Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

Tesla Model S Catches Fire in Florida, Trapped Driver Dies

Driver lost control of vehicle, witnesses claim.

by on Feb.25, 2019

Police investigators examine the scene of a wreck of a Tesla Model S that caught fire, killing the driver who was trapped inside.

Tesla’s biggest controversies lately have been how it will sell Model 3 sedans and if it will remain profitable; however, an old problem resurfaced Sunday — another Model S caught fire, killing the driver, in Davie, Florida.

The 2016 Model S was traveling at a high rate of speed, according to published reports, and the driver lost control sliding across three lanes of traffic before hitting a median and coming to rest after hitting some palm trees. At that point it caught on fire, witnesses reported.

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An officer on the scene attempted to free the driver by breaking the window, but was unable to do so. According to Tesla, when the vehicle’s airbags deploy, the doors unlock, the truck unlocks and the door handles, which retract into the doors, extend. (more…)

The Car Book Offers Up its Best Best for 2019

Toyota leads again in number of top choices.

by on Feb.22, 2019

The Kia Soul was named a Best Bet by The Car Book 2019, an honor it held last year too.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. While that phrase is widely interpreted to mean that change is constant, the auto industry is a different animal sometimes and the latest edition of The Car Book shows why.

The book, which is now in its 39thyear, provides today’s car buyer with our unique crash test ratings, comparative complaint ratings, and all of the information needed to make a smart, safe and informed vehicle purchase.

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Jack Gillis and the Center of Automotive Safety team up to produce the book, which has been helping buyers sort through those thousands of different vehicles and equipment levels to determine the best vehicle for a buyer in any given year. (more…)

Musk Says Tesla to Have Driverless Car Ready This Year

CEO says regulators will determine when vehicle's can be self-driving.

by on Feb.21, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company's vehicles would be able to be run without a driver by the end of this year.

Elon Musk continues to push the narrative that Tesla Inc. will have vehicles ready to operate without a driver by the end of this year.

Tesla’s CEO made the claim during the company’s recent earnings call and repeated it on a podcast hosted by two executives at ARK Invest, which is an investor in Tesla.

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“I think we will be feature complete – full self-driving – this year,” Musk said. “Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year. I would say I am of certain of that. That is not a question mark.” (more…)

New IIHS Tests Show Wide Disparity in Automakers’ Pedestrian Crash Avoidance Tech

BMW system sent dummies “airborne.”

by on Feb.21, 2019

The BMW X1 failed the IIHS pedestrian test, sending the dummy airborne during the exercise.

Pedestrian fatalities have been on a rapid rise in recent years, something some experts blame on the shift to blunt-nosed utility vehicles. Whatever the reason, automakers are under pressure to find ways to reduce the problem.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has launched a study to evaluate and compare the performance of new pedestrian crash avoidance technology and the first pass found wide disparity between the 11 small SUVs put to the test. The majority of the vehicles earned top ratings, but two performed poorly, the BMW X1 sending a crash dummy “airborne” when it failed to come to a stop.

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“We want to encourage manufacturers to include pedestrian detection capabilities as they equip more of their vehicles with automatic emergency braking systems,” said David Aylor, the IIHS manager of Active Safety Testing. “We also want to arm consumers with information about these systems so they can make smart choices when shopping for a new vehicle.” (more…)

Honda Recalls 106K Ridgeline Trucks

Faulty fuel lines may crack and cause a fire.

by on Feb.20, 2019

Honda recalled more than 106,000 Ridgelines due to a fuel pump problem.

Owners of dirty Honda Ridgelines are being told to not wash their trucks as part of a recall of more than 100,000 2017-2019 model year trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall for 106,683 of the vehicles because they could catch fire after being washed. The acid from car wash soaps could cause the line in the fuel pump to crack.

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If fuel leaks from the line, that significantly increases the odds the truck will catch fire. The problem was uncovered in January, but the recall won’t begin until March 7. (more…)

Ford Hit by $151.8 Million Verdict by Alabama Jury

Verdict awarded in injury trial of Alabama man riding 1998 Explorer.

by on Feb.18, 2019

An Alabama man was award $151.8 million in damages after the 1998 Ford Explorer he was riding in rolled over twice, leaving him paralyzed.

