratings

NHTSA’s five-star rating would be tied to technology.

by on Jun.11, 2015

Sen. Ed Markey and several other politicians introduced a new bill requiring NHTSA include active safety technology be included in its safety ratings.

A proposed bill would force federal automotive safety regulators to consider the presence of collision avoidance technology when determining safety ratings on new vehicles.

The legislation proposed by U.S. Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., and U.S. Reps. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., comes as the National Transportation Safety Board called once again for collision avoidance technology to be standard equipment on new vehicles.

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The Safety Through Informed Consumers Act, if passed, it would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to integrate “active safety technology” into its five-star crashworthiness ratings. (more…)

IIHS Questions Need for Cellphone Ban

Existing laws haven’t cut crashes.

by on Dec.20, 2011

Though it agrees distracted driving is a major problem, a key insurance industry group questions the need for a blanket ban on all in-car technologies.

Not everyone believes that a wholesale ban on using cellphones – along with other electronic devices – would make driving safer.

In fact, existing laws that already restrict the use of handheld phones have had no impact on reducing distracted driving crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which questions the value of a recent proposal by the National Transportation Safety Board to take existing laws to a new level.  After studying a series of major incidents linked to distracted driving, the NTSB this month recommended sweeping new rules that would effectively bar drivers from using most electronic devices.

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But speaking with CNN, Russ Rader, a spokesman for the IIHS, cautioned that “distracted driving is much bigger than just phones,” adding that, “”focusing on phones doesn’t deal with the full spectrum of things that distract.”


NTSB Wants to Ban Use of All Electronic Devices While Driving

Over 3,000 died in 2010 due to distracted driving.

by on Dec.14, 2011

Texting was blamed for this August 2010 crash that killed two.

The National Transportation Safety Board wants to ban the use of all electronic devices while driving. That includes not only handheld phones and texting, but even the use of hands-free phones, Internet-connected devices and other high-tech systems.

The recommendation – which does not in itself carry the weight of law – comes days after another federal agency revealed that roughly one of every 11 Americans killed in traffic accidents in 2010 died due to distracted driving.

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“It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life.”


Driverless Audi Results in Four Pikes Peak Injuries

Helicopter filming PR stunt crashes. Pilot in critical condition.

by on Sep.17, 2010

The aerial hazards of making an Audi TT commercial resulted in one serious injury.

A helicopter tracking a driverless Audi TT on a Pikes Peak run crashed this morning, critically injuring the pilot and causing non life-threatening injuries to three other airborne passengers. The Audi escaped unscathed.

The crash happened close to the top of the 14,110 foot peak south of Denver Colorado and indefinitely shut down a tourist rail link to the summit.

Presumably the accident was caused by either equipment failure or pilot error based on my experience after decades of reading aviation accident reports. However, that won’t be known until the National Transportation Safety Board releases a preliminary or final accident report, which given the work practices of U.S. Government agencies will be months or much longer in the making.


It was at earlier Pikes Peak Hill Climbs, of course, that Audi demonstrated its four-wheel-drive prowess a generation ago. Audi rally cars, starting with the S1 quattro (sic), used the all-wheel-drive technology to win the 12.42-mile “Race to the Clouds.” The drivers of those quattro rally cars – Bobby Unser, Walter Roehrl and Michele Mouton – earned places in motorsports history at Pikes Peak.