Archive for the ‘Traffic Fatalities’ Category

Teens Improving Some Areas of Distracted Driving, Studies Reveal

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

by on Apr.18, 2018

Teen drivers are still texting and driving at alarming rates, but those rates are coming down slightly.

If there is a “symbol” for distracted driving, it’s the texting-while-driving teenager barreling down the road. While crashes remain the single largest cause of death for teens, things are improving in some areas.

A recent American Automobile Association poll revealed that 94% of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, while 35% of those polled admitted to still committing the act. That’s an improvement in terms of cutting down on that behavior.

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. Distracted driving is the cause of a quarter of all crashes, but that number jumps to 58% when teenagers are involved. It takes only three seconds for a driver’s attention to be diverted for a crash to occur – an issue that is exacerbated in teens who don’t have years of driving experience. (more…)

Family of Tesla Model X Fatality Hires Law Firm, Plans to Sue

San Franciso-based law firm points to Autopilot as cause of death.

by on Apr.12, 2018

A fatal March crash involving a Tesla Model S in Mountain View, California. Pic courtesy KTVU.

As the investigation into the death of a Model X owner continues, Tesla is taking a familiar stance when it comes to where the fault lies in the collision with a concrete median: the driver.

Walter Huang died in a crash and vehicle fire in a Model X near Mountain View, California, last month. The family hired law firm Minami Tamaki LLP to explore legal options, and the firms said it believes the Autopilot feature in the electric carmaker’s vehicle probably caused his death.

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Tesla notes that according to its readings from the vehicle, Huang did not follow the procedure for using Autopilot. The company said he went longer than six seconds before touching the steering wheel. The system requires drivers to touch the wheel every five seconds. (more…)

Uber CEO Says Autonomous Testing Done Until NTSB Investigation Complete

Company reached a settlement with victim's family.

by on Apr.11, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company wouldn't resume testing its self-driving cars until the NTSB was complete.

Uber is tackling one issue at a time after one of its autonomous test vehicle collided with and killed a pedestrian outside of Phoenix last month, according to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

He said right now the company is cooperating fully with the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the event.

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“Right now our total effort is helping them out and we’ll figure out what we do afterward,” he said, adding that self-driving cars “ultimately will make the world much, much safer.” (more…)

Goodyear Tire Defect Linked to as Many as 95 Motorhome Deaths and Injuries

NHTSA launches probe after judge releases sealed documents.

by on Apr.06, 2018

A motorhome crash that may have been linked to the Goodyear G159 tires.

Defective Goodyear motorhome tires may have led to as many as 95 deaths and injuries, according to a new probe launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The potential problem, which played out over the past two decades, came to light after a Phoenix judge unsealed previously closed settlement agreements. The tires, which were sold between 1996 and 2003, were initially designed for use on delivery trucks, not for vehicles operating at freeway speeds, according to the data.

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“That information — primarily concerning the tire’s design, its testing, the decision to market it for use on motor homes, and the adjustment data generated by consumer experience with it — should be made public because it relates to and reveals a substantial potential risk to public health or safety,” Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah ruled in releasing the information that had been sealed as part of settlements between Goodyear and victims.

(more…)

East Coast Drivers Most Distracted Behind the Wheel

Miami is America's most "distracted" city, new study shows.

by on Apr.03, 2018

East Coast motorists are more likely to engage in distracted driving than those on the West Coast.

Distracted driving is a recognized problem – with nine deaths each day – and it is not limited to texting teens, but includes where are those drivers most likely to be traveling the roads, which appears mostly likely to be somewhere on the East Coast.

A new study shows that East Coast drivers are more likely to engage in some form of distracted driving than those on the West Coast. When broken down by city and state, Miami drivers top the list and New Jersey drivers hold the “state” title.

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Miami drivers were likely to use their phones once every four miles whereas Denver drivers, which finished at the bottom of the list, were likely to use their phones just once ever 6.25 miles. The aforementioned New Jersey drivers used their phones once ever 4.7 miles. Wyoming residents used theirs just once every 7 miles. (more…)

Tesla Recalling Half of All Cars It Has Ever Built

Latest setback affects half of all vehicles company has ever built.

by on Mar.30, 2018

Tesla's Model S has now faced three recalls.

