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Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Small Pickups Fall Short of IIHS’ Top Safety Pick Awards

Modern trucks are vastly safer than older vehicles, yet the Insurance Institutes for Highway Safety continues to move the bar. As such, four variants of the most popular mid-size pickups fail to meet the independent agency’s highest rating for crash survivability and headlight performance. Eight pickups were tested, including both extended and crew cab versions of the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier.

Of the eight trucks tested, four did not earn the IIHS’ best rating of “Good” in the front small-overlap crash test. These are the extended cab version of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, along with both cab configurations of the aging Nissan Frontier. The GM twins both earned an Acceptable rating, while the Nissan only earned a Marginal. The Frontier continued to score low in both the structural category and in the possibility of the driver sustaining lower leg and foot injuries. That’s not surprising considering the Frontier is 12 years old, having last been redesigned for the 2005 model year. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Toyota Tacoma Double Cab earned a Good overall rating and a Good rating in each sub-category except for an Acceptable rating in potential lower leg and foot injuries. Even still, the Tacoma lacks any front crash prevention systems, excluding it from the IIHS’ Top Safety awards. Only the GM twins offer any such system, and even it only alerts the driver rather than stopping the truck, earning it only a Basic rating. Lastly, not a single mid-size pickup scored better than a Poor rating in headlight performance. It is understandable, though, as the IIHS only began testing headlights for the 2017 model year.

Continue reading for charts of the IIHS ratings.

PostHeaderIcon Those Rear Seat Belts Are Actually Very Important

You know those straps on your rear seats that look suspiciously like seat belts? Well, they’re actual seat belts, and you might be inclined to start using them because – shocker! – they can save your life. It’s not a groundbreaking revelation by any means, but what’s surprising is that not enough people can be bothered to actually use them, especially during short trips or when people are riding in a taxi, a ride-hailing service, or someone else’s car.

Putting some facts behind it is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which says that four out of five people don’t wear seat belts when they’re seated in the back seat. The IIHS got to that result after surveying adults 18 years and older between June and August 2016. Of the 1,172 respondents that completed the survey, 91 percent say they use their seatbelt when they’re sitting in front, either as the driver or the passenger, and only 72 percent say they use their seat belts in the back. The risk of not wearing seat belts in the back is very real, especially during crashes. In one instance, a rear seat passenger who isn’t wearing a seat belt can kill the front occupant during a crash if he ends up pushing him further into the steering wheel. The IIHS demonstrated as much in the video with crash test dummies and the results, as you can imagine, are horrific.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon In a Connected World, Even your Favorite Car Wash is Vulnerable to Hacking

Connected cars have already raised a lot of concerns when it comes to cyber security. Remember back in 2015 when those guys from Twitter and IOActive hacked a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and took control of its onboard systems? In fairness, FCA issued a recall shortly thereafter, but that’s not the point. Later on, in 2016, it was found that most Volkswagen’s built after 1995 could be remotely hacked to allow a hacker to unlock the doors and gain physical entry.
And, let’s not forget about those two guys that got arrested for hacking and stealing 30 Jeeps using nothing more than a laptop and some stolen software. Brand new VW’s now have their own unique keys and entry codes, and FCA has issued a fix for their problems, so why is this relevant? Because hacking isn’t just limited to cars. Think about this – it’s Sunday, you’re in the car wash, and getting ready to emerge from the exit with a freshly cleaned ride. All of the sudden: BAM – the doors shut, and one of the robotic arms starts hitting your car repeatedly, breaking the windows, damaging the body, and getting you wet at the same time.

Sounds pretty wild right? Well, as it turns out, it’s quite possible, and it was recently proven by a group of security researchers who presented their findings at the Black Hat hacking conference in Vegas last week. The system in question is known as the PDQ LaserWash, which just so happens to be a pretty popular system and is used across the U.S. The systems are connected to the internet and run on a version of Windows CE. The exploit has been known about for a couple of years, but it wasn’t until recently that a facility in Washington State allowed the research group to try it out. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow the team to record their results, so there’s no video of what’s actually going on, but the team says they were able to easily guess the default master password and use an “attack script” to control the car wash. In their test, they didn’t strike the vehicle with any components of the carwash, but they did lock the bay doors and demonstrated that it could be done. The team has notified the Department of Homeland Security, and PDQ is reportedly working on a fix for the exploit.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Tesla Model X Gets 5-Star Crash Rating From NHTSA

Tesla might be having issues making profits and launching the Model 3 sedan, but it’s clear the young automaker can build a safe SUV. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just awarded the 2017 Model X with a 5-star rating in every crash test category and sub-category. That makes the Model X the first SUV to ever earn a 5-star rating across the board. What’s more, the NHTSA’s findings show occupants have the lowest probability of injury in any SUV it has ever tested, with a 93-percent likelihood of walking away without serious injuries.

