The recently unveiled front center airbag will be introduced by General Motors on the 2013 GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave and the Chevrolet Traverse. GM also launched a new crash avoidance system for the 2012MY GMC Terrain.
General Motors Front Center Airbag
This new airbag deploys from the right side of the driver’s seat and will position itself between the front row seats near the center of the car.
General Motors mentioned that these so-called “far-side impact crashes” accounted for 11% of the belted front occupant fatalities in the non-rollover crashes that occurred between the years 2004 and 2009, involving 1999MY or newer cars, citing the statistics provided by the NHTSA.
2012 GMC Terrain Crash Avoidance System
The aforementioned crash avoidance system for the 2012 GMC Terrain packs a single windshield-mounted camera to aid drivers avoid front-end and lane departure accidents. It uses a high resolution digital camera that is on the look for shapes of cars and lane markings, and also uses audible warnings plus a high mounted visual display for warning the driver of the car if he is too close to the car in front of him, when he is departing a lane without signaling or when a collision is imminent.
The results of a new research were made public: according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, SUV’s and pickup trucks made nowadays pose less risk to drivers in cars and minivans than their versions from the past. They aren’t more likely to be a part in a fatal crash than cars and minivans of the same weight.
In numbers, this is the situation:
- in 2000-2001, the traffic fatality rate was of 44 deaths per million registered vehicles – for the accidents involving SUV cars between 3,000 and 3,499 pounds vs. cars and minivans.
- in 2008-2009, the numbers have dropped to 16 deaths per million registered vehicles. For comparison, cars and minivans in the same weight category were involved in the deaths of other car/minivan passengers at a rate of 17 per million in 2008-09.
“Whether you’re in an SUV or just sharing the road with one. (…) Recent improvements to these vehicles are making you safer.” said Joe Nolan, the Institute’s chief administrative officer and a co-author of the study.
The researchers consider this change is the result of some improvement of cars and minivans in the area of crash protection (side-by-side airbags, advanced crash structure). To this, SUV’s bring their contribution too: their manufacturers now use front ends designed for a better alignment with those crash structures mentioned above.
It seems that starting with 2012; the Euro NCAP requirements are going to be tougher by implementing more stringent measures regarding pedestrian safety. From next year, 5-star cars will have to achieve at least a 60% score in pedestrian safety, up by 20% in comparison to this year.
As a consequence, none of the cars that they’ve tested in August would qualify for next year’s change; both the Audi A6 and the Vauxhall Ampera got a 41% score, while the Citroen DS5 obtained only 40%. The best car as far as pedestrian safety is concerned would have to be the VW Jetta, with 56%, but even this one fails to meet next year’s requirements by 4%.
All of the cars that Euro NCAP has tested this month received five starts overall, except for Kia’s Picanto model that got only four because of the fact that the Electronic Stability Control isn’t a standard feature on all the variants in all the European markets. However, the Picanto comes as standard with ESP.
The Chevrolet Orlando and the Aveo managed to show good whiplash as well as adult-occupation protection socres (95% for both of them), while the VW Golf Cabriolet, VW Jetta and the Hyundai i40 did a great job as far as child-occupation protection is concerned, obtaining 86%.
In a world obsessed with fast cars and adrenaline rushes, safety is often left at the side of the road. But, as we all know, safety on the road is absolutely paramount and, inevitably, car companies have endeavored to manufacture some of the most protective cars ever in recent years, through intensified crash-tests and advancements in technology. After all, safer cars mean cheaper car insurance. We take a look at five of them here:
The IIHS, as Hyundai proudly proclaim on their website, awarded the Sonata the ‘Top Pick’ award for safety recently. It performed impressively in terms of crumple zones at both the front and rear of the vehicle and has Electronic Stability Control, which applies intelligent braking to individual wheels on corners. This carries over into emergency braking too, since the car detects when the driver brakes hard and applies sufficient pressure to ensure that the stopping distance is kept to a minimum.
The fact that this compact car has sold so many units is a real testament to its overall safety level and reliability. A significant amount of its appeal likely comes from the fact that it is in the lower band of car insurance groups, but it has great safety features like the anti-lock brakes and full standard airbags – driver, front-side, passenger and side head curtain. Admittedly, the sedan performed better in crash-tests than the coupe did, but the Civic achieved a good overall safety rating for features such as the minimization of potential pedestrian injury by building a more malleable hood and set of windscreen wipers.
Volvo is famous for the safety of its cars and the XC60 continues to live up to that reputation. It packs a side-impact protection system, dynamic stability and traction control, and a whiplash protection feature. Moreover, it has a laser-powered City Safety System installed to anticipate accidents at less than 30 km/h, that forewarn drivers of them and prepare the car for braking.
