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NHTSA looking into legality of smartphone maps while driving

nhtsa smartphone maps

Laws on the books to stop texting or talking on a cell phone while driving are nothing new, in fact I know a guy who just got slammed with five points on his license for doing it. But laws regarding cell phone use while driving leave a gray area, GPS and map aids, programs not within the spirit of the laws when they were made and an uncertainty for courts.

The government is looking to change that.

The Transportation Department has asked congress to give them the ability to regulate map aids and devices as part of their ongoing battle with 'distracted driving.' The measure is part of the GROW AMERICA proposed transportation bill, and would give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration free reign to set restriction and limits on apps and down the line demand changed to any it deems dangerous.

What does this mean in a practical sense? Apps for maps might start to look like the built in GPS system in your car, where some models make you press a button acknowledging that you will not set the device while the car is moving. It might mean that telling the court you were just checking your map won't get you off.

The measure has support from automakers who have already built those safeguards into their GPS devices. Regulatory agencies maintain that they already have the authority to regulate these apps as vehicle equipment, and only want it written into law.

That means they don't have the authority or they would not be demanding it from congress.


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Can the NHTSA make cars safer with mandatory backup cameras by 2014?

A few nights ago I found myself, along with two of my friends, shooting the breeze at a local watering hole. All of us come from different walks of life and hold different views on politics and social matters; but our love of good food, cars, and company puts all that aside. If you put us together for an extended period of time, one of us is doomed to end up in a hospital because of another, but it’s all fun and games.

Mid-way into the evening, my friend mentioned that he’s in the market for a new pistol. The other guy highly opposes guns. The bartender chimes in with his two cents, stating knifes kill people, cars kill people, and since people die in hospitals, the hospitals must be killing people, too. With these two bickering back and forth, it got me wondering just how many people get injured, or killed, on a yearly basis due to getting his by a car and how that compared to gun fatalities. Recently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a bill that would require all automotive manufacturers to include a backup camera in all vehicles by 2014. However, this wouldn’t come out of the manufacturers pocker, as the expense is passed on to the consumer. It would end up raising the cost of a vehicle by about 200 bucks. It's a small price to pay, and would more than likely save a bunch of lives.

Click to continue reading Can the NHTSA make cars safer with mandatory backup cameras by 2014?

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GM providing loaner vehicles to Chevy Volt owners while fire risk is evaluated

Chevy Volt fires

Executives at General Motors defended the 2012 Chevrolet Volt as safe, even as the National Highway Traffic Safety Association began a formal safety investigation into the vehicle's safety.

As the NHTSA conducts its investigation, Chevrolet will provide any current owner with a loaner vehicle until the agency concludes its investigation, the automaker said. Those who want a loaner can contact their Volt advisor to arrange for a trade-in.

"A vehicle loan program of this nature is well beyond the norm for a preliminary investigation, and it underlines our commitment to the vehicle and its owners," Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, said in a statement. "These steps are the right ones to take regardless of any immediate impact on our operations."

The Chevrolet Volt has been perhaps the most highly publicized effort by an American carmaker to develop a hybrid vehicle. The Volt's appeal, in hands-on tests, is that the car can go a rated 35 miles on electricity alone before shifting to a gas-powered electric generator that can add hundreds of miles to its range. The Volt uses lithium-ion batteries to store a charge. It qualifies as a low-emissions vehicle that will be able to drive in California's HOV lanes, even with just the driver in the car.

Click to continue reading GM providing loaner vehicles to Chevy Volt owners while fire risk is evaluated


NHTSA Tests Illusional Speed Bumps

Posted by Sheila Franklin Categories: Science, Transportation

Speed BumpsThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is testing a fake speed bump to see if drivers will slow down. The optical illusion looks like a 3-D pyramid when seen from a distance. The first experiment in Phoenix seemed to work until drivers realized that there were no barriers. This time the NHTSA will run a larger test in a Philadelphia residential area, hoping that they will reduce pedestrian accidents. The markers only cost $60.00 to $80.00 apiece as opposed to real speed bumps which can run $1,000.00 to $1,500.00. At least they are acting reasonably about the devices that they realize will probably have only the same effect as flashing lights.

Read More | CNN

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