Posted on Thursday, September 21st, 2017 at 1:56 pm
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently completed a round of safety testing of midsize pickups and SUVs. According to a USA Today article, none of the recently tested 2017 midsize pickups earned top safety honors from the IIHS due to poor headlights. All headlight packages on the midsized trucks performed poorly in the IIHS testing. The IIHS recently added headlight performance as a category in ranking the safety of motor vehicles.
However, with respect to the small overlap front crash test, The Toyota Tacoma, a crew cab version of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon earned a good rating. The small overlap test measures a vehicle’s performance when it clips and oncoming car or smashes into a pole or tree on the side of the road. However, the Nissan Frontier, which has not had a major redesign since the 2005 model only received a marginal rating. The IIHS also recently reported that only 2 of 37 midsized SUVs offered headlight packages which were rated good in testing. The two that received a good ranking were the Volvo XC60 and the Hyundai Sante Fe. SUVs receiving a poor rating were the Infinity QX60, Lincoln MKC, Lincoln MKX, Dodge Journey, Ford Edge, Ford Explorer, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Sante Fe Sport, Jeep Wrangler, Kia Sorento, and Toyota 4Runner.
According to the IIHS, one of the major problems contributing to the poor performance of the headlights is that manufacturers need to do a better job of aiming headlights in the right direction when they are installed. A representative of the IIHS noted that Federal regulations require aim to be controlled.
Other safety advocates such as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, contends that outdated US regulations are contributing to the problem and that the US regulators need to adopt new regulations that will allow for the use of modern technology that is currently available in Europe and Japan that could vastly improve headlight performance. One such example cited by the advocates is adaptive beam headlights that dim the light aimed at oncoming motorists to reduce glare while maintain high beams on the road ahead to ensure good visibility. In 2013, Toyota requested the NHTSA to allow such technology in vehicles manufactured for the US, but NHTSA has yet to make a decision.
Source: Articles appearing at usatoday.com on September 6, 2017 entitled “Poor Headlights Dim Safety Test Results for Midsized Pickup Trucks” by Nathan Bomey and an article entitled “Only 2 of 37 Midsize SUVs Offer ‘Good’ Headlights, IIHS Says” Nathan Bomey published on June 13, 2017.
Posted on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 at 1:43 pm
As of the end of July, the death toll in 2017 for children dying in hot cars reached 29. Eleven children died in hot cars in July,2017 alone. The last time that this many children died in a single month in hot cars was in 2008.
As a result, some legislators are looking at technology as a possible solution. Recently, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, introduced legislation that would require new cars to be equipped with technology that alerts the driver if a child is left in the back seat when the car is turned off. Blumenthal noted that such technology is already available in many of General Motors newest models.
Since 1998, at least 729 children have died from heat stroke in vehicles in the U.S. The USA Today article notes that the annual number of children dying in hot cars each year increased significantly following legislation that required children to sit in the back seat of automobiles to avoid death from front seat airbag deployment.
Some new GM models prompt drivers to check the back seat if they open a rear door at the beginning of their trip. One safety advocate, Jackie Gillan of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Coalition noted that “We need to educate people to ‘look before they lock’, but on the other hand, we have technology that will solve the problem.”
Source: an articles appearing in usatoday.com on 09/06/17 entitled Hot Car Deaths Prompt Push for Tech That Detects Kids in Vehicles” by Doyle Rice and Greg Toppo.
Posted on Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 at 1:57 pm
According to an AP article, preliminary data show motor vehicle deaths and injuries were down slightly for the first 6 months of 2017. Nevertheless, they were still significantly higher than they were 2 years ago.
Through June 30, 2017, a National Safety Council stated there were 18,689 motor vehicle deaths. This was 250 fewer deaths than in the same period in 2016. However, deaths were still up by 8% compared to the first 6 months of 2015.
After several years of declines, deaths began to raise in late 2014. There were 40,200 deaths for the calendar year of 2016 compared with 35,398 in 2015. The AP article notes that these increases correspond with record high miles being driven by Americans as the economy has improved. However, while miles driven for the first 6 month are up by 1.7%, the rate of increase in miles driven appears to be slowing.
Deborah Hersman, president of the Nation Safety Council, stated that “Although the numbers may be lowering off, the road to zero deaths will require accelerating improvements in technology, engaging drivers and investing in our infrastructure.”
The information provided by the Nation Safety Council differs slightly from traffic fatalities reported by the NHTSA since the Federal government reports on deaths on public roads while the Council includes private roads, driveways and parking lots.
Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on August 15, 2017 entitled “Safety Council: Motor Vehicle Deaths Dip Slightly in 2017” by Joan Lowy.
Posted on Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 1:22 pm
Fiat Chrysler recently issued 2 recalls which affect more than 1.3 million vehicles worldwide.
One recall is related to a defect that could potentially cause an inadvertent deployment of the driver side front air bags. According to Chrysler, this recall is a result of wiring that may chafe against pieces of the steering wheel trim which could potentially cause a short that might lead to a short circuit which could result in the inadvertent deployment of the driver side air bag. This recall affects about 770,000 vehicles worldwide including certain 2011 – 2015 Dodge Journeys sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The second recall relates to an anti-lock braking issue involving approximately 565,000 vehicles. According to the USA Today article reporting on the recalls, the alternators in the vehicles must be replaced as a defect in the alternator can cause a compromise in the vehicles anti-lock braking system and electronic stability control. However, the company notes that basic brake function is not effected by the defect. And, the company says that while it has identified 2 accidents that could possibly be linked to the defect, no injuries have been connected with this defect. This recall affects certain 2011 – 2014 Chrysler 300s, Dodge Charger Sedans, Dodge Challenger Coups, Dodge Durango SUVs and 2012 – 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs equipped with electro-hydraulic power steering.
Dealers will repair the vehicles for free and Fiat Chrysler will notify owners when they can get the repairs done.
Source: An article appearing in USA Today on July 14, 2017 entitled “Air Bag, Brake Defects Trigger Fiat Chrysler Recalls of 1.3M Vehicles” by Eric Lawrence.
Posted on Thursday, August 10th, 2017 at 2:06 pm
According to a recent article in USA Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that 3 large automobiles received its Top Safety Pick following recent crash tests. Those vehicles are:
• The Lincoln Continental
• The Mercedes Benz E Class
• Toyota Avalon
Cars tested that did not receive the top rating included:
• Tesla Model S
• Ford Taurus
• Chevrolet Impala
According to a spokesman for IIHS, the Tesla, Impala and Taurus all had difficulty with the small overlap front crash test.This test was introduced in 2012 to test the cars ability to handle a collision on its front driver side corner as if it were hitting a telephone pole. The Kia Credenza also recently received the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus.
David Zuby, vice president of IIHS, noted that although IIHS rates cars in all size categories, the top safety designation in a large car category is typically safer than the same rating in a small car category. Large cars by virtue of being large, are safer than smaller ones. “Large cars, by virtue of being large, are safer than smaller ones,” Zuby said.
In order to earn the Top Safety Pick, the car must pass 5 safety tests which measure how a car responds to small overlap frontal crash, moderate overlap front and side crashes as well as roof strength and effectiveness of the headrest.
Additionally, as of 2017, cars must also have a good or acceptable headlight rating.
Source: An article appearing in usatoday.com on July 6, 2017 entitled “Three Big Cars Get Top IIHS Crash Rating – – Not Tesla” by Diana Kruzman.
Posted on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 at 8:05 pm
According to an AP article, a 3-year-old Florida boy is in a cast from the waist down as a result of an injury suffered while jumping at a trampoline park. The boy’s mother stated that her 3-year-old son fractured his thigh bone while bouncing on a trampoline at an indoor park in Tampa, Florida which promoted the use of trampolines by toddlers. As a consequence, the 3-year-old has been placed by orthopedic surgeons in a Hip Spica cast for 6 weeks.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says that children younger than 6 years old should not be permitted on trampolines. The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends against trampoline use for any age but notes the smaller children are at a greater risk. The American Academy of Pediatricians also reports that Emergency Room visits from trampoline park users have soared from 581 in 2011 to 6,932 in 2014 as the popularity of trampoline parks have grown nationwide. Injuries from home trampolines are approximately 90,000 per year. This number has remained steady for the past several years.
According to the article, researchers have called for further investigation and actions to prevent injuries at such trampoline parks noting that there are no consistent guidelines for businesses to follow.
Interestingly, the International Association of Trampoline Parks is based in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Source: An article appearing in the LNP on July 12, 2017 entitled “Boy, 3 in Body Cast From Trampoline” by Adriana G. Licon
Posted on Thursday, July 13th, 2017 at 1:41 pm
Ford recently announced another recall involving his transit van due to a potentially defective drive shaft. According to the article appearing at USA Today, a defect flexible coupling on the drive shaft could cause separation of the drive shaft cutting off power which could cause the vehicle to move while parked or cause damage to the surrounding parts. Ford stated that the recall involved 402,462 transit vans in North America including 370,630 in the United States.
