Tag Archives: Auto Safety

How Recalls Work (And Don’t) And Why They’re All So Different

by Kate Cox, Consumerist

Where do recalls come from, and how are they handled? … The government maintains a one-stop shop website for listing recalls, but there is no National Bureau of Recalls… as much as it might help consumers if there were. Instead, a patchwork arrangement of four independent agencies is responsible for consumers’ health and safety. The agencies each cover a different aspect of health and safety — food, cars, medicines, household goods, and so on — and each of the four has a different process for initiating recalls and notifying consumers. Here’s how it all works. Read More ›

Exploding Air Bags: Takata Recall Now Totals 34 Million Vehicles

by Jerry Hirsch and Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times

Takata air bag

The auto industry is seeing increasingly large recalls as manufacturers share parts across their own models and use components from the same suppliers. NHTSA said there were 803 vehicle recalls last year involving 63.9 million vehicles. Last year’s tally included two of the 10 largest vehicle recalls in history and involved double the record number of cars set in 2004. … “It’s fair to say this is probably the most complex consumer safety recall in U.S. history,” [said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony] Foxx. Read More ›

Uber Ride Takes Violent Turn

by Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

The passenger told the driver he would like to get out of the car but the driver refused to stop and continued driving. At Pier 30, just past the passenger’s requested destination, the passenger managed to open the car door and attempted to run away, but the driver allegedly chased after him on foot, police said. When the driver caught up to the passenger, he kicked him and then robbed him of his cellphone and debit card, police said. When the driver caught up to the passenger, he kicked him and then robbed him of his cellphone and debit card, police said. Read More ›

GEICO Discriminates Against Unmarried Low-Income Drivers, Consumer Federation Charges

[CFC press release:] GEICO Insurance Co. illegally deceives and discriminates against unmarried, lower or moderate-income motorists by quoting them much higher minimum automobile coverage levels than permitted under state law, the Consumer Federation of California (CFC) alleges in a petition filed today with the California Department of Insurance. Having uncovered this scheme, CFC is calling on the Department of Insurance to enforce state insurance and civil rights laws by ordering GEICO to halt these practices and impose penalties. The targets of GEICO’s deceptive rate quotes are good drivers who have all of these characteristics: are unmarried, not employed in a professional or executive occupation, have not completed college, and are not currently insured. Read More ›

Report: Automakers Fail To Protect Connected Cars From Security, Privacy Hacks

by Ashlee Kieler, Consumerist

Last year, in a Defense Department-funded test on a 2012 model American-made car, hackers demonstrated they could create the electronic equivalent of a skeleton key to unlock the car’s networks. … [The] report found that nearly 100% of vehicles on the market include wireless technologies that could pose vulnerabilities to hacking or privacy intrusion. … Only two automakers were able to describe any capabilities to diagnose or meaningfully respond to an infiltration in real-time, and most said they rely on technologies that cannot be used for this purpose at all. Read More ›

Inside Consumer Reports

by Joseph Stromberg, Vox Media

This extreme scientific rigor, mixed with amusing attempts to roughly simulate consumer behavior, defines the testing of every kind of product at the labs. Bloomberg Businessweek has called it “scientific torture.” To test vacuums, for instance, staff spread cat hair on a strip of carpet, vacuum it, then weigh how much hair ends up in each vacuum’s brushes and storage bag. To test frying pans, they use a machine that scrubs them for hours with steel wool until their coating wears off. Read More ›

Who Should Inspect Lyft, Uber Cars?

by Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle

uber lyft sidecar vehicle

Vehicle inspections have long been a bone of contention for critics of the ride-hailing services, who contend that regulations are too lax. … Several driver-mentors who do inspections for Lyft said that they received only minimal training, consisting of text and videos on their phones, and that the inspections were largely cosmetic. … Inspections for taxis are more extensive, underscoring the industry’s assertion that it doesn’t operate on a level playing ground. Read More ›

Auto Industry Galvanized After Record Recall Year

by Bill Vlasic and Hilary Stout, The New York Times

cadillac tombstones

More than 60 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States, double the previous annual record in 2004. In all, there have been about 700 recall announcements — an average of two a day — affecting the equivalent of one in five vehicles on the road. … The attention to safety has also awakened car owners. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the nation’s top auto regulator, is on pace this year to receive 80,000 complaints from consumers about possible defects — about double the average annual number. Read More ›

BMW Expands Takata Air Bag Recall

by David Shepardson, The Detroit News

airbag

Automakers have now recalled in total more than 61 million vehicles in 2014, more than doubling the previous record of 30.8 million vehicles called back in 2004. Leading all automakers is General Motors Co., which has recalled more than 30 million vehicles this year, including more than 26 million in the United States. … In total, 10 automakers have now recalled more than 14.6 million vehicles with Takata air bags since 2013.Takata has repeatedly argued there is no scientific basis to expand the recall nationally.
Read More ›

California Puzzles Over Safety Of Driverless Cars

by Justin Pritchard, The Associated Press

Google driverless car

The department is asking industry, consumer groups and other interested parties to gather in January for a public workshop on safety standards. … Even before Google pushed the 2012 law that officially legalized driverless technology, the Silicon Valley giant had dispatched its cars hundreds of thousands of miles. Google says its Toyota Priuses and Lexus SUVs, souped up with radar, cameras and laser sensors, have an excellent safety record. They have been involved in just a “few” accidents, though not at fault in any of them, spokeswoman Courtney Hohne said. Read More ›

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