Tesla has announced that it is recalling 123,000 Model S sedans, almost half of all the vehicles it has produced since going into business.

The move, signaled by a letter sent to customers Thursday, was triggered by problems with steering bolts that could cause the failure of the power steering system on vehicles built prior to April 2016.

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This is at least the third instance in which Tesla had to recall a sizable share of its products due to a safety-related problem. Service actions have become more commonplace in recent years as manufacturers have come under pressure to quickly address safety problems. But the new Tesla move is significant both for its size and due to the fact that the automaker has been experiencing a series of setbacks, including the loss of roughly a third of its value in the stock market in recent weeks.

(more…)

Governor Suspends Uber Autonomous Testing in Arizona

Move follows fatal crash and questions about service’s self-driving technology.

by on Mar.27, 2018

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the suspension of Uber's autonomous testing program.

In the wake of a fatal crash earlier this month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has suspended the permit allowing ride-sharing service Uber to test self-driving vehicles on the state’s public roads.

The move comes as state and public regulators try to find out why a Volvo SUV modified by Uber to drive with only a backup “operator” slammed into a 49-year-old pedestrian crossing a four-lane road on the evening of March 18 without even slowing or trying to swerve out of the way. The incident has raised broader concerns about autonomous technology – but also questions Arizona’s relatively laissez faire approach to testing such vehicles on public roads.

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“In the best interests of the people of my state, I have directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend Uber’s ability to test and operate autonomous vehicles on Arizona’s public roadways,” Ducey announced. (more…)

Waymo’s Krafcik Joins Industry Chorus Questioning Uber’s Techonology

Concerns about faulty tech growing inside and out of industry.

by on Mar.26, 2018

Waymo CEO John Krafcik told a crowd at NADA that its autonomous vehicle would have not hit Elaine Herzberg.

A self-driving Uber’s fatal collision with a pedestrian in Arizona is inviting scrutiny and criticism of the company’s technological capabilities from safety advocates, industry experts and the company’s direct competition: Waymo.

“We have a lot of confidence that our technology would be robust and would be able to handle situations like that one,” said Waymo Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik last weekend.

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On March 18, Elaine Herzberg, 49, was struck by Uber’s Volvo XC90 as she walked her bicycle across a four-lane boulevard. The vehicle never attempted to stop or move to avoid her. The vehicle’s safety driver, Rafaela Vasquez, 44, was looking down at the time and didn’t see Herzberg until it was too late to act. (more…)

FCA Settles Lawsuit Over Star Trek Star’s Death

Parents claimed carmaker negligence led to fatal Jeep rollaway.

by on Mar.26, 2018

Actor Anton Yelchin was best known for his role as a young Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek series of movies.

(This story has been updated to note an initial recall notice had been sent to Yelchin prior to the incident that cost his life. He had not yet had the vehicle repaired.)

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reached a settlement with the parents of Anton Yelchin due to the unexpected death of the film star best known for his role as Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek film reboot.

The actor, then 27, died two years ago when his Jeep Grand Cherokee unexpectedly rolled away, crushing him against the gate on his suburban Los Angeles home. The carmaker was just beginning a recall of 1.1 million vehicles due to defective electronics shifters and an initial recall alert, evidence showed had reached Yelchin. But a final notice did not arrive until a week after his death.

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Specific details of the settlement with former Russian figure skaters Victor and Irina Yelchin were not released after the case was settled this week. The case was handled by Los Angeles Superior Court. (more…)

Uber Fatality Investigation Produces More Questions Than Answers

NTSB, NHTSA assisting in accident query.

by on Mar.22, 2018

The Tempe (Arizona) Police Department released the video footage of Uber's collision with a pedestrian.

The video chronicling the fatal accident between an Uber vehicle in autonomous test mode and a woman crossing a street with her bike has opened up a Pandora’s Box of questions for the ride-sharing giant and other companies looking to develop self-driving vehicles.

The first is, of course, how did the system not recognize her and take action to avoid the problem? The vehicle’s system had plenty of time to take action, but did nothing, eventually running over Elaine Herzberg, as she walked her bike across four lanes of traffic at night in Tempe, Arizona.

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“The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones,” Uber said in a statement. “Our cars remain grounded, and we’re assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can.” (more…)

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