NHTSA testing includes three main areas: frontal, side, and rollover crashes.
Further broken down, the frontal crash testing includes a 35-mph, full-frontal crash into a solid barrier. Side impact testing includes both impacts with another vehicle and with a stationary pole like a tree or telephone post. Rollover testing includes both the likelihood of a rollover and the roof’s ability to remain structurally intact. Not only did the Model X earn 5 stars in the roof crush test, the NHTSA was unable to educe a rollover, even during its dynamic rollover test. Tesla claims the Model X’s aversion to tipping lies in its low center of gravity provided by the battery packs mounted under the floor.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Next-Gen Test Dummies Could be of the Plump Variety

Obesity seems to be an epidemic that’s slowly taking over the world. Here in America, 33 percent of the population is said to be obese, with the average weight for men climbing 21 pounds to 195 and the average weight for women climbing 20 pounds to 166 over the last 50 years. That’s actually a pretty big deal. Some of it can be attributed to the overwhelming amount of unhealthy fast food available, while at the same time, we Americans love to eat, which doesn’t help the situation.

Be that as it may, the U.S. isn’t anywhere near being the most obese place in the world with places like American Samoa, and Nauru coming in first and second, respectively. Even Tonga, Palau, and Kuwait beat us out, but we do land in the top 20, just above Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. But, that’s not the point of the video you’re about to watch. The point is that the world is getting fat enough that crash dummy manufacturers are now working on developing dummies that are fat.

How fat? Well, we don’t know for sure, but a few years ago, Humantics was developing dummies that weighed upward of 270 pounds, so it’s not necessarily a new concept. Either way, ABC’s Good Morning America ran a segment that gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the next-generation of test dummies that will soon be tasked with telling us how safe future cars are – even for those who are overweight.

With that said, go ahead and click play to learn more about it and see just how big the next-gen test dummies might be.


PostHeaderIcon Watch the 2018 Volvo XC60 get Demolished for Safety's Sake

Ah the crash test – it involves slamming a brand new car into an object to determine how well it holds up during an accident. There’s the small frontal overlap test, the moderate overlap test, the side impact test, and rollover test, among others. Well, the all-new 2018 Volvo XC60 just underwent the full barrage, getting slammed seven ways to Sunday. And it turns out (not surprisingly, really) that Volvo built an exceptionally safe crossover.

The videos below show the testing methods, as well as the mechanical carnage involved. The high-speed, slow motion film captures details not otherwise seen by the naked eye. The shots are almost beautiful in nature, though hauntingly eerie when considering those dummies represent real people like you and your family. That realization makes knowing the XC60’s good performance that much sweeter.

You won’t hear IIHS, NHTSA, or NCAP scores for these tests, however. These were actually done in-house by Volvo at its Stockholm-based Safety Center long before the XC60’s debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

For those who don’t know, Volvo is on a mission to have zero fatalities or serious injuries in its new vehicles by 2020. It’s a lofty goal, but one that’s far less self-serving than most long-term goals automakers make.

Anyway, for those wanting to see the XC60 in action, click past the jump for the videos.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Ford Mustang's Failed NCAP Testing Proves Safety Comes Second

Last month we covered the story about how the 2017 Ford Mustang miserably failed Euro NCAP testing, earning the worst rating out of the 15 recently tested vehicles: two out of five stars. It did worse than a number of models, including models like the Hyundai Ioniq, Audi Q2, and even the SsangYong Tivoli. It’s a bit surprising, but testing showed that there is a high chance for upper-body injury and head injury for rear passengers during frontal crashes and a high possibility of whiplash for rear passengers in side-impact testing. Front passengers are also at risk of injury thanks to those airbags that don’t inflate properly. Meanwhile, a similar U.S.-Spec model performed fairly well during IIHS testing, with “Good” ratings for Moderate overlap, side impact, roof strength, head restraints, and seats, to go with an acceptable rating for small overlap testing. So, what separates the U.S.-spec and Euro-spec models? A serious lack of equipment and it proves that the blue oval has its sights on something other than safety.