The recall involves model years 2015-2017 of the transit vans which were assembled in the automakers plant in Kansas City from January 17, 2014 to June 15, 2017. Ford estimates the recall will cost approximately 142 million dollars.
Ford also stated that it had not identified any crashes or injuries as a result of this defect. However, Ford acknowledged that it has not yet figured out how to permanently fix the defect area but stated that they can repair the Transit of a vehicle that is driven for 30,000 miles. For now, Ford states that it will replace the couplings every 30,000 miles until a final repair is implemented and completed.
This recall comes on the heels of another recent recall by Ford involving nearly 2.4 million vehicles to repair doors that could fly open while the vehicle was in motion. Among the vehicles effected by that recall were the popular Ford Escape SUV (2013-2015) and the 2015 Ford Mustang.
Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on June 28, 2017 entitled “Ford Transit Recalled: Drive Shaft Defect Costs $142 Million” by Nathan Bomey.
Posted on Thursday, May 18th, 2017 at 1:31 pm
As parents we all worry about our sons and daughters driving, especially when they are in their teenage years. Insurance company USAA offers the following tips to help keep your teenage driver safe:
• Be a Good Role Model. Children are like sponges and they absorb everything you do, good and bad. This means as parents we need to practice good, safe driving habits at all times. And we should avoid all types of distractive driving including talking on the phone, reading or texting, changing GPS settings, etc. while driving.
• Encourage Practice. Be sure your teen son or daughter gets plenty of practice driving to improve their skills. It takes time to learn how to drive well.
• Consider a Tracking Program. Such systems use GPS as devices to track your teen’s driving habits such as braking, acceleration, speed, etc. Reviewing such information with your teen can open up opportunity to discuss safe driving habits.
• Schedule Coaching Time. Help ease your teen into driving by offering more hours behind the wheel with a parent or driving coach.
• Talk About Safety Early. Sessions about safety should start long before your child begins driving. Even elementary age school children are ready to hear the message that phones are not safe to use while driving.
• Teach Your Teen to be a Cautious Passenger. Teach your children not to ride with friends who text, talk on the phone or otherwise engage in unsafe driving habits.
Source: Article appearing at usaa.com entitled Tips to Help Keep Your Teenage Driver Safe.
Posted on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 at 1:38 pm
The United States Department of Homeland Security offers these safety tips to help avoid dangerous problems created by dangerous weather:
• Plan long trips carefully and check the weather forecast before heading out. If bad weather is forecast, drive only if absolutely necessary.
• Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
1. Antifreeze levels
2. Battery and ignition systems
4. Exhaust system
5. Fuel and air filters
6. Heater and defroster
7. Lights and flashing hazard lights
10. Windshield wiper equipment
You or your mechanic should be sure that all of these systems are in good working order before heading out, particularly in bad or potentially dangerous weather.
Additional things to keep in mind, according to the Department of Homeland Security:
• Keep your gas tank full
• Never drive through a flooded area. Even as little as 6” of water can cause a vehicle to lose control and possibly stall. In a foot of water, many cars will float.
• Beware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Floodwaters may have weakened the roadway and could cause a collapse under the weight of a car.
• If a power line falls on your car, you are at risk of electrical shock and should remain in your car until a trained person removes the wire.
• Winter weather requires that tires with adequate tread for winter weather driving, and you should make sure that your tires are the type suited for winter driving conditions and not designed solely for summertime driving.
Posted on Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 at 1:48 pm
Ford Motor Company recently announced that it would recall approximately 441,000 vehicles in North America to repair potentially dangerous defects. The vehicles involved include some versions of the popular Escape SUV and Fusion sedan.
According to USA Today, a new recall is being issued to address a defect which could result in an engine fire in the vehicle. This recall involves 230,756 vehicles outfitted with the 1.6 liter GTDI engines. Apparently, the engines can overheat due to a coolant circulation issue that can result in the cylinder head cracking and causing an oil leak which could potentially cause an engine fire. This defect has been linked to 29 reports of fires in the U.S. and Canada but, according to Ford, no injuries related to the defect have been reported.
The second defect is related to a tab in the side door latch on some 210,619 vehicles which could break and possibly cause the door to swing open while driving. Ford noted that no record of any crashes or injuries connected to this defect. This recall involves certain versions of the 2014 Fiesta, 2013 and 2014 Fusion, and the 2013 through 2014 Lincoln MKZ.
More information regarding this recall should be available at the Ford website or by contacting your local Ford dealer.
Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com entitled Ford recalls 441,000 vehicles, including Escape, Fusion by Nathan Bomey posted on March 29, 2017.