Entries in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (3)


Feds Want 'Black Boxes' in New Cars, But Who Will Be Tracking You?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would like to make it mandatory for automakers to install a so-called "black box" in all new cars and light trucks.

The devices, also known as event data recorders, have long been used by investigators to discover the root cause of commercial airplane crashes. In recent years however, automakers have quietly begun installing similar products in more and more cars.

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray of Massachusetts found out the hard way last year.

He crashed a car he was driving and claimed to police that he was wearing a seatbelt and was not speeding at the time of the crash.

However the black box installed in his car revealed to police he was actually driving unbelted while travelling faster than 100 mph. Police issued a $555 ticket to Murray as a result.

The data recorders track a number of items, including vehicle speed, whether a driver tried to step on the brakes before a crash, information about engine throttle, air bag readiness before a crash, and whether seat belts were buckled.

The NHTSA believes the data the black boxes could collect will save lives in the future by providing a broader picture of why and how crashes occur.

"A broader EDR requirement would ensure the agency has the safety-related information it needs to determine what factors may contribute to crashes across all vehicle manufacturers," NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said.

Consumer and privacy advocates do not disagree there are many potential benefits from the devices, but insist that proper safeguards be put in place to prevent your car from turning into a spy of sorts for insurance companies that may want to raise your rates.

"There are important safety concerns here and they shouldn't be ignored, but there are also pressing privacy concerns," said Chris Calabrese of the American Civil Liberties Union. "Chiefly, who's going to access this information and how long is it going to be collected? I'd make sure that the owner of the vehicle controls the data."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Chrysler Recalls Nearly 210,000 Jeep Liberty Vehicles

PRNewsFoto/Chrysler Group LLC, Lily Kesselman(WASHINGTON) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Wednesday a recall of nearly 210,000 Chrysler Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicles because of corrosion issues.

Chrysler is recalling the vehicles because winter road salt may cause excessive corrosion in the rear suspension which could result in the loss of vehicle control and accidents.

The company says the affected models include 2004 and 2005 Liberty SUVs manufactured between July 2003 and July 2005. The affected vehicles, Chrysler says, were sold in at least 20 states.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GM Offers Loaner Cars to Volt Owners Amid Battery Malfunction Probe

General Motors(DETROIT) -- General Motors announced Monday it would be loaning out vehicles to the more than 5,000 Chevy Volt owners as it probes a possible malfunction with the electric car's battery packs.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration drew attention to problems with the 400-pound battery pack that could potentially catch fire days or weeks after the car was involved in an accident.

After crash tests performed by the NHTSA, the lithium-ion battery pack either caught fire or began smoking and shooting out sparks.

In a statement, Mark Reuss, the president of GM North America, said that "even though no customer has experienced in the real world what was identified in this latest testing of post-crash situations, we're taking critical steps to ensure customer satisfaction and safety."

"Our customers' peace of mind is too important to us for there to be any concern or any worry," he added.

Reuss said any Volt owner with safety concerns can request a free loaner vehicle from the automaker while it works on resolving the issue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio