The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires automakers to pass along claims of car defects from consumers. By gathering this information, the NHTSA can spot trends and determine when a mandatory recall should be initiated. While the laws requiring defect reporting are more than a decade old, the system still falls short of expectations.
The U.S. Department of Transportation includes 12 agencies dedicated to various transportation concerns. Among those agencies are the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Secretary of the USDOT, Anthony Foxx, is pushing the NHTSA to use FAA programs and culture as a model for the future. The NHTSA has been beset with controversy after two years of record highs in vehicle recalls and high profile auto defect problems. Mr. Foxx has referred to the new direction as a "proactive safety culture."
Commercial trucks in the United States come equipped with underride guards. Underride guards are the metal pieces that hang down the back end of a box trailer. The purpose of these guards is to reduce the chances of a fatality if a passenger vehicle strikes the back of the truck. Without the guard, the back of the trailer would strike many vehicles at windshield height.
The traffic fatality numbers from the first half of 2015 represent an estimated increase from the prior year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the final numbers for 2014 traffic deaths, as well as the estimate for 2015, this week. The NHTSA cited the increase in calling for renewed efforts to combat the dangerous behaviors that contribute to so many fatal car and truck accidents. With an estimated increase in both the fatality rate and total fatality numbers, 2015 is on pace to reverse a long-standing general trend of safer motor vehicle travel.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is sponsoring Teen Driver Safety Week this week (October 18-24). The NHTSA is calling on parents and guardians to do their part in keeping young drivers safe. The agency is pushing the slogan "5 to Drive" to help parents set guidelines for the teen drivers in their homes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced a plan to evaluate forward collision avoidance and mitigation (FCAM) technology. Depending on the result of that evaluation, the NHTSA may move to require FCAM devices on commercial trucks. The Truck Safety Coalition, Center for Auto Safety, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Road Safe America joined together to petition the NHTSA for such a rule last February. The Department of Transportation granted the petition this week.
A scandal uncovered by one agency has led another to consider cracking down on the auto industry. The Environmental Protection Agency recently discovered that Volkswagen carefully engineered software to skirt U.S. emissions standards. VW diesel vehicles were programmed to run differently when being tested than during normal operation. After an EPA investigation, Volkswagen could be fined billions of dollars for its actions. The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggested that the actions of VW's executives demonstrate the need for tighter regulation in the realm of safety.
Automatic emergency braking systems are a technological solution to a common type of car accident, the rear-end collision. Distracted, fatigued, impaired or infirm drivers may apply brakes too late or too softly to avoid an accident. AEB systems provide automatic braking or supplemental braking to reduce the severity of a crash or avoid it altogether. These systems are not standard features on new vehicles at this time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently took steps to encourage the technology, without going through the process of making it a federal requirement.
Choosing a Motorcycle Helmet
Most parents are aware that their children need to be placed in car seats when they are young. Finding and installing the right car seat is not as easy as it sounds. Other decisions, such as when to turn a rear-facing car seat around, when to switch to a booster seat and when to allow your child to ride with just a normal seat belt are also not necessarily straightforward. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers advice to parents and guardians looking to make the safest choices for kids. They offer several tips to make the decision-making process easier.