Tesla’s Continuing Self-Driving Safety Issues

Recently the U.S. safety regulator stated that they are reviewing the consumer complaints about Tesla vehicles that are braking unnecessarily. This is just one item on a long list of recent issues being scrutinized by regulators about Tesla’s vehicle safety.

Elon Musk, this past May, stated that subtracting a radar sensor from the partially automated driving system would fix the phantom braking issue, an issue Tesla owners have been long complaining about.

According to the Washington Post Tesla owners who are reporting the phantom braking issue to the Highway Traffic Safety Administration hiked to 107 complaints in the past three months. Which is way up from the 34 complaints they received in the 22 months preceding this one.

The NHTSA stated that they are aware of the complaints about the problems with forward collision avoidance and they are reviewing the issue through their risk-based assessment process. The also stated that if the data warrants it, they will take immediate action.

This past October Tesla recalled almost 12,000 vehicles over beta software that caused unneeded braking and false collision warnings. The NHTSA also has been investigating the company’s driving assistant system over crashes with emergency vehicles and the option which allowed games to be played on the infotainment screen while the vehicle was driving. Tesla later subtracted this feature.

More recently Tesla recalled 53,822 vehicles in the US over concerns with the full self-driving beta software.


Global NCAP Cast Light on Lower Auto Safety Standards Around the World

The NCAP, global vehicle safety body, has again put a lens to the inequality between the safety standards Europeans enjoy and the lack of standards in low-income markets. NCAP’s data shows that this disparities account for 90% of the 1.3 million annual road deaths in the world.

As an example, the Renault Kwid, which tested poorly in India and Brazil, scored only two stars in the Global NCAP’s recent testing in its Safer Cars for Africa test even though the criteria were lower than those in the US or Europe. This even though the Kwid received upgrades like passenger and driver airbags.

The Kwid is much like the Dacia Spring Electric—this vehicle might be the cheapest mass-production electric car when it goes on sale. However, to go on sale in Europe it will need significant safety upgrades to the structure and electric safety system.

The Renault Kwid is just one example of vehicles whose lower-income markets receive vehicles made with inferior materials and at lower safety standards.


Driving Safely in High Water

To some a few inches of water may not seem like a lot, but it doesn’t take much to cause loss of control, stalling and even the sweeping away of a full sized passenger vehicle.

Spring rains often swell our rivers and streams or if intense enough flood city streets that have improper or aged drainage systems. If you often drive in an area that gets flooded by sudden downpours be vigilant during our rainy season.

Like in blizzards, it is inadvisable to drive during flood conditions unless absolutely necessary. If you find yourself driving as flood conditions occur, try to avoid flooded areas and find alternate routes. If there are no other routes it is best to seek higher ground and wait out the flooding.

Don’t attempt to cross flood water either on foot or in the car. High waters can hide dips in the road and flood waters can even wash away the entire road!

If you find yourself driving in high water and your car stalls abandon it and find higher ground. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or stalling. One foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles. This includes SUVs and pick-ups.

Uber Opens Safety Center in Brazil

Uber’s Safety Product Director Sachin Kansal said in a meeting that throughout the following five years Uber would finance an office with around 150 tech masters in Sao Paulo, where the organization gives a larger number of rides than anyplace on the planet.

The improvement focus, Uber’s first in Latin America and one of twelve around the globe, will open before the finish of 2018.

Brazil is Uber’s second-biggest national market after the United States, with 1 billion rides in the previous four years and a gainful main concern, as indicated by administrators. However the basic of tolerating money for rides as opposed to depending exclusively using a credit card and check cards has additionally brought safety challenges.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who took control one year back, has said security is Uber’s best need.

While in the United States and other created markets concerns have concentrated on the security of riders, in developing markets the risk can cut both courses, as drivers tolerating money have moved toward becoming focuses for assaults.

New devices help to affirm the character of clients without charge cards, he said. One such strategy, which requires what might as well be called a government managed savings number for a rider to pay with money, was presented a year ago after a spike in assaults.

Uber additionally enables drivers and riders to impart their areas continuously to contacts. The level of Uber clients that actuate the element is in the “high single digits,” he said.

Head-On Collision … with a Turkey?

LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Michael Kellems says he has been an officer for 31 years and has “never seen something like that.”

Kellem is referring to the very bizarre incident in which A New Jersey family traveling through northern Indiana when a 30-pound turkey crashed through their vehicle’s windshield.

Kellems says the flying bird collided with the family’s rented SUV on 3/28/2017. The unfortunate turkey was left stuck in the broken windshield as driver John Tarabocchia of Emerson, New Jersey, pulled over along U.S. 20.

Captain Kellem was happy to report that Mr. Tarabocchia and his three passengers escaped with only a few minor cuts.

Tarabocchia tells The Indianapolis Star his family was headed to a Chicago airport to return home after visiting his daughter at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend. The family was about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of South Bend.

Texas to Become Second State to Allow Motorcycles to Split Lanes?

The Victor crew came across a growing movement in the U.S. to change some particular traffic laws for motorcyclists. According to a report from MSN, Texas lawmakers will be voting on a bill to allow motorcyclists to split lanes of traffic under very specific, heavy traffic conditions.

Texas would become only the second state in the U.S. to allow lane splitting for motorcyclists after California which passed a similar bill in 2016. In California the law about lane splitting had been ambiguous before the bill.

Proponents of lane splitting often cite the high safety record of such laws which are common in Europe. In heavy traffic motorcyclists are often “bumped” by passenger vehicles in heavy stop and go traffic and lane splitting can help reduce this safety hazard. It is also known that such laws can help relieve traffic congestion by allowing motorcyclists to cut to the front of the queue. But a new point is being brought up in the argument for the Texas bill—the high heat of Texas weather combined with heavy traffic can potentially damage air cooled engines on motorcycles.

While the evidence may be in favor of lane splitting, only about 20 percent of Texas legislators are convinced it is a good move for their state.

Help for busy parents

Two dads from Minnesota, concerned about parents who leave their child in their car seats by accident, have devised an app to help prevent this.

The app is called ibabyseat. So how can this work? It starts with a magnet placed on the base of the carseat that communicates with a sensor on the detachable seat. It will communicate with the app on your smartphone. If you move 30 to 40 feet away from the car without the baby, the sensor will be set off through Bluetooth. The app can also call 911 if the parent doesn’t respond.

It will retail around $30 and will be in retailers (Target, BabiesRUs, Walmart) in October.

Honda May Face 35 Million Dollar Fine

Although automakers are required to report deaths and injury claims involving their vehicles to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automaker Honda failed to report 1,729 serious accidents that involved death or injury between 2003 and 2014. Honda blames computer programming and data entry errors.

This under-reporting could cost this automaker tens of millions of dollars.

Honda finds itself in a turbulent ocean – as the news of the under-reporting comes upon them as they deal with the recall of some 6 million cars world wide that contain the Takata airbags. Airbags that can explode and hit passengers with shrapnel. Honda has acknowledged four deaths involving the Takata airbags. Eight of the unreported seventeen hundred some accidents involved the Takata airbags.

The mistakes have come to light after NHTSA asked Honda to conduct an internal review of its reporting process.

NHTSA has not yet announced if it will fine Honda, but could fine them a maximum of 35 million dollars—a hit GM had to take for a decade long delay in reporting faulty ignition switches that were tied to at least 35 deaths. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has stated that the 35 million dollar limit amounts to little more than a “rounding error” for an Automaker like Honda who makes billions of dollars a year. His department is petitioning Congress to raise the limit to 300 million.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/24/news/companies/honda-underreport-deaths-injuries/index.html?iid=HP_LN

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012, Part II

When you start looking for a car, used or new, it helps to get some ideas about value, reliability, and safety. Here’s Jody Victor® with the second half taken from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.

Jody Victor®: Hey Joe, you are absolutely right! Having some info to go on gets you started and helps you make an informed decision when it comes to buying a new or used vehicle. Here’s the rest of the article.

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i

Price when new: $25,240 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $15,218
Private-party price: $14,068
Certified used price: $16,256
MPG (city/hwy): 20/26

The Outback offers the best of both worlds: car-like construction to aid in maneuverability and fuel economy, plus the utility of all-wheel drive, copious amounts of cargo room (34 cubic feet) and a higher stance that improves visibility. Six airbags are standard, and it was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, too.

2009 Ford Taurus Limited

Price when new: $31,495
Dealer used price: $16,634
Private-party price: $15,271
Certified used price: $17,653
MPG (city/hwy): 18/28

Just a year after Ford revived the Taurus nameplate, it added standard stability control and earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Limited trim comes with Ford’s voice-activated SYNC system, which allows you to connect music devices with USB and phones via Bluetooth, making them easier to use safely.

2008 Mazda CX-9 Sport

Price when new: $30,035
Dealer used price: $18,315
Private-party price: $16,689
Certified used price: $20,424
MPG (city/hwy): 16/22

It seats seven and has 17 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats (48 cubic feet with the third row folded down), which helped the CX-9 win Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for this model year. Safety bragging rights include an optional blind-spot monitoring system — which will alert you if there’s something in your blind spot when you attempt to change lanes — and standard stability control.

2009 Toyota Sienna LE

Price when new: $26,865 (7-passenger)
Dealer used price: $18,463
Private-party price: $16,692
Certified used price: $19,882
MPG (city/hwy): 17/23

Multiple seating configurations make this minivan family- and cargo-friendly. In the seven-passenger Sienna, the removable second row captain’s chairs can be spaced out to give your brood elbow room, or arranged as a bench for easier access to the third row. The third row is split 60/40, and the sections fold over or completely flat. Even the front passenger seat folds down, should you have serious cargo needs.

2009 Infiniti G37x AWD

Price when new: $36,615
Dealer used price: $23,889
Private-party price: $22,308
Certified used price: $26,174
MPG (city/hwy): 18/25

The G Sedan gives German sedans like the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 a run for their money, but it costs thousands less. The 2009 model got a larger, 3.7-liter V6 engine that puts out 328 horsepower, as well as a seven-speed automatic transmission — plus, it packs in essential safety features, such as head and side airbags and stability control.

 Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check them out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012

If you are in the market for a used car, you may have trouble finding one. Here’s Jody Victor® telling us about it from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Joe, sometimes a used car is the way to go, no matter what kind of vehicle you are looking for. But since the Great Recession, used cars have not been around – people are hanging on to their older cars longer. Here’s a list, in two parts, from msn.com  that will give you something to go on.

2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS

Price when new: $19,545 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $9,902
Private-party price: $8,731
Certified used price: $11,480
MPG (city/hwy): 21/30

Hyundai’s Sonata offers a thrifty 2.4-liter engine, standard stability control and six airbags. Plus, it keeps ownership costs low — the brand’s 5-year/60,000-miles new-car warranty and five-year no-charge roadside assistance transfer to new owners (they get the remainder of both). The famed 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, however, doesn’t transfer.

2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i sedan

Price when new: $18,190
Dealer used price: $12,191
Private-party price: $10,967
Certified used price: $12,859
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

Engaging driving dynamics and Subaru’s always-standard all-wheel drive are only part of the Impreza’s appeal. It garnered a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS and has side and side-curtain airbags. If a collision causes the front airbags to deploy, smart technology protects the driver and front-seat passenger. Sensors measure the driver’s proximity to the steering wheel, as well as the passenger’s weight (to determine whether a child or an adult is occupying the seat), and adjust the airbags’ force accordingly.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT

Price when new: $23,225
Dealer used price: $13,114
Private-party price: $11,937
Certified used price: $14,141
MPG (city/hwy): 22/33

With its 2008 redesign, the Malibu garnered a lot of accolades: Kiplinger’s Best New Car and Best in Class awards were just a cherry topping to the industry’s prestigious North American Car of the Year award. But to play it safe, we recommend buying a redesigned vehicle in the second year of production — the first year’s examples often have kinks to work out. For 2009, stability control became standard across the trim lineup, along with side and side-curtain airbags.

2009 Nissan Rogue S

Price when new: $21,020
Dealer used price: $14,971
Private-party price: $13,435
Certified used price: $16,123
MPG (city/hwy): 22/27

After a 2008 redesign, when we named it Best New Small Crossover, the Rogue ascended to Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for 2009. Its stylish exterior complements the value it holds inside — including a peppy 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, stability and traction control, and six airbags. Plus, it was rated a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

2008 Honda CR-V LX

Price when new: $21,370
Dealer used price: $15,135
Private-party price: $14,089
Certified used price: $16,402
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

A perennial Kiplinger’s Best New and Best Used pick, the CR-V keeps its value throughout its lifespan. It boasts fuel economy on par with a midsize sedan, but it has more than twice the cargo capacity (36 cubic feet behind the rear seats). Its standard stability control and six airbags helped win it a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor