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Home  >  2017  >  June

NTSB SAYS DRIVER KILLED IN TESLA IGNORED WARNINGS

Posted on Thursday, June 29th, 2017 at 2:01 pm    

USA Today reported that the driver recently killed while using his Tesla’s auto pilot system ignored repeated warnings to take the wheel. The driver, John Brown, of Ohio was killed when his Tesla crashed into a tractor trailer truck making a left turn in front of him.

Earlier this year a report by NHTSA stated that that the driver should have seen the truck for at least 7 seconds prior to the collision and called that a ” period of extended distraction ” , noting that the driver “took no braking, steering or other actions”

The report by the NTSB seemed to offer no contradicting information. NTSB reported that the driver had the self driving system on for about 37.5 minutes of his 41 minute trip. During the time the self driving system was on, the driver only had his hands on the wheel for a total of about 30 seconds. NTSB stated that at time of the collision he was traveling at 74 mph in a 65 mph zone. NTSB’s report stated that the driver received 7 visual warning and 6 audible warning before the collision.

Tesla declined comment. However Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has stated that upgrades to the software since the collision would likely have prevented it.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on June 20,2017 entitled “Driver killed in Tesla self-driving car crash ignored warnings, NTSB reports” by Nathan Bomey.

AIRBAG MANUFACTURER TAKATA FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY

Posted on Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 at 1:57 pm    

According to an AP article airbag manufacture Takata filed for bankruptcy in Japan and the United States on Monday. AP reports that the filing clears the way for a takeover of most of Takatas assets by a rivial Key Safety Systems – a Chinese company.

Takata is the Japanese company that manufactured defective air bag inflators that has lead to a massive recall of airbags in the U.S. In the U.S. alone more than 42 million vehicles have been recalled due to defective Takata airbag inflators. Takata stated that filing for bankruptcy was the only way that it could continue to keep suppling its products. Recall repairs are expected to take until the end of the decade.

Among the auto manufactures recalling vehicles for defective Takata air bag inflators are: Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadilliac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge/Ram, Ferrari, Ford, GMC, Honda, Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda,
Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Scion, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, and Volkswagen. This list helps convey just how massive the recall is.

Source: An AP article entitled Air Bag Recalls and Resulting Lawsuits Lead Takata to file for Bankruptcy appearing in the LNP on Tuesday,June 27, 2017

Tools you should have in your car

Posted on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 at 2:03 pm    

USA Today recommends that you keep some basic tools in your car in order to reduce the the need to call for roadside assistance in the event of a car problem while traveling or to help other in trouble:

1. Reusable Flairs to prevent collisions. One recommended by USA today is Wagan Flashing LED Roadside Emergency Flare sold on Amazon

2. A Headlamp. This will keep your hand free while you work.

3. Gloves that are cut resistant.

4. A Hotspot Devise. This will enable you to use your cell phone to call for help in a cell phone dead spot.

5. A Jump Start Device. To jumpstart your battery.

6. Duck Tape. Duck tape can be used too fix all sorts of minor problems. e.g. leaking hose.

7. A First Aid Kit.

8. Fix A Flat. This handy devise can save you changing a tire along a busy highway or in bad weather by chemically sealing you tire in a few seconds.

9. An Emergency Blanket. To help keep you warm if you do get stranded in the winter time.

10. A Tool to Break a Window and Cut a Seat Belt. Several companies now make a single small tool that can do both of these task. On example is the Leatherman Z-Rex.

On other item not mentioned by USA Today worth including is a fire extinguisher

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on June 18,2017entitled “I live on the road-these are 11 tools you should always carry in your car” by Seanus Bellamy of Reviewed.com

SHARING THE ROAD-SAFELY

Posted on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 at 5:01 pm    

With the sole exception of 2009, Motorcycle accident deaths have risen every year for the past 14 years.And the CDC reports that in 2013 there where more than 494,000 emergency room visits by bicyclists. With this in mind here are a few tips suggested by the Ephrata Review in a recent article for safely sharing the road with others.

1. Never Ride Impaired or Distracted. This rule applies to everyone on the road.

2. Do Not Wear Headphones. Headphones can make it hard to hear approaching vehicles etc.

3. Check the Curb Lane. Driver should always check their mirror and check the curb lane to see if cyclist might be approaching. And keep an eye out for pedestrians.

4. Make Yourself visible. Pedestrians and cyclist should wear bright colors. Motorist should use their daytime running lights.

5. Obey the Rules of the Road. The rules apply to everyone. Use your turn signals when turning or changing lanes.

6. Be Aware of the Road Conditions. Remember that road conditions that are an annoyance to motorist can present major hazards for Bikers and cyclist. Motorist should be alert for sudden movements by bikers and cyclist.

Source: An article appearing in the April 2017 Ephrata Review entitled ” Safely Sharing the Road”

OUTDATED HEADLIGHTS ARE STILL COMMON IN TODAYS AUTOS

Posted on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 at 1:49 pm    

While new vehicles are rapidly adopting new technology geared toward the development of self -driving cars, the headlights on most new vehicles have failed to keep up with the times. One result is that approximately 2,500 pedestrians are killed at night each year. Experts say that a large number of these deaths are because drivers can’t see the pedestrians as their headlight don’t shine bright enough.