The two-star NCAP rating can be blamed on the lack of safety equipment for rear passengers, semi-autonomous safety technology, and the fact that the front airbags that didn’t deploy properly. See, the Euro-spec model doesn’t get things like a forward-collision warning system or other safety features like lane-keep assist or pre-collision assist – all things that are standard or available on U.S.-spec models. There are no rear seatbelt pretensioners or load limiters which means lots of body movement for rear passengers in the unfortunate event of an accident. One child test dummy was even found to have slid under the seatbelt during a full-width frontal test while the other smacked his head on the interior trim.

So far, Ford has remained largely silent on the issue but, according to NCAP, has said that orders placed after May 2017 will be for the facelifted 2018 model that will include pre-collision assist with pedestrian protection, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, and a lane-keeping aid. It’s great that Ford wants to rectify the situation with the facelifted model, but what does the failed testing of the current model really mean?

Keep reading to connect the dots that led to this failed safety test


PostHeaderIcon Out of 15 Cars Tested by Euro NCAP, the Ford Mustang Scored Worst

The facelifted Ford Mustang did pretty well here in the U.S. when the IIHS put it through the paces at its crash test facility. It scored “Acceptable” in small overlap testing, and “Good” it moderate overlap, side collision, roof strength, and head restraints and seats testing. But, Ford fans over in Europe are stuck with the pre-facelifted model for a bit longer, as it didn’t perform all that well in Euro NCAP’s crash testing, scoring just two stars out of five when everything was said and done. In fact, out of the 15 cars recently tested by NCAP, including models like the Volvo V90 and S90 duo, the Audi Q2, Hyundai Ioniq, Suzuki Ignis, and even the SsangYong Tivoli, the 2016 Mustang was the absolute weakest link.

Now, before we get into the results, I want to make note that the Euro version of the Mustang doesn’t have all of the same equipment that’s found on the U.S. version, including things like seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters in the rear and a Forward Collision Warning system, among others, so that two-star rating isn’t completely representative of how safe the Mustang is, but it’s troubling nonetheless. Where the Mustang really failed was in relation to rear passengers, where the lack of pretensioners and load limiters play a huge role. In full-width frontal testing, rear test dummies showed significant potential for injury to the upper body, and thighs. Rear seat dummies also showed a high possibility of whiplash during a rear impact. Rear sitting children also have the potential for head injury during lateral impact and torso injury during frontal impact.

Front seat passengers saw mixed ratings during the Frontal Offset Deformable Barrier testing with the driver having adequate protection over most of their body, with the neck and thigh protection rated as good. The front passenger saw adequate protection for head and lower legs, while having good protection of the neck, torso, and thighs. During rear testing, front seat occupants received a marginal rating for whiplash protection. It should also be noted that the front driver and passenger airbags didn’t inflate properly on frontal offset testing, which also led to such a low rating. During the full-width front test, the rear passenger slid under the seat belt while the rear child dummy smacked his head on the interior trim during side impact crash testing.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Uber: The Rebels of the Self-Driving Car World

Change is inevitable, and while we may not like certain changes, we eventually get used to them and adapt accordingly. One prime example of this is self-driving cars. Right now, we’re at a turning point where self-driving cars are being tested and we, as a society, and learning more about them every day. As the years go on, they’ll get better, and will ultimately be accepted. But, some companies seem to think they can usher in a new evolution of driving without complying with certain mandates. Tesla has been under fire for some time about its process of introducing autonomy but has ultimately complied with regulations. Uber, on the other hand, seems to think that it’s beyond governmental regulation and gives the California DMV and Mayor Ed Lee, a big “F You” when it was told to cease and desist the testing of its self-driving Volvo XC90s.

Like any other company testing higher levels of autonomy on California roadways, Uber has been asked to obtain the proper permits before it can legally test its self-driving vehicles. Uber has failed to do that thus far, and it doesn’t look like it will anytime in the near future. In a recent statement, Uber said, “we respectfully disagree with the California Department of Motor Vehicles legal interpretation of today’s autonomous regulations, in particular, that Uber needs a testing permit to operate its self-driving cars in San Francisco.”

To put things simply, Uber’s argument is that since there is someone behind the wheel to take control that the car is not fully autonomous and is similar to Tesla’s autopilot technology. Of course, Uber’s autonomous XC90s don’t have this requirement, so its reasoning doesn’t exactly hold water. And, if you know the California government, you know it feels the same way. For now, the government is threatening legal action and Uber is promptly giving them the bird at every turn. And, there’s the case of the XC90 that ran a red light last week. Uber blames the person behind the wheel and has suspended them, but that seems to justify California’s request to get the necessary permits. Obviously, these XC90s can drive without the driver paying attention – otherwise, that video of the XC90 running a red light wouldn’t exist – and it also proves that Uber’s self-driving technology is far from ready to take on the roads by themselves.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon NHTSA Issues Recall Of Jaguar F-Type SVR Because Of A Suspension Bolt

Recalls happen in the auto industry far more often than most people realize. It could be any number of things affecting any kind of model, but if the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration deems it necessary, these recalls are going to happen time and time again. I say this because Jaguar has announced a recall of its most exotic model, the range-topping variant of the F-Type sports car, the F-Type SVR, over faulty suspension bolts.

Actually, the only defect is a single suspension bolt that connects the rear lower control arms to the knuckle assembly. The specifics of the defect wasn’t mentioned, only that if the bolt “fails,” the entire rear control arm assembly may separate from the car, resulting in a “loss of control and increased risk of a crash.”

There’s something sneakily hilarious about a recall for the Jaguar F-Type SVR being implemented because of a single suspension bolt, but the ramifications of not heeding the recall are certainly no laughing matter. As such, the recall for the 23 F-Type SVR affected units in the US, built between February 2016 to August 2016 US, should be treated with utmost importance.

The recall is expected to begin on December 19, 2016, although Jaguar will also notify affected owners ahead of schedule. Like always, owners are urged to bring their F-Type SVRs to their local dealerships, where the bolt will be replaced at no cost to the owner.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon A New Round Of Recalls Are Coming For Certain BMW M Models

Recalls are a hassle, but when one recall leads to another recall, that’s when things get annoying. Unfortunately, that’s the predicament certain owners of the BMW M2 Coupe, M3 Sedan, M4 Coupe, and M4 Convertible are now facing after BMW North America announced a new round of recalls for 2015 to 2017 model years of the aforementioned models, all because BMW dealerships messed up on a repair involving the rear differential during a previous recall last January 2016.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), BMW dealers used the same rear sub-frame bolts to replace the rear differential on the M cars. The problem with that is that these bolts were designed to be used only as one-time-use fasteners, as per the automaker’s own vehicle assembly process. If they’re used more than once, there’s a good chance that the “clamp force may not be achieved when torquing down the bolts,” resulting in the possibility of them loosening as they wear out. When that happens, the car’s handling and control could be compromised, which could then lead to the possibility of a crash taking place.

All told, 66 units are potentially affected by the new recall, including five M2 Coupe made from May 31 to June 20, 2016; 32 M3 Sedans manufactured from June 17, 2014 to June 13, 2016; 26 M4 Coupes built from May 2, 2014 to June 14, 2016; and three M4 Convertibles assembled from May 29, 2015 to May 27, 2016. Fortunately, no incidents have been reported concerning the condition of the affected models.

It must be said though that the NHTSA has absolved BMW dealerships of any blame for the fresh round of recalls. Apparently, BMW didn’t give specific instructions to use new rear sub-frame bolts, which could’ve led to dealership engineers using the same bolts to replace the differential.

The recall is expected to begin on October 24, 2016. In the days leading up to it, BMW will be notifying affected owners and certain dealerships of the impending recall. The latter is expected to replace the affected rear sub-frame bolts with new bolts without owners incurring any costs.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Meet the Vitronic Speed Enforcement Trailer

Vitronic is a company that specializes in what I would call traffic technology. They sell and distribute technology to assist in traffic enforcement and even things like toll and vehicle identification systems. If you live in Europe, you’ve probably seen, or maybe even fallen victim to, one of its average speed or red light enforcement solutions. Vitronic also has another speed enforcement system that you should be on the lookout for, but this one can be moved easily and will likely pop up in places you would never expect it.

