The Governments Deadly Secret: Hands-Free Cell Phones No Less Distracting Than Handheld Devices

While driving on the highways in the New York metropolitan area, have you noticed that when the overhead highway electronic traffic signs have no traffic jams to report, they warn that only hands-free devices can legally be used? While happy to not have to deal with a traffic jam, who knew that this seemingly friendly advice was false – that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) withheld data showing that drivers talking on their cell phones experience the same potentially deadly distraction whether they are using a handheld device or hands-free technology.

Records obtained by consumer advocacy groups Public … Read the rest

Microcars and Minicars: Crash Tests Show Occupant Safety Unduly Compromised

Occupants of smaller cars are at increased risk in all kinds of crashes, not just ones with heavier vehicles, according to The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety. Almost half of all crash deaths in minicars occur in single-vehicle crashes. Even if all cars became smaller and lighter, the result would be to afford less occupant protection fleetwide in single-vehicle crashes. The death rate per million 1-3-year-old minis in single-vehicle crashes during 2007 was 35 compared with 11 per million for very large cars. Even in midsize cars, the death rate in single-vehicle crashes was 17 percent lower than in minicars.… Read the rest

Traffic Deaths On U.S. Roads in 2008 Reached A Record Low While Seat Belt Use Continued To Climb

The number of traffic deaths on U.S. roads last year reached a record low, while seat belt use continued to climb, the U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced April 6, 2009. Based on a statistical projection, in 2008 the fatality rate in motor vehicle traffic crashes is estimated to have dropped to 37,313 a 9.1-percent decline from the 41,059 fatalities reported in 2007. The actual count of fatalities will be reported in August 2009.

Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2008 dropped by about 3.6 percent to 2,922 billion miles. The … Read the rest

Recall of 31,392 Britax Frontier Child Restraints Highlights Importance of Signing-up for Automatic Updates

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is alerting consumers of a recall involving 31,392 Britax Frontier™ child restraints that could fail to properly secure young passengers in the event of a vehicle crash. Britax is recalling these child seats because the harness straps may detach from the metal yoke on the back of the child restraint if repeatedly loosened one strap at a time. This clearly appears to have potentially fatal consequences.

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for children and adults, age groups 1 to 34. But NHTSA officials note that it is harder for … Read the rest

New Data Show Drinking Age Laws, Motorcycle Helmets, Frontal Air Bags, Child Safety Seats and Seat Belts Saved 30,235 Lives Over 5 Years

Minimum 21-year-old drinking age laws prevented an estimated 4,441 drunken driving deaths in the last five years alone, according to a new report released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In addition to estimating lives saved due to 21-year-old minimum drinking age laws, the new NHTSA study shows the number of lives saved by motorcycle helmets has risen sharply in recent years, paralleling an increase in motorcycle use. Agency estimates indicate that lives saved by helmets rose from 1,173 in 2003 to 1,784 in 2007.

For the five-year period ending last year, fully 7,502 lives were spared because … Read the rest

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Tests Vehicle Passenger Safety in Rollover and Rear-End Accidents

Rollover crashes constitute 3 percent of passenger vehicle crashes, but about one third of the fatalities. Injuries can occur even if there is minimal roof deformation after a crash. At other times vehicle occupants are unharmed even if there is significant roof deformation. A recent study performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has demonstrated the inadequacy of the proposed federal rule to increase a vehicle’s roof strength from 1.5 times to 2.5 times the weight of a car.

The study concludes that 212 of the 668 deaths involved in rollover accidents in 2006 could have been … Read the rest

June Through August is the Deadliest Time of Year for 15-Passenger Van Occupants

New research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found June through August to be the deadliest time of year for 15-passenger van occupants, due to rollover crashes. Statistics show that 31 percent of fatal rollovers involving 15-passenger vans occur during the busy summer travel months.

The NHTSA also emphasizes that conventional 12 to 15-passenger vans cannot be used as school buses because they are not certified to carry students on a regular basis, and thus cannot be sold or leased as new vehicles to carry students on a regular basis. NHTSA data shows a significant increase … Read the rest

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Seeks to Increase Dealer Compliance with Required Tire Registration

It has been the law for years that when a purchaser/lessor of a vehicle with new tires takes possession of the vehicle that the dealer must provide a tire registration card to the purchaser/lessor and instruct the purchaser/lessor to mail the registration card to the tire manufacturer.

Nonetheless, it is estimated that only approximately 10% of tires are registered due to the perceived burdensome nature of filling out and mailing the cards. Now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed new rules allowing this to be done on-line or electronically by the dealer. The goals of the proposal … Read the rest

Now You Can Receive Alerts of Recalls of Tires and Child Car Seats By E-mail or On Your Personalized Homepage

Consumers can now sign up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to receive automatic e-mail alerts when there is a government recall of defective tires or child restraint safety seats. Before this alert system, consumers had to rely on press reports or, if they filled in and then mailed the registration card when buying a tire or car seat, a notice from a manufacturer to learn about recalls.

Recall completion numbers indicate that fewer than one-third of affected consumers respond to tire recalls, while less than half of affected consumers respond to child seat recalls.

By contrast, … Read the rest