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Posts from the ‘News and Statistics’ Category


2013 Chevrolet Impala: Will it Kill Your Kids?

We like our cars. We like our kids. The question we have is, shall they ever intertwine? Unfortunately, they shall, for we’ve got to get our children from here to there and back again. There’s just no getting around that… well outside of sealing them into the basement with a television and a PlayStation, but that’s a decision they can make on their own.

No more can we transport the tykes from place to place in the back of the pickup next to the Labrador. No, these days, kids are cherished. Freedom, not so much. 

So, a whole army of Chevrolet Impala owners are eager to know, “Will their 2013 Chevrolet Impala kill their kids?” The short answer is, probably not. Well, not at any quicker rate than any other full-sized sedan. Sure, it may frustrate parents who have to install a child-safety seat into the center seat due to the anchors being somewhat swaddled beneath the seat cushions. However, according to, the average driver will be able to install a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat, and a Graco high-back TurboBooster seat to any of the three rear seats while leaving enough room in front for a six-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger.


Minivan Lift-Gate Struts Under Investigation

U.S. auto safety regulators are trying to find out which vehicles may have been fitted with possibly-failure-prone gas-filled struts on rear lift gates.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made a filing saying that gas struts made by Germany-based Koblenz have already been the cause of four previous recalls impacting around 276,000 minivans sold in America. The concern is that the struts that support and lower lift gates could suddenly spring a leak that could lead to an injury if the lift gates drop unexpectedly.

The previous recalls have been for the 2004-2006 Mercury Monterey, the Honda Motor Co. Odyssey for model years 2005, 2008 and 2009, the 2004-2006 Ford Freestar, the 2008 Toyota Sienna, and the 2004 to 2006 Toyota Motor Corp. Sienna.


MIT Study: READING KILLS (While Driving)

A new study from MIT AgeLab and Monotype has discovered that reading kills. The white coats looked into how different typefaces on dashboard navigation systems affected drivers and their ability to pay attention to the task at hand: driving safely while texting and keeping the kids from poking at one another. 

It turns out that fonts that are more difficult to read can lead to more accidents. The researchers had “square grotesque” font battle “humanist” font. In the study, folks reading the grotesque font had to look at the navigation longer since the font is made up of tightly spaced letters that tend to blend together. About this finding, one lab rat said, “difference in glance time represents approximately 50 feet in distance when traveling at U.S. highway speed.”

The researchers refused to comment on their study of the notorious wingding font or the allegations that all of the study’s subjects had been killed during that part of the research.


Motorcycle Lane Sharing Laws: Save Lives

A recent report released by the California Office of Traffic Safety titles “Motorcycle Lane Share Study Among California Motorcyclists and Drivers 2012” makes the case that motorcycle sharing laws can effectively reduce motorcyclists’ deaths.

The report found that more than three-quarters of the riders surveyed do lane share on freeways, while 64% do the same on urban multi-lane roads. The positive news is that 84% of the riders surveyed have never had an interaction with a car while lane sharing and of those who have only a small percentage were injured. This highlights one of the advantages of lane sharing, it prevents rear end accidents. The last main takeaway from the riders is that only 1% of them had been given tickets for law sharing. 

Car drivers meanwhile are less in the know about lane sharing. Nearly half of the drivers in California did not know that lane sharing was legal. Only 5% of the drivers reported that they had had an contact event with a lane-sharing motorcyclist, with most of those just being a mirror contact or a minor scraping.

The report summarizes that lane sharing saves lives since it gives motorcyclists more avenues of escape while they are using unoccupied sections of the roads and helps keep them from being rear ended.

According to Motorcycle Consumer News, California needs to be a part of any lane sharing studies since it is the only state where motorcycle lane sharing is allowed and also a state with a long motorcycle riding season.


Less Than 30% Luxury Sedans Pass New Insurance Crash Test (!)

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has created a new insurance automobile crash test that is tougher and may, according to one automaker, go too far.

The complaints, it turns out, may have some validity. After all, of the 11 luxury sedans that have sat the IIHS new front crash test, only three passed: the Volvo S60, the Infiniti G Series and the Acura TL. The others failed due to many of their safety features failing to act properly. 

The test has the cars slamming their driver’s sides into a soft wall at 40 miles per hour. This is a new type of test. Automakers have been making cars that could pass the head-on collision tests. Talking about this new type of sideways test, Adrian Lund, head of the IIHS, said, “These are severe crashes, and our new test reflects that. Most automakers design their vehicles to ace our moderate overlap frontal test and NHTSA’s full-width frontal test, but the problem of small overlap crashes hasn’t been addressed. We hope our new rating program will change that.”