The image you see above is what the enforcement trailer looks like. I know you’re probably saying “that’s not like any trailer I’ve ever seen.” And, you would be right. For starters, the wheels and tongue of this trailer tuck away and hid inside its thick outer shell – that shell is bulletproof, by the way. It can operate uninterrupted for five days, but that doesn’t matter because law enforcement can replace the batteries on site if needed. The device uses LIDAR technology to detect the speed of vehicles across multiple lanes at the same time, and sure will snap a picture of your vehicle and plate, should you violate the posted speed limit. Once a violation has been detected and a picture taken, all the available data is then wirelessly transmitted to local law enforcement.

If you think that something like this can be easily stolen or destroyed, think again. As I said before, the wheels and tongue stash away inside the bulletproof body when it is deployed. Being bulletproof means you can’t easily render it useless. Smashing into it probably won’t do much either. That leaves physical tampering, right? I wouldn’t try that either. This this is rigged to alert local law enforcement should someone try to gain unauthorized access to it. So, unless you know the ins and outs of the device itself, chances are you’ll still be neck deep trying to break in while the boys casually roll up behind you – not a good situation.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Believe it or Not, Red Light Cameras Save Lives

Automated traffic cameras have been used for more than 20 years as a way to catch those who choose to disobey traffic signals or posted speed limits. It’s nothing new, but ever since they have been put into use, it has raised privacy concerns for those who are leery of big brother watching in on them. Be that as it may, the IIHS is reporting that red light cameras do, indeed, save lives. In fact, the IIHS claims that “red light camera programs in 79 large U.S. cities saved nearly 1,300 lives through 2014.” Now that is a pretty big deal.

Adrian Lund, the President of IIHS, said, “We know we have a problem: people dying at signalized intersections because of people running red lights. We know red light cameras are part of the solution.”

IIHS reports that there were at least 709 deaths and some 126,000 injuries caused by people running red lights in 2014. Furthermore, those who disobey the traffic signals are the minority of those killed in such crashes – meaning those who have the right away are often the ones injured or killed in such accidents. In 2011, an IIHS study showed that large cities with red light camera programs in use between 2004 and 2008 saw significant decreases in per capita rates of fatal crashes at intersections with traffic signals.

The biggest problem is that some cities have been pressured to disable red light cameras over privacy concerns. As such, the IIHS has reported that those cities experienced 30-percent more fatal red light running crashes per capita. Those cities that have turned on red light cameras have seen a 21-percent drop in fatal red light crashes per capita. To put it simply, it has been found that red light camera programs – especially those that are well advertised – have a significant impact on whether or not people choose to obey traffic signals.


PostHeaderIcon Formula One Shoots Down Halo Protection For 2017 Season

Formula One bosses have shelved plans to install the halo safety device on Formula One cars, reversing the introduction of the device for the 2017 season because it would be too late to introduce it in the designs for next year’s cars and it needed more time to be tested and developed. The Strategy Group, which is made up of bosses from the top six teams, plus FIA president Jean Todt and F1 honcho Bernie Ecclestone, made the 11th hour reversal after the device was believed to be fully ready to be introduced for next season.

Not surprisingly, the Strategy Group’s decision caused a lot of uproar in the paddocks, none louder than from the F1 drivers themselves. Four-time world champion and current Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel called the about-face “stupid” before adding that “95 percent” of the drivers voted for the device to be included for the 2017 season. McLaren driver Jenson Button echoed Vettel’s statement, saying that the device is a “great solution.”

But apparently, their bosses thought otherwise, including Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who called the device “an inelegant solution.” While not necessarily speaking for the rest of his colleagues, Horner added that he preferred to have more tests done on the device to determine if it really offers the best solution in protecting the drivers heads from flying debris in an event of the crash. Another year of testing development could provide the best possible solution, or at least that’s what the Strategy Group had in mind when it shot down the device’s implementation.

