Posts Tagged ‘auto safety’

GM Agrees to $120m Ignition Switch Scandal Settlement

Money going to 49 states and D.C.

by on Oct.20, 2017

One of the defective GM ignition switch units now blamed for causing at least 124 deaths.

General Motors has agreed to pay out $120 million to settle a lawsuit filed by 49 states and the District of Columbia over its handling of an ignition switch defect linked to at least 124 deaths and 275 injuries.

The problem was revealed in early 2014 and eventually led to the recall of 2.6 million vehicles and the firing of more than a dozen GM employees who either failed to act on early warning signs or attempted to sweep the problem under the carpet.

The Last Word!

“GM will continue ongoing improvements it’s made to ensure the safety of its vehicles,” a spokesman for the automaker said. That includes changes ordered by CEO Mary Barra after the problem was first revealed, as well as efforts that were agreed to as part of a settlement with the federal government in December 2015.

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Driver Assistance Tech Saving Lives, Preventing Crashes

Study finds big benefits from Lane Warning, Blind Spot Detection.

by on Aug.23, 2017

Cars using Lane Departure Warning typically use cameras to spot lane markers.

New, high-tech driver assistance systems like Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Detection, or LDW and BLIS, are helping sharply reduce the number of crashes on U.S. roadways, in the process curbing injuries and reducing deaths.

Those and other technologies, including forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, are becoming increasingly common on today’s new vehicles and two new studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggest they may have been a factor in the recent decline in U.S. automotive fatalities.

Safety News!

Some safety experts believe that what are collectively known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS, are critical in offsetting an epidemic of distracted driving crashes, though there are also concerns that motorists might come to rely too heavily on the technologies and not be as vigilant as possible.

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Not Buckling Up in Back? You’re Putting Everyone in Car at Risk

“The laws of physics aren’t suspended in the back seat.”

by on Aug.03, 2017

In a crash an unbelted back-seat occupant can fly around the vehicle, even out the windshield.

More than nine out of 10 Americans use their seatbelts when riding in the front of a car. But that number falls off sharply for rear seat passengers. And that could prove a deadly mistake.

In fact, those who don’t buckle up in back not only increase their own risk of being killed or seriously injured in a crash but also double the chance that those up front will be killed because they can turn into the equivalent of a human missile, warns the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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“The laws of physics aren’t suspended just because you’ve moved to the back seat,” said Jessica Jermakin, a senior IIHS researcher and author of a new study that found over 1,000 unrestrained back seat passengers were killed in crashes during 2015.

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Fiat Chrysler Recalling 1.33m Vehicles for Fire, Airbag Risks

Two separate problems announced Friday.

by on Jul.14, 2017

A 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, one of the models recalled for a fire risk.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced two separate recalls on Friday that will cover 1.33 million vehicles worldwide.

The two issues involve potential fire risks in a variety of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep models, as well as faulty airbags that have been fitted into Dodge and Fiat models. Most of the recalls involve vehicles sold in the U.S. market.

Beyond the Headlines!

The announcement by FCA comes at a time when the auto industry has been running record numbers of recalls, including one earlier in the week involving 2.7 million defective Takata airbags. The FCA airbag issue does not involve Takata devices, however.

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Three Large Sedans Earn Top Crash Ratings – But Tesla Model S Falls Short

Small overlap test still a challenge for some manufacturers.

by on Jul.06, 2017

Tesla aces most tests but fell short in the small overlap crash - and the Model S had "poor" headlights.

The Tesla Model S was one of three large sedans to fall short in the latest round of crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The trade group also reports that three other large models fared extremely well during a series of tests for crash worthiness, earning the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ ratings.

Safety News!

The poor performance by the Tesla Model S came amidst a series of problems for the electric vehicle maker, and at a time when CEO Elon Musk had hoped to focus on the upcoming launch of the maker’s first mainstream model, the Model 3. Production and sales are set to begin on Friday.

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Most SUV Headlights Fall Short

Only 2 of 37 rated “good” by IIHS.

by on Jun.13, 2017

Even some high-tech "curving" headlamps performed poorly in the new IIHS lighting tests.

