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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Safety

Transportation Secretary LaHood Says "It's Not Necessary!"

On: Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 2:38PM | By: Chris Weiss

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You don't have to be the #1 transportation authority in the United States to know that in-vehicle Facebook and Twitter are big, unnecessary advances with "potential devestating danger" written all over them. But it's nice to have him on your side.

Ever since I saw the first mention of Facebook in a car, I've been pretty fearful of the future of our roadways. What we need is fewer distractions in cars, not more distractions with possibly safer, definitely more complicated and technological form factors. We need people focusing on road signs and surrounding traffic, not on the latest viral video or "breaking" friend news. Unfortunately, the auto industry seems determined to ride the popularity of social media in selling cars. At least Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is on our team.

LaHood told the Wall Street Journal in a succinct, definitive statement: "There's absolutely no reason for any person to download their Facebook into the car. It's not necessary."

Chrysler Recalls 11k 2011 Models; Toyota Happy It's Not Them For Once

On: Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 5:47PM | By: Andrew W Davis

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Chrysler Group announced today the voluntary safety recall of approximately 11,351 2011-model-year vehicles built between April 15 and May 14, 2011 to inspect for the “presence and alignment of Steering Column Pivot Rivets.”

The vehicles involved in the recall are the Chrysler 200 (sedan and convertible) and Town & Country; the Dodge Caliber, Journey, Grand Caravan, and Nitro, and the Jeep Wrangler, Liberty, and Compass.

In its report filed June 16th, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted that “some of these vehicles may have been built with a missing or incorrectly installed steering column pivot rivet.”

Good Move/Bad Move? Nissan Launches Mobile EV Charging Station

On: Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 4:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

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In building the market's first real, mass-produced electric vehicle, Nissan bravely went where no other automakers were ready to go. And now it's going somewhere else where no other automaker has gone. But the question is: should it? 

One of the primary reasons that other automakers are focusing more on hybrids and range-extenders is range issues. Batteries can get you only a fraction of the distance of gas engines and hybrid powertrains. Now, if there was a robust electrical charging infrastructure on highways and byways, this wouldn't be as much of an issue. But since there isn't, people are basically limited to home and work charging, something that's given way to the rightful fear of getting stranded. It's called range anxiety and it's a major obstacle that electric-vehicle manufacturers face.

Apple's Iron Fist Gets It Right: No More DUI Checkpoint Apps On iTunes

On: Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 4:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

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I can't say I'm the biggest Apple fan. The company just tries to exert way too much control over its products, third-party developers building software for its products, and its customers. Imagine if your computer came from the store with all kinds of websites disabled, limiting what you could access on the Internet. In my opinion, people should be able to make decisions as to what content they can access on their own equipment.

But Apple has always maintained tight control over applications that run on the iPhone and iPad, famously banning all porn-y apps from the App Store. It reviews each app one by one, and then decides whether or not it's appropriate for the App Store—the only place to buy apps for Apple products. A little overbearing, to say the least.


NHTSA Working To Unplug Drivers From Mobile Devices

On: Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 12:57PM | By: Tim Healey

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Federal officials appear to be fed up with drivers texting and talking while driving, and they're increasing their campaign to get drivers to focus on the road.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administrator David Strickland said that the agency is continuing to study ways to get drivers to take time away from their smartphones to focus on driving.

Top Five Annoyances While Driving According To Motor Trend

On: Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 8:55AM | By: Clay Ritchings

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Motor Trend recently conducted a poll which asked readers of its Wide Open Throttle blog and Facebook and Twitter followers what factors really annoyed them while driving. I think that #4 could be avoided by not being one of the drivers on the rest of the list. Over all, it is pretty clear that we hate “Slow Drivers” according to the poll and I must agree.  Full press release from Motor Trend after the break.

Clearing Up DIY Headlight Restorations

On: Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 3:18PM | By: Clay Ritchings

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Car headlights sometimes become cloudy and less effective than they should be over time. Why? UV rays, vehicle exhaust, ozone, acid rain, chemicals, and road debris take their toll on the plastic and cause them to get cloudy. This cloudiness caused by degradation can reduce and diffuse the light going through the headlight lens. This makes it difficult to see when driving in the dark and creates an unsafe situation for many drivers; most of whom don’t even realize it’s happened. In fact, if you are out cruising at night, the odds are good that you can’t see anywhere near as well (or as far) as you could when your car was new.

This happens to all plastic headlight lenses over time, and some cars seem to experience it faster than others, depending on many, many factors. Take a walk outside and inspect your cars plastic lenses; if the car is a few years old, chances are there are visible signs of weathering and hazing. Folks who live in warm climates like me are likely to experience the problem much sooner. That is why my 2007 Nissan Sentra Spec-V is in need of some headlamp TLC.

Toyota Announces Recalls To Replace Faulty Nuts And Drive Shaft

On: Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 9:27AM | By: Andrew W Davis

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This is getting BEYOND ridiculous. Even I'm getting sick of these stories, and I'm being PAID to write them. But when you can turn Toyota's tragedy into dirty-sounding comedic gold, well, here we are.

This episode in Toyota’s ongoing series of product recalls deals with U.S. and Canadian 2001-2003 Priuses and 2011 model Venzas and Siennas with all-wheel drive.    Though I’m not old enough to be officially nostalgic about anything, I still fondly remember the days when people bought Toyotas because they DIDN’T want a car with problems. But that was then and this isn’t. Onto the dirty innuendos!

There's A New Sheriff('s Report) In Town: 2011 Cruisers Compared

On: Tue, May 31, 2011 at 1:02PM | By: Andrew W Davis

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department just revealed its "Law Enforcement Vehicle Test and Evaluation Program [for] Vehicle Model Year 2011," and it is riveting.

Buried amid its 174 very dry-reading pages—in PDF format, thank God—are many fascinating facts, including that this test program is as old as I am. Yessiree, since 1974 the LACSD has been evaluating whatever vehicles were thrown at it to separate real "Special Service/Police" vehicles from pieces of something else.

New York City Gets Creepy With Speed Limits

On: Wed, May 18, 2011 at 10:47AM | By: Chris Weiss

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Municipalities have all sorts of tricks when it comes to enforcing speed limits. Hidden police cars, flashing road signs that show your actual speed, and dummy patrol cars are just a few ways that towns get creative to get drivers to slow down.

New York City has a new one: morbid creepiness. It's building upon the radar-equipped road sign, adding a new graphic that may just creep the masses into loosening the muscles in their right legs.

Nearly 900,000 GM Vehicles Under Investigation For Faulty Fuel Gauge

On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 10:51AM | By: Chris Weiss

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Last week, AAA locations around the country reported that "out of gas" calls have spiked significantly this year, a phenomenon that's undoubtedly tied to the insane prices of gas. Well, now there's another little wrench in the fuel equation, at least for GM owners. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on Friday that it's investigating 865,000 GM vehicles for faulty fuel gauges. The gauges have caused a small percentage of owners to run out of gas.

According to its announcement, there have been 668 complaints about the fuel gauge issue on vehicles from Chevy, GMC, Buick, and former GM brand Saab. Fifty-eight of those complaints come from drivers that actually stalled out because their tank was empty even though the fuel gauge read as though they still had gas left. At least one crash allegedly stems from the issue.