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Posts from the ‘Safety Regulations’ Category


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.”


Uncle Sam Wants You (to Stop Driving Distracted)

The United States federal government has announced that it will spend $2.4 million to stop distracted driving in two of the nation’s lesser states: California and Delaware.

Speaking just a day or two after a teen in Massachusetts was convicted of vehicular homicide for killing another driver in a head-on collision while texting and driving, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood called this financial help a “blueprint for ending distracted driving.”

The feds will assist the two states by helping them enforce the distracted driving laws that the two states already have on their books (texting while driving was just banned in Ohio). Ten states ban all-types of hand-held phone use while driving, while 39 have some sort of texting while driving laws.


Texting while Driving to be Banned in Florida?

Lawmakers within the panhandle state are mulling over proposed legislation that will ban texting while driving just a year after similar legislation failed to pass. However, word from within the house and the senate is that opposition to this year’s proposed ban seems to be absent.

The strange thing about Senate Bill 416 is that insurance insiders are divided as to whether or not it is needed and whether or not the ban would make texting and driving any safer. Despite the lack of agreement on the effectiveness of such legislation, it is thought that unless a groundswell of opposition develops, the law will pass.

[Thanks to Auto Loans Florida for the tip!]


California Attacks Freedom, the Poor with New Car Seat Law

California law makers continued its fight against freedom and the state’s poor by passing a new car seat law at the beginning of the year.

The law, which took effect on January 1, made it mandatory for all children eight or younger or shorter than 4 feet 9 inches to ride strapped to car seats. This new naked assault on freedom supersedes the law that now seems quaint that all kids weighing fewer than 60 pounds or six-years-old or younger. Though no one from the car seat industrial complex has yet to officially comment on the new law, the rumor is that once they take a break from counting their money, they will give the law two thumbs up.  To be fair, other states have instituted similar regulations; and apparently, problems are arising with obese 7-8 year olds fitting into child car seats.

Two previous similar bills were vetoed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a man as well-known for his penchant for maids as he is for his knowledge of legislation. The California Office of Traffic Safety says that the penalty for standing up against the draconian law will be at least $479.

As of this writing, no members of the state senate or the house of assembly have spoken up in defense of the state’s poor, which, considering the Golden State’s unemployment rate is close to the nation’s highest, are legion. Lawmakers have yet to explain how they are going to assist those who are living from paycheck to paycheck come up with the cash necessary to meet the new driving requirements.

The California Highway Patrol has yet to clarify whether or not parents and guardians shall be required to travel with their children’s birth certificates and whether or not its officers, made famous by Ponch and John, will be issued bathroom scales.

California Highway Patrol

Image by javazetti


NHTSA ‘Comfortable’ With Chevy Volt Safety Changes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration feels that recent safety changes suggested and tested by General Motors should help prevent future Chevrolet Volt battery fires. The fires, that have thus far only found purchase during safety crash tests, have been such a perceived threat to GM that the automaker has recently taken the proactive step of offering loaner vehicles to owners of the plug-in vehicle.

The changes are the adding of steel reinforcement around the battery and the installation of a monitor to keep an electric eye on coolant leakage, which is thought to be the cause of the fires. Though the investigation is still open, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, speaking at the recent Detroit Auto Show, said that the agency was “comfortable” with GM’s proposed corrections.

In the four safety tests GM ran with the changes in place in December, no coolant leaked and no fires started.

2011 chevy volt

Image by swirlspice


Cars Grow More Connected As Regulators Cry Louder for Tougher Regulations

There will be 5.8 million smartphone and integrated connectivity devices embedded in new light trucks and cars in America in 2012, according to QUBE, an England-based company. From the 4.5 million vehicles in 2011 that had the same, this is a 29 per cent increase. QUBE believes that within 14 years, virtually all new vehicles will be thus connected.

Vanessa Scholfield, a telematics and connected vehicle technology analyst for QUBE, was quoted as having said, “They [the automakers] are all looking to personalize the services you receive in the vehicle.”

However, not everyone views this progress as something that is either positive or inevitable. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has recently urged for research to be done on how connectivity devices such as Bluetooth hands-free and in-car communications systems may distract drivers.

The National Transportation Safety Board goes a few giant leaps further than does LaHood with its call for all 50 states to ban the use of handheld and hand-free connected devices. Thankfully, the NTSB has no regulatory or enforcement teeth.

Some observers argue that we need to be careful about any additional regulation. Christopher King, a Stifel Nicolaus & Co. telecommunications analyst in Baltimore, said, “Restricting what drivers should and shouldn’t do behind the wheel is ‘a slippery slope,’ It’s difficult to argue that anyone should be using Facebook while driving a car. But at some level, glancing down at a dashboard is part of driving whether it’s checking speed or air conditioning or the radio.”

There is no doubt that young drivers are the most distracted; however, there is evidence that over 60% of adults used a handheld device WHILE teaching their teenagers to drive.  Like many problems, the solution starts at home.

texting while driving

Image by Writing On The Mall


Fatal Crash Leads To NHTSA Standards For Keyless Ignition

In 2009 a group of four people died in a Lexus ES 350 after a crash. Some experts believe that the fatalities would have been prevented if the keyless ignition had not required a three second touch to turn off the vehicle. That crash has led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to recommend standardization of all keyless ignition systems to shut off after a half-second button push.

The proposed standards point to drivers being unable to shutoff vehicles while they are panicked. The accident mentioned earlier prompted a recall by Toyota, but the NHTSA found that each automaker differed on the amount of time a button had to be pushed for ignition to take place or be cutoff.

Will people think to reach for the ignition button while crashing or shortly there after? Some have suggested that keys would be an answer to the issue, but wouldn’t connecting airbags and other safety equipment to the ignition be a better solution. Why can’t the engine be shut down in the event of a detected crash?


Replacing Perfectly Good Street Signs – Necessary?

Have you heard about the replacement of street signs across the U.S.? Fortunately, the Federal Government has fixed the deadline for this massive project which involves millions of dollars. As per the article below, New York City will not be able to meet the deadline, since it is projected to take 18 years to complete the million dollar project. There is a support from Obama Administration for about 46 of the proposed deadlines, but these are mainly for signs that need replacing.

Read the full article here:
Street Sign Replacement: Feds Back Off Nonsensical Deadline | Car Loans Minnesota (MN)

stop sign

Image by ladybeames


School Bus Seat Belts – a Necessary Expense?

School bus seat belts are costly, but they do indeed reduce school bus fatalities. State and local governments need decide whether or not they can spend this much money. Texas and California have already installed seat belts. Children with disabilities have greater chances for being hurt in bus accidents, and accidents are also more likely for buses loaded with rowdies (no surprise there).

Read the full article here:
Feds should reconsider school bus seat belts


Image by Fabio Mascarenhas