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Motor Vehicles 335 articles

Automakers Miss Takata Airbag Repair Deadline

The deadline for automakers to replace recalled Takata airbags has long passed, yet millions of cars with the potentially deadly devices remain on the road. In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) set a target date for recalled Takata airbags to be replaced by the end of 2017, yet 42 percent of the recalled repairs haven’t been made. The missed deadline prompted NHTSA acting director Heidi King to send a letter to all automakers affected by the recall. “I am deeply concerned that, despite this progress, millions more vehicles with defective Takata airbag inflators remain on the roads,” ... Read More

Tesla on Autopilot Slams into Tractor-Trailer in Utah

The driver of a Tesla Model S that slammed into the back of a firetruck in South Jordan, Utah, while traveling at 60 mph said the vehicle was operating in autopilot mode. The 28-year-old driver, a woman from Lehi, Utah, told crash investigators that the Tesla Model S was operating in autopilot – a semi-autonomous mode with crash-avoidance technology – when it collided with the firetruck. Eyewitnesses said the car never slowed down or swerved before impact. Incredibly, the woman escaped the high-speed crash with only a broken ankle, USA Today reports. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose company faces growing ... Read More

Waymo Autonomous Vehicle Crashes In Arizona

Autonomous vehicle manufacturer Waymo and Chandler, Arizona authorities are investigating a crash between a self-driving minivan and a Honda sedan Friday, April 4. The Chandler Police Department said that an autonomous Chrysler Pacifica belonging to Google’s self-driving car unit Waymo was hit by the Honda. According to auto blog Jalopnik, the Honda swerved to avoid striking a third vehicle but the evasive maneuver put it in the path of the Waymo van, which was driving at a low rate of speed. The two vehicles collided, injuring the driver of the autonomous van. According to the Chandler Police Department’s crash report, ... Read More

Is Autonomous Vehicle Bill In Jeopardy After Self-Driving Crashes?

For the manufacturers of autonomous vehicles, the recent Uber and Tesla crashes probably couldn’t have come at a worse time. Driven by ambitious financial goals, autonomous vehicle manufacturers are engaged in a race to get their self-driving vehicles on the road. Generally, the automakers have enjoyed healthy support among U.S. and state politicians and a new regulatory and legal framework to accommodate self-driving cars was making swift progress. But on March 18, an autonomous Uber SUV struck and killed Elaine Herzberg, 49, as she was walking her bike across the street in Tempe, Arizona. Although the car had a human ... Read More

NTSB Boots Tesla From Model X Crash Investigation

Federal investigators have taken the rare action of removing Tesla as a party to an ongoing investigation of the fatal March 23 crash of a Tesla Model X in Mountain View, California. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that Tesla Inc. violated investigative protocol by releasing information pertaining to the crash probe before it was vetted and approved by the NTSB officials. “Such releases of incomplete information often lead to speculation and incorrect assumptions about the probable cause of a crash, which does a disservice to the investigative process and the traveling public,” the NTSB said in a statement. ... Read More

Car in Deadly Rollaway Under Open Recall For Gear Problem

An auto recall repair would have prevented the accidental death of a 24-year-old father in Indianapolis, Indiana last month, who drowned after pulling his 3-year-old daughter out of a sinking Pontiac G6. Anthony Burgess put the 2008 Pontiac G6 in park and stepped out of the car to talk to a friend at an apartment complex. His young daughter stepped out of the car. He told her to get back in. Moments later, the car was rolling backward into a frigid pond with the girl inside. Mr. Burgess and his friend chased the car into the water. A witness on ... Read More

57 Million U.S. Cars on Road With Unrepaired Safety Defects

Nearly a quarter of all vehicles on U.S. roads are under an open safety recall, according to a new Carfax study, indicating millions of motorists are at risk of injury and death by driving vehicles with an unrepaired auto defect. Carfax, which operates the world’s largest vehicle history database, says that more than 57 million vehicles in the U.S. are under an open safety recall. That means problems such as faulty airbags, gear shifters, ignition switches, steering wheel assemblies, electronics, and a spectrum of other defects have the potential to cause harm, even years after the vehicles were recalled. The ... Read More

Tesla on Autopilot Rams Highway Barrier, Killing Driver

Tesla has confirmed that the driver of a Model X who was killed in a violent highway crash in Mountain View, California, March 23 had his hands off the wheel and the SUV’s Autopilot engaged for several seconds before slamming into a barrier at 70 mph. Computer logs recovered from the wreckage show that Wei Huang, a 38-year-old Apple engineer and father of two, had his hands off the steering wheel for six seconds as he traveled along highway 101 toward a carpool lane on 85. A highway barrier separated the interchange, and the automated Tesla vehicle drove straight into ... Read More

Uber Quickly Settles Self-Driving Car Death With Victim’s Family

The husband and daughter of a woman struck and killed by a self-driving Uber SUV in Arizona earlier this month have reached an undisclosed settlement with the company. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was walking her bike across the street in Tempe on the night of March 18 when a self-driving Uber car with a human backup “safety driver” behind the wheel hit her. She was the first person to be killed by a self-driving “autonomous” vehicle. Although Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir said video footage of the deadly collision indicated it was “unavoidable,” critics have questioned why the Uber vehicle’s sensors failed to detect ... Read More

Takata Whistleblowers Split $1.7 Million Award

Three whistleblowers who were instrumental in alerting U.S. authorities to the risks of Takata’s deadly airbag inflators will share an award of $1.7 million, a sum that could grow substantially larger once legislators determine the mechanics of a new auto whistleblower law passed in 2015. The whistleblowers were all former employees of Takata Corp., the Japan-based automotive supplier that manufactured tens of millions of airbags with highly unstable inflators. The dangerously defective airbags were installed in cars, trucks, and SUVs made by 19 automakers Lawyers for the three whistleblowers said the men provided extensive assistance and information that prompted the ... Read More