That said, the halo device could still be introduced next season if the FIA deems it necessary on the grounds of safety. Such a move would not need the approval of F1 teams or Ecclestone himself. But given that Todt, being the FIA president, was one of those who decided on delaying the introduction of the device, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to exercise this power to take action and introduce the device anyway.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Evolution Doesn't Always Come with Beauty

This odd-looking person from your worst nightmare looks like something that crawled out of the bowels of Chernobyl years after the nuclear accident that rendered the area uninhabitable forever. But, he isn’t some crazy monster from the leftover ruins or even a character from a post-apocalyptic video game or movie. No, he is one artist’s interpretation of what we humans would look like if we evolved into beings that could survive insane car accidents or trauma. This neanderthal’s name is Graham, and I want to tell you a little bit about him.

See, the human body just can’t withstand high impact trauma and unfortunately the technology in our cars – enabling us to hit insanely fast ground speeds – have evolved significantly faster than we have. Graham, on the other hand, comes from a place where people smash into walls at 200 mph for fun. With that said, let’s take a look at how we need to evolve and why we would be so dog ugly.


PostHeaderIcon Americans Have a Serious Anger Problem when Behind the Wheel

Just a few days ago, AAA released findings from a study that was put in motion to determine just how angry we get when we’re behind the wheel. The study involved questioning 2,705 licensed drivers that were 16 years of age or older and had driven within the last 30 days. It might seem like nearly every road rage incident you see on YouTube comes from some other country but, as it turns out, we Americans are pretty testy people ourselves. In fact, nearly 80 percent of the drivers questioned in this study reported feeling “significant anger, aggression, or road rage” at least once in the past year.

What’s more, the study suggests that nearly eight million U.S. have engaged in “extreme” road rage, which includes actions like ramming another vehicle or engaging in a confrontation with another driver. Jurek Grabowski, the Director of Research for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said, “Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic, and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage. Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”

AAA is also suggesting the almost two out of every three drivers believe that aggressive driving is more of a problem now than it was just a few years ago. The study shows that males and those aged between 19 and 39 years of age are more likely to engine in aggressive behaviors. Those in the Northeast region of the U.S. are more likely to “yell, honk, or gesture (think middle finger) aggressively. And, those who engage in unsafe behaviors like running red lights or speeding are more likely to show aggression than those who follow all traffic laws.

If these facts sound scary, keep reading to find out what kind of estimates AAA was able to make thanks to the results of this study.

Click past the jump to see the really scary stuff!!!


PostHeaderIcon Mercedes Recalls AMG GT S In The U.S. Due To Powertrain Issues

The Mercedes-AMG GT S may be a tremendous sports car, but even it isn’t immune to the gremlin that is the automotive recall. Every car is susceptible to problems as the AMG GT S found out when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the recall of 136 AMG GT S coupe models in the U.S. because of issues with the powertrain.

According to the NHTSA, the root cause of the problem lies in the adhesive bond between the carbon fiber driveshaft and the rear flange. In the agency’s words, the bond “may fail,” which could result in the loss of torque to the rear wheels. In the event this happens, the driver may not be able to move the vehicle, or in other cases, cause a deceleration when the car is moving. This could increase the risk of a vehicular crash, a situation that prompted Mercedes to issue the recall and a stop-sale order on all the affected models.

Mercedes didn’t say whether the problem has caused any crashes, injuries, or fatalities, but it did admit that the problem came to its attention when it received a complaint in the U.S. back in October 2015 from a driver that head “noticeable noises beneath his vehicle.” Two similar cases have been reported, although those incidents happened in Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The recall is expected to begin by the end of June 2016. As such, AMG GT S owners are advised to contact Mercedes’ customer service and if it’s determined that their cars are one of the 136 affected models, Mercedes dealers will replace the carbon fiber driveshaft at no cost to the owner.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon NHTSA to introduce rear-seat test dummies in car safety tests

Rear-seat crash-test dummies are about to become a real thing after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed plans to begin using these dummies in back seats beginning in 2019. The move comes in the wake of increased emphasis being put on the safety of back-seat passengers, including children sitting in car seats. In case you’re wondering why it took this long for the NHTSA to make this move in light of the fact that its 5-Star Safety Ratings Program began all the way back in 1978, well you’re questions are as good as ours.