In 2016 the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that two thirds of the lighting packages available on 21 small SUV only provided lighting rated as poor. The lighting isn’t any better for pick-ups where the headlights on 7 pick-ups, including the popular Ford F-150, were also rated as poor.

The experts say that outdated Federal rules that block the adoption innovations such as adaptive beam technology are making the problem worse. Toyota asked NHTSA for permission to use this technology, which is common in Europe and Japan, in 2013. NHTSA still hasn’t responded to Toyota’s request.

Unfortunately NHTSA is strapped for resources and has put a priority on developing regulations related to self-driving cars.

Another problem has been the emphasis that manufacturers are putting on making headlights look good. Even lighting engineers working for the auto companies have expressed approval that the IIHS has make testing headlights a part of it safety ratings for new autos noting that there is often a battle between those responsible for safety and styling.

One simple thing that can help is to use your high beams at all times except when approaching another driver. Most drivers don’t realize just how much brighter high beams are that low beams.

Source: An Article appearing at usatoday.com on May 26, 2017 entitled Outdated headlights put drivers and pedestrians at risk by Nathan Bomey.

HARLEY-DAVIDSON WANTS TO TEACH A WHOLE TOWN TO RIDE MOTORCYCLES.

Posted on Thursday, June 8th, 2017 at 1:42 pm    

Harley – Davidson is planning to teach every willing resident of the town of Ryder, N.D. how to ride a motorcycle. Ryder is a small town with only 85 residents located in the middle of North Dakota.

Harley said it was attracted to the town by its name and the fact that its water tower looks almost identical to the one at Harley’s headquarters in Milwaukee. Mayor Jody Reinish said that the town is “…all fired up to give it a whirl.”

Harley-Davidson even repainted the town’s water with its name on it. Local officials hope that the attention will help renew interest in the town which once had over 400 residents. And according to the USA Today article, bikers have be stopping by the water tower to have their pictures taken.

H-D said that after the eligible riders finish the riders training course they might take them on a ride to Milwaukee to tour the Harley plant.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on June 3,2017 entitled “ Harley-Davidson teaching whole town to ride motorcycles” by Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

HARLEY-DAVIDSON RECALLING 57,000 MOTORCYCLES TO FIX DEFECTIVE OIL LINE.

Posted on Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 at 5:18 pm    

Harley-Davidson recently announced that it is voluntarily recalling approximately 57,000 motorcycles for a possible oil line defect. According to an article appearing in USA Today,
the oil line can come loose causing oil to spill into the path of the rear tire.

Harley believes that the problem is caused by the improper installation of a clamp on the engine oil cooler line. Harley said that it has received 9 reports of oil lines coming off which resulted in 2 crashes and one minor injury. In a statement Harley said that ” This is a voluntary recall in the interest in customer safety.” The recall involves several 2017 models and dealers will make the needed repairs free of charge.

In separate matte, NHTSA said it was investigating complaints from Harley owner who have reported that their brakes failed without warning. NHTSA said the investigation involves bikes equipped with anti lock brakes model years 2008-2011. NHTSA estimates that there are about 43,000 motorcycles that are the subject of it investigation.

So far NHTSA said it has received 43 complaints related to this issue. NHTSA also stated that it is possible that some of the brake failure were because the bike owners failed to change the brake fluid at the recommended intervals.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on June 4,2017 entitled “ Harley-Davidson recalls 57,000 motor cycles for oil-line defect” by Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

IS THERE A “BLACK BOX” IN YOUR CAR?

Posted on Thursday, June 1st, 2017 at 1:29 pm    

Most of us realize that most commercial airplanes are equipped with an indestructible flight recorder referred to as a black box. Many of us may not realize that most automobiles are equipped with a similar black box.

Like the black box located on board airplanes the black boxes in automobiles record important information which is helpful in getting a better picture of the circumstances surrounding an accident.

Actually, black boxes in automobiles aren’t all that new. They first appeared in 1994 in Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet and Pontiac automobiles. Since the early 2000’s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been collecting black box data to get a better picture of the circumstances surrounding automobile collisions. In 2013, ninety-six percent of the new cars sold in the United States came equipped with black boxes. And, as of September 1, 2014, every new vehicle must be equipped with a black box.

NHTSA requires that every new black box track 15 variables including such things as speed, airbag deployment, whether the brakes were applied, engine speed, and if the seatbelt was worn at the time of the accident. Furthermore, the black box only stores information for about 20 seconds around the time of the crash.

The information contained in the black box can provide important information to assist manufacturers in determining how well their vehicles perform in crashes. And, the information recorded can also aid investigators, etc. in determining how an accident actually occurred.

Currently, 15 states have passed regulations regarding who can access information contained in the black box without the car owner’s permission. Furthermore, courts in all states have the power to issue an order under appropriate circumstances authorizing access to information contained in the black box.

Source: Article appearing in LNP entitled Your car’s hidden ‘black box’ and how to keep it private by Kim Komando on Sunday, December 28, 2014.