A Selma, Alabama, man left paralyzed as a result of a 2015 rollover accident in a 1998 Ford Explorer was awarded $151.8 million in damages by an Alabama jury.

The jury awarded Travaris Smith $100 million in punitive damages and $51.8 million in compensatory damages after finding on Friday that the 1998 Ford Explorer did not meet Ford’s own safety guidelines and that Ford “acted wantonly” in designing the vehicle, according to a court document seen by Reuters and Smith’s lawyers.

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Smith was riding in the SUV when its driver swerved to avoid an animal and the vehicle rolled over twice, attorneys at law firms Beasley Allen and Gamble, Gamble, Calame and Jones said in a statement. He snapped his spine and is now paralyzed. (more…)

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Partnering With Google

Move marks beginning of post-Ghosn era.

by on Feb.18, 2019

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is making plans with Waymo to find ways to exploit the ever-changing mobility world.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which is preparing to hang together in the post-Ghosn era, plans to join Google’s camp for developing autonomous taxis and other services using self-driving vehicles.

The automakers intend to work with Waymo, a Google spinoff that is among the leaders in technology for self-driving cars. The companies are in the final phase of talks, and plan to announce the arrangement as early as spring, according to a Japanese news service.

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The partnership would unite a car alliance whose global sales totaled 10.8 million automobiles in 2018 with a developer whose self-driving vehicles have traveled more than 10 million miles on U.S. public roads as of October. Waymo has forged similar deals with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover, but the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance boasts greater scale. (more…)

Honda Recalling 437K Vehicles Due to Fuel Pump Issue

Problem could lead to engine stalling.

by on Feb.14, 2019

The Honda Accord V6 is part of a recall of more than 437K vehicles for a fuel pump problem.

Honda is recalling 437,000 vehicles in the U.S. to fix a fuel-pump issue plaguing six-cylinder engines, causing stalling or limiting acceleration.

According to the automaker, a software update should resolve the problem; however, in some instances the fuel pump will need to be replaced. Sodium particulates can clog up or stick to the pump’s internal components.

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This could, in hot weather, cause the engine to stall or limit the acceleration of the vehicle. The vehicles affected in this action include: 2016-2018 Acura MDXs, 2015-2019 Acura TLX V6s and 2015-2017 Honda Accord V6s. (more…)

Ford Recalling 1.48M F-150 Pickups Due to Transmission Issue

Sometimes the transmission will downshift to first gear unexpectedly.

by on Feb.13, 2019

Ford is recalling 1.48 million F-150 trucks from model years 2011–13 due to a transmission downshift problem.

Ford Motor Co is recalling 1.48 million F-150 pickup trucks because of a transmission issue that could, in certain circumstances, lead to a crash.

The company said that select 2011–13 model year trucks with six-speed automatic transmissions could downshift into first gear without warning. This downshift could cause the axle to lock up, causing the truck to skid and the driver to lose control.

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As of now, there have been five accidents and one injury – whiplash – reported tied to the problem. The recall covers 1.26 million trucks in the U.S. The rest are in Canada. Affected 2011-13 F-150 vehicles were built at Dearborn Assembly Plant, April 28, 2010 to Oct. 28, 2013, and Kansas City Assembly Plant, May 18, 2010 to Nov. 18, 2013. (more…)

Millions More Vehicles with Takata Airbags Yet to Face Recall

Automakers, regulators continue fix slowed by lack of replacement parts.

by on Feb.12, 2019

Takata's faulty airbag inflators have been linked to 24 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Nearly 2 million vehicles have been recalled this month to replace airbag inflators blamed for dozens of deaths around the world, but millions more are expected to be targeted in the U.S. alone by early next year.

The problem was caused by faulty airbags produced by Japanese auto supplier Takata Corp., the inflators potentially failing over time. When that happens, they can inflate too aggressively, sending shrapnel spewing into the passenger compartment. So far, at least 23 people are known to have died due to the defect – most of them in the U.S. – with hundreds more injured.

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The Takata airbag recall is not only the largest safety-related service action in U.S. history, but also the longest-running recall, with the first advisories going out to vehicle owners back in 2001. It took years for industry leaders, regulators and safety experts to agree on the extent of the problem, but it is now dragging out due to a shortage of replacement inflators. (more…)