Archive for the ‘Traffic Fatalities’ Category

High-Tech Safety Gear Preventing Crashes – But Raising Insurance Rates

Replacement parts drive up repair costs when there is a crash.

by on Jan.23, 2018

While advanced safety gear may prevent accidents it can run up repair costs when a crash occurs.

New advanced driver assistance systems like blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning have been shown to reduce accidents and prevent injuries and fatalities. So, why are motorists getting hammered by rate hikes, rather than getting discounts when they buy cars equipped with the new technologies?

The problem, according to industry experts, is that once a vehicle actually is involved in a crash replacing something as seemingly basic as a mirror can be far more costly than motorists might expect because of the sensors all those new safety systems require.

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And forget trying to make repairs yourself. Where do-it-yourselfers might once have replaced a broken sideview mirror or even a bumper on their own, the sensors now integrated into those parts need to be carefully calibrated to ensure they work properly.

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Safety Groups Join Forces, Push for Traffic Safety Reforms

Groups rallying around 16 optimal laws that should be in place across U.S.

by on Jan.22, 2018

KidsAndCars.org President and Founder Janette Fennell pushed for the changes outlined in the SafeRoads.org report.

Rhode Island and South Dakota are the best and worst states, respectively, for driver safety in the U.S., according to a new report out by Advocates for Highway Safety.

The group’s annual report, the 2018 Roadmap for Highway Safety, gives each state a ranking based on what the safety advocacy group considers 16 fundamental traffic safety laws to ensure roadway safety. Rhode Island employs 13 of the 16 while South Dakota just two.

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“Advocates has spent decades fighting for vehicle safety technology and we too believe driverless cars have the potential to one day make our roads a dramatically safer place,” said Advocates’ President Cathy Chase, during a press conference earlier today. (more…)

Government Panel Wants Lower Drunk Driving Threshold

Drunk driving deaths “entirely preventable.”

by on Jan.19, 2018

There is a movement underway to lower the legal blood-alcohol content limit for drunk driving to 0.05.

You might have to skip that extra beer or third glass of wine, at least if you’re planning to then get behind the wheel of a car. A new government report recommends states significantly lower the level of alcohol in the blood that would be considered driving under the influence of alcohol.

In recent decades, a crackdown on drunk driving has had a significant impact, but an estimated 10,000 people a year still die in alcohol-related accidents and the figure has begun creeping back up, warned the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The worst part, a panel added, is that those deaths are “entirely preventable.”

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In the U.S., all states now count a blood alcohol level of 0.08% as driving under the influence. By comparison, the figure has dropped to 0.05% in much of Europe and as little as 0.02% in Norway and Sweden. The National Academies panel wants to see all U.S. states drop to 0.05%, the same figure went into effect in Utah Dec. 30. (more…)

Safety Titan Claybrook Wants to Rein in Autonomous Vehicles

Former NHTSA leader says self-driving cars have too many shortcomings.

by on Jan.17, 2018

Joan Claybrook (left) during a panel discussion in Detroit said she doesn't trust autonomous vehicles and they should be tightly regulated.

Self-driving cars are not yet roadworthy and could pose a lethal threat to motorists unless they are carefully regulated said Joan Claybrook, the former chief of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and longtime critic of the auto industry’s safety record.

“The excitement around autonomous cars is very interesting, we have had massive problems with failures in the auto industry with airbags and with the GM ignition switch and they have killed people,” Claybrook said during a panel discussion on Autonomous Vehicles and regulation held as part of Automobili-D sponsored by Politico and held in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show.

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In addition, for a long time to come what NHTSA has deemed as Level 3 autonomous vehicles that can cruise on auto pilot under certain circumstances but require driver intervention in an emergency situation, will mix with conventional vehicles on streets and highways. (more…)

China Seeks to Add AI to 50% of Vehicles by 2020

Government looking to become world leader in AI development and use.

by on Jan.05, 2018

The pollution in China has gotten so bad due, in part, to scenes like this. The government is implementing plans to cut it down.

China continues to set the pace when it comes to implementing new technology. The National Development and Reform Commission, or NDRC, wants to implement artificial intelligence technology in at least half of all its new cars by 2020.

The government also plans to cover 90% of its large cities and highways with a wireless network so the cars can talk to each other and the roads, according to the government agency.

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These actions are part of a comprehensive national smart car strategy the NDRC is seeking public back for, it said in a statement. It’s part of the country’s plan to be the world leader in AI by 2025, with the goal of China’s automakers being seen as producing quality smart cars by 2035. (more…)

General Motors Catches Break in New Ignition Ruling

Judge says expert testimony cannot be used.

by on Dec.28, 2017

GM caught a break in a new ruling about litigation related to its faulty ignition switches.

General Motors Co. may have just gotten a significant break related to private lawsuits filed about its faulty ignition switches on thousands of its small vehicles courtesy of a new ruling from the district court judge handling the lawsuits.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan said the plaintiffs in two bellwether cases, according to Reuters, where airbags deployed may not use expert testimony corroborating a theory how the defective switches were involved in crashes.

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Some of the lawsuits allege that the switches, which account for 124 deaths and hundreds of injuries, could have moved from the “run” position to the “accessory” position and then back to “run” allowing the airbags to deploy, but too late to be effective. (more…)

Faulty Takata Airbag Claims 20th Victim

Louisiana death highlights new problem: salvaged airbags.

by on Dec.21, 2017

Now 20 people are known to have died due to faulty Takata airbag inflators.

The number of deaths worldwide associated with Takata’s faulty airbags has risen to 20 after a fatality was reported in an accident in Louisiana in July.

Honda and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed that a Takata airbag inflator explosion was to blame for a fatality in a July 10 crash in Baton Rouge, the company said. Additionally, the incident has brought to light a new problem: salvaged airbags.

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Unsurprisingly, the 2004 Honda Civic never received the required recall repair, but the ruptured Takata inflator discovered by investigators wasn’t the original inflator in the bag: it was one from different vehicle. (more…)