The vast majority of midsize SUVs offer headlights that fail to light up the road effectively, according to a newly released study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that found just two vehicles earned a “good” rating and 11 of 37 models tested fell into the “poor category.”

The list of poor performer includes some of the biggest sellers in the segment, such as the Jeep Wrangler, as well as Ford’s Edge and Explorer models. According to the industry trade group, many SUVs do a poor job of lighting the road while others create significant glare for oncoming traffic.

Your Guiding Light!

“We continue to see headlights that compromise safety because they only provide a short view down the road at night,” said Matt Brumbelow, a senior research engineer at IIHS.

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Nissan Doubling Number of Vehicles With Standard Automatic Emergency Braking

Over 1 million to come standard in U.S. with safety system for 2018.

by on Jun.08, 2017

Automatic Emergency Braking, or AEB, is designed to step in when a driver misses a potential collision.

Nissan plans to more than double the number of vehicles it will sell in the U.S. for the 2018 model-year equipped with Automatic Emergency Braking, or AEB, a technology industry, insurance and federal regulators believe will significantly reduce the number of crashes on U.S. roadways.

In all, AEB will come standard on “more than 1 million vehicles” in the coming year, up from 450,000 in 2017, the automaker announced this morning. The industry, in general, is rapidly expanding the use of the technology which is designed to slow, or even bring a vehicle to a stop, in the event of a potential crash a driver might not respond to rapidly enough.

We Brake for News!

“The big news here is that we’re making AEB standard across all grades of our best-selling models,” said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. “This increased AEB availability is part of our ongoing commitment to help reduce fatalities while realizing our comprehensive vision of Nissan Intelligent Mobility.”

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Takata Airbag Recall Effort Sputtering

Less than 35 percent of airbags replaced, politician says.

by on Jun.02, 2017

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) is prodding automakers to accelerate the pace of Takata airbag repairs.

Despite concerted efforts to double and production of replacements, less than 35% of vehicle owners with Takata’s potentially explosive airbag inflators have managed to completed the needed repairs on their vehicles.

Senator Bill Nelson of Florida said just 15.8 million inflators of 46.2 million recalled inflators were repaired through mid-May. Nelson said his figures came from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration independent monitor.

The Last Word!

The recall began in 2015 after it was determined that the ignition materials may degrade over time and in certain instances explode, sending pieces of plastic and metal debris into the vehicle cabin. More than 15 deaths and 150 injuries worldwide have been tied to the inflators. (more…)

Small Car Driver Risks on the Rise, Study Shows

Drivers of compacts more likely to die than larger vehicles.

by on May.26, 2017

The Hyundai Accent is one of the more dangerous cars on the road today, if involved in a collision, a new study shows.

Drivers of small cars have long known that they are at greater risk when involved in collisions with larger vehicles. However, the risk is increasing, according to a new study.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report suggests that traffic fatality rates are on the rise overall, but noted that of the top 10 vehicles involved in fatal crashes, five are minicars and three are small cars. The vehicle at the top of the list if the Hyundai Accent.

Safety News!

Despite the increase in the overall rate, the worst vehicles actually saw some improvement. The 2014 Hyundai Accent’s death rate of 104 compares with 120 for the 2011 Accent. The worst vehicle among the 2011 models was the Kia Rio with a rate of 149. The 2014 Rio’s death rate is 102. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Recalling Over 1.25 Mil Ram Pickups

Software glitch could cause airbag, seatbelt failure in rollovers.

by on May.12, 2017

The Ram 1500 is one of three versions of the full-size truck covered by the recall.

More than 1.25 million Ram pickup trucks are being recalled worldwide due to a software glitch that can cause some of the vehicles’ airbags and seatbelts to fail during rollover crashes.

The problem has been linked to at least one death and two injuries, according to a statement by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The automaker also advised owners to watch for a warning light on the instrument panel for a possible failure.

Safety First!

The recall covers three different light and medium-duty versions of the full-size Ram pickup sold in North America, as well as other parts of the world between the 2013 through 2016 model-years, FCA said.

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