Jul 21, 2009 | 11
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) put politics above public safety in 2003 when it suppressed research estimating that cell phone use—both phone calls and text messaging—while driving had caused hundreds of thousands of car accidents and hundreds of crash-related deaths the previous year, the New York Times reports. This information came to light today when two Washington, D.C., consumer advocacy groups—Public Safety and the Ralph Nader-founded Center for Auto Safety—won their Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to make public the some 250 pages of research compiled in 2003.
Based on their research, a team of NHTSA workers estimated that cell phone use by drivers caused 955 fatalities and about 240,000 accidents in 2002. [The documents can be found on the Times Web site.] Other research reinforces the NHTSA's findings: motorists talking on a phone are four times as likely to crash as other drivers, and they are as likely to cause an accident as someone with a .08 blood alcohol content.
Jan 12, 2009
As we just noted in our rather last, rather sobering post, there isn't going to be a lot of gravy at this year's North American International Auto Show...but that doesn't mean there won't be a lot of high quality meat, especially for the greens.
In fact, I don't think I've been this excited about an auto show since I started blogging. What will we be seeing? Well, I can't say for certain, but we can start by skimming the surface of what we know already.
BYD will be showing off the world's first production plug-in vehicle, and while it won't be available in the U.S. until 2011, it's pretty impressive that China managed to beat both the U.S. and Japan to the punch on plug-in hybrids.
Fisker, will be unveiling it's production plug-in Karma. The car, which made a huge splash last year in concept form, is like a cheaper, more practical, more beautiful Telsa Roadster.
Jan 9, 2009 | 4
LAS VEGAS, NEV.—Ailing automakers are using every edge they can when it comes to selling their product, particularly as consumers hunker down for a lean 2009. Ford Motor Co. chief executive Alan Mulally said Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here that one important part of his company’s strategy is to offer its Sync technology—an in-car communications and entertainment system that Ford and Microsoft announced at CES in 2007—on more cars. Sync—currently available on 12 different Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models, including the Ford Focus, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKS—will be available across the company’s lineup by 2011.
Money has been tight for automakers, to say the least. Toyota Motor announced earlier this week that it will halt production at its 12
Oct 16, 2008 | 1
Chrysler, Ford and GM are busy using up the $25-billion jump-start they received last month and their economic outlook is far from rosy. But it is the upstarts—in specific, electric car company Tesla Motors—facing the roughest road because they don't have the track record for access to cheap cash.
As the credit markets have seized up, Tesla has been forced to restructure and has entered a "critical phase" financially, according to a company blog post. Tesla will be abandoning Detroit and digging in at its new corporate HQ in San Jose as well as laying off an unspecified number of its 250 employees. Its primary financial backer, Elon Musk—whose SpaceX rocket finally took flight, successfully putting a payload into orbit—will also return to the helm of the company, shifting current CEO Ze'ev Drori to the board of directors. He had been in the job for a little less than a year.
Oct 6, 2008 | 2
Parents worried about teens' safety (not to mention the safety of everyone else on the road) when they take the new car for a spin will soon be able to control how fast the kids drive and how loudly they crank up the tunes. They will also be able to remotely nag their young drivers to wear their seatbelts, all thanks to a new technology called MyKey that Ford Motor Company plans to introduce as standard equipment on its 2010 Focus coupe and, down the road, in its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models.
MyKey has a transponder chip that, once plugged into the ignition, allows car owners to program their car's computer. This includes setting the car's maximum speed limit as high as 80 miles per hour, and to issue warning chimes when the car's speed reaches 45, 55 or 65 miles per hour. Although a driver can still do a lot of damage at 80 miles per hour, and it exceeds most speed limits, this speed does allow for more maneuverability during highway driving (particularly if a driver needs to pass the car ahead). The MyKey can also program the car to chime a six-second seatbelt reminder every minute for five minutes and, after that, to mute the car stereo until the driver buckles up. Plus, MyKey can program the stereo to keep it down to no more than 40 percent of full volume.
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