The truth is that equal safety attention being paid to rear-seat passengers should have been done a long time ago, maybe even as early as when the NHTSA’s ratings program started. But for one reason or another, that program only paid attention to the safety of the driver and the front-seat passenger and the advancements that have been made in that area hasn’t extended to the occupants at the back of the car.

As far as the ways on how to address the safety of rear-seat passengers are concerned, there are have been some suggestions on that front, including the use of air bags in the back, improvements to the seat belts, or developing rear seats that can also absorb shock the same way that front seats do. Even the advancements in the front seats have brought about unintended consequences for those seating behind them, including their capacity to collapse in rear-end collisions, which could lead to the seats hitting back-seat passengers, as was the case of a 16-month girl who lost her life because the front seat of the car she was in collapsed and hit her head.

Suffice to say, the NHTSA will have a tough time addressing this challenge. There have been some ideas like side-impact air bags and inflatable seat belts that have been thrown around and discussed. The use of the rear-end crash dummies could also help access key information on what steps need to be done to address the issue. For now, though, there are still a lot of unanswered questions as to how the agency would tackle the issue, and the sooner the NHTSA clears it up and presents its plan, the clearer this picture is going to be.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger Fail To Meet IIHS Crash-Test Standards

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has just put America’s most iconic muscle cars, the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Challenger, through its full battery of crash tests and announced that they all fell short of the Top Safety Pick status. To put that into perspective, all 65 2016-model-year vehicles tested up until now have achieved either the Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ ratings.

To qualify for Top Safety Pick, vehicles must earn good ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint evaluations, and have a basic front crash prevention system. To earn Top Safety Pick+, cars must score good ratings in all five crash tests and earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

According to the Institute, the Mustang came closest to earning Top Safety Pick, while the Camaro fell short in one category and lacks an available front crash prevention system. The Challenger is most in need of improvement, which isn’t surprising given that the current model is nine years old as of 2016. But despite failing to earn Top Safety Pick, all three cars scored good ratings for occupant protection in a moderate overlap front crash and side impact.

Although the IIHS doesn’t usually test sports cars, as they make up a small share of the market, the Institute decided to evaluate these models with optional V-8 engines because “they are big sellers in their class, and consumers often ask how they would perform in crash tests.” As it turns out, not so good.

To sum it up, the Challenger suffered from extensive intrusion in the lower occupant compartment and the Mustang’s roof buckled and compromised the driver’s survival space. The Camaro, which was redesigned for the 2016 model year, fared better as its cage was strong enough and showcased a low risk of injuries to the dummy’s legs, but the lack of an available front crash prevention system altered its final score.

Added in 2012, the small overlap test replicates what happens when a vehicle runs off the road and hits a tree or pole or crashes into another vehicle that has crossed the center line. In the test, 25 percent of the total width of the vehicle strikes the five-foot-tall rigid barrier on the driver side at 40 mph. The test involves a vehicle’s outer edges, which aren’t well-protected by the crush-zone structures and crash forces go directly into the front wheel, suspension system and, firewall.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Five Indian-Market Cars Fail Horribly During Global NCAP Crash Testing

It’s not a secret that the U.S. and Europe of some pretty strict safety regulations for vehicles, but there are other markets that have very low or even non-existent safety regulations for cars. One such market is the Indian market, where new car safety standards are minimal at best, with Global NCAP calling them “Clearly sub-standard” in a recent media release. And that brings me to our conversation today – the five Indian-market vehicles from Renault, Maruti-Suzuki, Mahindra, and Hyundai that recently failed Global NCAP testing.

See, in the Indian Market, airbags aren’t required, and up until October of 2017, front and side impact testing isn’t a requirement for new cars on the market. Talk about driving blind, right? Safety structures that are designed to crumple in certain areas help to eliminate injury to front adult passengers, but that clearly isn’t enough protection – especially for a market where driver’s like to do interesting stunts like drive on two wheels while rotating tires (don’t act like you haven’t seen at least one of those videos that have gone viral in the past.)

These failures in safety aren’t exactly a new problem, as Indian-market cars have been disappointing on that front for a while, but we decided to take a look at all of the videos anyway. Continue reading to the crash test videos for each Indian model that was tested, and be happy that you weren’t the test dummy.

Continue reading to learn more about the crash test results


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