Warm Weather Killing Drivers: NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator is blaming warm weather for the increase in traffic deaths during the first three months of the year. The NHTSA says that traffic deaths jumped by 13.5% during this three-month period to reach its highest point since 2008. The rate of increase for the quarter is the steepest since 1979 and the second highest since the NHTSA started tracking road deaths per quarter in 1975.

For the first quarter of 2012, there were a 1.1 deaths for every 100 million miles traveled, which means that you are completely safe as long as you don’t drive more than 99,999,999 miles in a quarter. In total, 7,630 folks died on American roads this quarter, a solid increase from the 6,720 who died for the same quarter in 2011.

The NHTSA pointed out that an unseasonal warm quarter led to more people on the roads, which led to more accidents and deaths.


Big Brother Expands Probe of Chrysler SUVs to More than 5 Million

The federal government has expanded its lookie-see into the question of whether or not the fuel tanks within 5.1 million Chyrsler SUVs are a serious fire risk. This move expands the probe into 3 million 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees that started in August 2010. Now, the investigation covers 1993-2001 Jeep Cherokees and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty’s as well.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that it has received reports that 15 deaths and 41 injuries could have been caused by the fuel tanks and rear impact crashes. Talking about these fiery numbers, the NHTSA said in a statement it has found that Chrysler models show “a higher incidence of rear-impact, fatal fire crashes for the Jeep products. [Our investigation is exploring the fact that] “the fuel tank is located at the rear of the vehicle, between the bumper and axle, and is manufactured from a plastic material.”

This is a tough turn of events for Chrysler, who were enjoying their best sales in 5 years.


Cops Hunting Seatbelt Fakers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that seatbelt fakers have best be on guard, for the long arm of the law is reaching for them and their lack of seatbelt-buckling skills.

The NHTSA says that the more belts are clicked, the fewer that ghosts will be given up. In fact, according to the administration, 3,341 lives would have been saved if all passengers five and older had worn seat belts in 2010. In a press release, the NHTSA said, “this year’s Click It or Ticket crackdown is specifically targeting drivers who try to fake it. “Our new ad campaign focuses on a move known as the ‘fake-a-roony’ — quickly and momentarily pulling your belt across your chest when driving past a police car.”


Summer Is Deadliest Time For Teens

Summer is the best time of the year for most teens: school is out, they are able to spend more time with friends, and there are so many things to do. Unfortunately, it is the deadliest time of the year for teen drivers. On average, 422 teens die in motor vehicle accidents each month during the summer. Here are a few things that you can do to minimize the chances that you will get that dreaded phone call or visit from the police.

  • Talk to your teen about distracted driving. Texting while driving seems to be front-and-center currently, but there is more to distracted driving. Having a car full of teens is distracting. Blasting their favorite music is a distraction. There are many distractions. Talking to your teen could encourage them to reduce the number of distractions in their car.
  • Your teen does not have to be the driver to die in an accident. Talk to them about calling you if they feel unsafe at any time. Stress that you will be there no matter what at any time of the day or night.
  • Talk to your teen about driving under the influence. Alcohol or drugs kill more teens in vehicles than anything else. Your teen needs to know that even if you are going to be angry with them for getting drunk or high, you will protect them. Doubly stress that they should never get in the vehicle with someone else who is under the influence.

As a parent, the most you can do is keep the lines of communication open with your children. Start by setting an example. Do not do things that you do not want your children to do. Talk to them frequently, even if you are ignored most of the time, some things will get through.

Thanks go to Insurance for Teen Drivers for these tips.


NHTSA Investigating the 2012 Fisker Karma Fire in Texas

Man. If it wasn’t for bad news, Fisker Automotive wouldn’t get any news whatsoever. The latest blow for the costly electric vehicle maker is that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened up a field inquiry into the infamous Texas 2012 Fisker Karma fire.

It was only in early May that a parked Fisker Karma luxury sedan may have started a house fire in the Lone Star State. Though Fisker Automotive initially said that it had “not ruled out possible fraud or malicious intent,” it is now saying that it will not comment further until all of the facts have been laid out. Regardless of the finding, it is never good for a company’s first words to be so blatantly defensive. 

Also, though not mentioning Fisker by name, NHTSA director of vehicle safety compliance Claude Harris said, “We are conducting an ongoing field inquiry for an EV incident in Texas. We are still engaged in that activity, and no determination has been made at this time.”