This mini-car passed the IIHS frontal offset crash-test with flying colors, which is no surprise considering that the majority of its body is made from high-strength or ultra-high strength steel. As a result, the survival space for the driver – after a 40mph crash into a wall – was kept in a more than acceptable state. It is also one of the highest-rated vehicles in terms of roof-safety, according to the IIHS. It is popular among youngsters and first-time drivers not only because it’s an affordable mini-car, but also because it keeps the cost of student car insurance at reasonable levels.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
There is always a place for a Jeep on car safety lists. The Grand Cherokee is a sturdy, durable and altogether reliable machine with a ‘Top Safety Pick’ award to its name in 2011. Ranking consistently at the top with the IIHS and the NHTSA, having gained five out of five stars in most categories, it is the ultimate vehicle for on- and off-road safety. A total of 45 safety features, including rain brake support and an enhanced accident response system, keep occupants comfortably protected at all times.
The Nissan Leaf is the first EV in Europe that received a five star rating from the prestigious Euro NCAP organization. The car got an 89% rating for adult safety, 83% for child protection and 84% for the on-board safety-assist systems, including the speed limited and the ESC – Electronic Stability Control.
As far as the pedestrian safety is concerned, the car got a 65% rating which is pretty good in comparison to other tested models. The Leaf was able to achieve this good score thanks to its low nose design and the comparative lack of “hard points” under the hood, at least that’s what Nissan says. The automaker added that the vehicle’s 48 lithium-ion batteries, which have been installed in a special compartment located under the rear seats, “completely withstood all the impacts.”
Besides the Nissan Leaf, other cars that managed to grab all the five stars were the Volvo V60 (obtaining 100% for its Safety Assist), Peugeot 508, Citroen DS4, Ford Focus and the Lexus CT200h.
Starting with next year, three of these cars will not be able to get the five-star rating due to the reason that Euro NCAP’s pedestrian protection scores will increase from the current 40% to 60%.
Set to premiere on the 2012 Ford Focus, the new airbags have an array of features. The driver airbag will use a tether to pull in the lower part of it, in order to protect the driver’s rib cage and chest in case of a front impact.
The side airbags have also been improved, with the addition of air vents. While that may sound weird, the air vents are there to soften the blow in case of an impact. Taller inhabitants will naturally block those vents with their shoulders, increasing the effectiveness of the airbags on their own.
Last but not least, the front passenger airbag will have adaptive venting technology. Basically, the car monitors the weight of the person riding in front, and adjusts the amount of air that is required to be pumped into the airbag in case of a crash. This will prevent the airbag from actually hurting the passenger if it’s blown with too much power.
Overall, this new technology sounds mighty impressive. Hit the jump to see a video with it in action. (more…)
It seems that the struggling economy, the big number of safety campaigns and more and more safety features in new cars have had some impact in the USA.
According to a new statistic from the National High Traffic Safety Administration, the number of deaths in traffic has reached a 60-year low, with 1.13 deaths for every 100 million miles traveled.
According to the NHTSA, safer cars, more campaigns against drunk driving and in favor of seat belt usage are largely responsible for this improvement. Still, more than 30,000 people died last year in traffic accidents, while a whopping 2.4 million people were injured.
This just goes to prove that even though roads are a bit less cluttered and your car is much safer, you still need to be careful so as to not end up as just another statistic.
In case you aren’t familiar with the story, the WSJ cited inside sources that said that investigations on unintended acceleration incidents up until now cited, in most cases, driver error to be the main cause. More specifically, the drivers were pressing the gas pedal instead of the brake.
An unnamed NHTSA spokesperson immediately backfired, saying that Toyota planted that story itself, and the investigations led by the NHTSA aren’t even finished, so no information could’ve come from the federal body.
Toyota has now replied, saying that the NHTSA hasn’t revealed anything to Toyota, and that the company doesn’t have access to the findings from the NHTSA. As such, the information couldn’t have come from Toyota itself.
We still can’t say for sure who is to blame for the leak, but everything will be cleared out when the NHTSA eventually reveals its findings. Until then, you can be sure that more speculation will ensue.
House of Representatives examines regulatory bill for black box and brake override systems
After the recent incidents with Toyota models and the unintended acceleration issues, the House of Representatives tasked one of its committees to create a new bill which will require automakers to implement even data recorders (aka black boxes), as well as other safety features in their future cars.
The bill has now been passed by the committee and is up for public debate at the House of Representatives. Besides the event data recorder part, systems like brake override, pushbutton starts and even pedal placement are also regulated by the new bill.
While such features were standard on quite a few cars, the House feels like a common regulation would help investigations in car crashes and, of course, augment the safety factor. If the bill is passed, it’s onto the Senate where it can be voted and become an actual law.
Post tags: Tags: bill, brake override, event data recorder, government, house of representatives, safety, usa
Now, after the sale of the 2010 Lexus GX460 has been restarted and owners are being called in for the software fix, Consumer Reports has once again tested the SUV in its own facilities. The results should make Toyota and Lexus quite happy, as the ‘Do Not Buy’ warning has officially been lifted.
Hopefully the Japanese carmaker will be more careful with its safety tests and won’t be plagued by such problems in the future.
The new Volvo S60 is being hyped up pretty hard by the Swedish company not just for its new safety systems but also for its improved performance, through the Naughty Volvos campaign.
But seeing as how the Scandinavian carmaker is famous for its leading safety technology, people still expect the 2011 S60 to provide the best protection money can buy.
As such, the company organized a little demonstration for the collision warning system. Those not familiar with the technology should know that if the car detects you’re going to crash, it will alert you and, if you don’t respond, it’s going to brake the car for you.
As such, the company sent a new S60 towards a parked truck at 30 mph. What should have been a safety demonstration quickly went awfully wrong for the Swedish company, as the new sedan crashed into the back of the truck.
The company said that it was human error, as the vehicle wasn’t fully prepared for the test, but the video of the crash is still pretty intense. Thankfully, as you can see, the passenger compartment isn’t even scratched after the crash.
Hit the jump to see this failed Volvo S60 safety demonstration. (more…)
But what happens when a car with a like a compact people carrier, with a high center of gravity and short wheelbase isn’t fitted with ESC?
Well British consumer magazine Which? decided to find out, and lined up three such cars, the Fiat Qubo, the Peugeot Bipper Teepee and the Citroen Nemo. The models were subjected to the famous ‘Moose Test’, when a car must swerve to avoid an impact at 50 mph.
The Fiat Qubo, which has ESC as an option for diesel variants, passed the test, just barely. The Citroen Nemo however, without any ESC, failed miserably by flipping over and landing on its roof. Seeing this, Which? decided to cancel the test for the Peugeot, as the two cars are practically identical and both don’t offer ESC.
PSA Peugeot Citroen reacted and said it will implement ESC in diesel variants but gasoline ones will get the system around 2011. Check out the video of the pretty horrific Moose test of the Citroen Nemo after the jump.
Porsche recalls 2010 Panamera over front seatbelt issues
If you thought luxury carmakers aren’t subjected to recalls, you’re pretty wrong, as Porsche has just announced that it will be calling back to dealerships around 3,176 2010 Panamera super sedans over a potential defect to the front seatbelts.
It seems that when the front seats of the Panamera are in an extreme forward position, the seatbelt mount might become detached from its anchor, leading to a failure. Needless to say, if you’re in a crash, you want your seatbelt to be as secure as possible.
The fix for this problem consists of an additional anchor that will be added by Porsche mechanics in dealerships. Owners will be notified immediately and the repair will be free of charge. As of yet no injuries stemming from this problem have been reported.
Subaru presents ‘New EyeSight’ collision prevention system
It seems collision prevention systems are the next big thing at least in terms of vehicle safety. After Volvo presented its own take on this technology, Subaru has now revealed the ‘New EyeSight‘ system that will appear in its future models.
The technology uses two cameras mounted behind the rear-view mirror to detect any objects in from the car, from pedestrians to other hazards. If a potential crash is detected, the driver will be notified. If he/she does nothing, the pre-collision braking control will kick in and the car will grind to a halt.
The car will only be stopped if the difference in speed between the car and the hazard is less than 18.5 mph. If it is larger than that, the car will just be slowed down by the pre-collision system.
Another new safety feature announced by Subaru is a brake assist system which, if it detects the pedal being pressed down hard, will redirect more energy to the brakes and enable a shorter braking distance. Besides this, adaptive cruise control will become standard on Subaru vehicles, enabling them to detect the speed of the car ahead and change theirs accordingly when the cruise control is active.
When will we see these new technologies? Japanese customers will be able to order them, including the New EyeSight tech, as early as next month on Legacy models, but the rest of the world hasn’t received a concrete release date.
Toyota is on an unfortunate roll these days with bad press, as Consumer Reports, in its yearly car tests, has found the 2010 Lexus GX460 to be extremely dangerous to drive, and placed it in its infamous “Do Not Buy” list.
It seems that the big luxury SUV has a few faults with its traction control system, or in simpler terms, is too tail-happy, causing the rear of the vehicle to slide outwards at greater speeds, as if it were drifting. Because its Toyota-badged brother, the 4Runner, had no problems with the same test, Consumer Reports indicate that either the luxury model has an issue with the traction control or because too many premium features were added, the increased weight simply overcomes the power of the system.
Toyota has immediately taken action, in an effort to save its premium SUV, and has stopped the sale of all Lexus GX460 models in the USA. It will work together with Consumer Reports and try to find a solution to the tail happy SUV. If you already own a 2010 GX460, you can take it to your local dealership where a loaner car will be supplied until a solution is found.
Hit the jump to see just a video from CR showing the test and what went wrong with the tail happy 2010 Lexus GX460. (more…)