January 26, 2011
New Legislations Proposed
2012 Ford Focus to Offer New Safety Features
Ford safety engineers in the U.S. and Germany crash tested the new 2012 Ford Focus more than 12,000 times
in real and virtual worlds to prove out new technologies designed to protect occupants in crashes.
The Focus offers a suite of new safety innovations, which includes Ford's next-generation driver-front airbag
with enhanced chest protection technology. The Focus also will be Ford's first car to feature front passenger
airbags with adaptive venting technology that diverts some of the gas from the air bag inflators through vents
outside of the airbags. In addition to the new airbags, the new Focus' vehicle structure provides improved
crash protection with a B-pillar reinforcement, a key structural part made from ultra-high-strength steel
produced using the "tailor rolling" process, according to Ford. The Ford Focus also features a suite of advanced
active safety technologies, including: AdvanceTrac with electronic stability control, anti-lock braking system
(ABS) and traction control; LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) System ; Three-point, height-
adjustable seat belts for each passenger; height-adjustable, Belt-Minder system and pretensioners in the front
outboard seating positions
Ford to Complete Rear Camera Roll-out on Nearly All Models
Ford Motor Company will complete the roll-out of its innovative rear view camera system that will be available
on nearly all Ford and Lincoln models by the end of 2011.
Ford's system uses an exterior camera embedded in the rear of the vehicle that sends images to a video
display in the rearview mirror or the navigation system screen to help enhance visibility directly behind the
vehicle when the driver is in reverse. The rearview mirror system allows customers a choice in systems.
Ford's system will be offered on most of its full-size pickups, vans and crossovers - including the new 2011 Ford
Explorer - with the added benefit of helping truck owners align and hitch trailers
Toyota Launches Safety Research Center
Toyota announced it is launching an advanced safety research center that will collaborate with leading North
American universities, hospitals, research institutions, federal agencies and other organizations on projects
aimed at reducing the number of traffic fatalities and injuries on America's roads.
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Toyota's new Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) will be based at the Toyota Technical Center (TTC) in
Ann Arbor, Mich., and will involve Toyota researchers and engineers from North America and Japan. The
company estimates that it will commit approximately $50 million over the next five years to fund CSRC.
The collaborative research will pursue integrated ways to enhance safety, involving the vehicle, driver and
traffic environment, Toyota said. Initial areas of focus will include reducing the risk of driver distraction and
helping to protect the most vulnerable traffic populations, including children, teens and seniors
Top Safety Picks 2011-Announced by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
Large Cars Mid Size Cars Small Cars Midsize SUVs Large SUVs Small SUVs
Buick LaCrosse Audi A3 Honda Civic Dodge Journey Volkswagen Honda
4-door models (except Si) Touareg Element
with optional ESC
Buick Regal Audi A4 sedan Mitsubishi Lancer Audi Q5 Hyundai
sedan (except 4-wheel Tucson
BMW 5 series Chevrolet Malibu Kia Forte sedan Subaru Tribeca Jeep Patriot
(except 4-wheel with optional
drive and V8) side torso
Cadillac CTS Chrysler 200 Kia Soul Volvo XC60 Subaru
sedan 4 door Forester
Hyundai Genesis Dodge Avenger Nissan Cube Volvo XC 90 Volkswagen
Ford Taurus Hyundai Sonata Scion xB Cadillac SRX Kia Sportage
Lincoln MKS Mercedes C Class Subaru Impreza 2010- Chevrolet Equinox
11 models (except WRX)
Volvo S80 Subaru Legacy Toyota Corolla Ford Flex
Infiniti M37/M56 Subaru Outback Volkswagen Golf 4- GMC Terrain
(except M56x 4- door
Mercedes E class Volkswagen Jetta Chevrolet Cruze Jeep Grand
coupe sedan Cherokee
Toyota Avalon Ford Fusion Scion tC Kia Sorento
built after March 2010
Mercedes E class Volkswagen Jetta Volkswagen GTI 4-door Lexus RX
Kia Optima Lincoln MKT
Volvo C30 Toyota Highlander
Lincoln MKZ Toyota Venza
Hyundai Santa Fe
To win the IIHS award, vehicles must earn the top rating of "good" for front, side, rollover and rear impact
protection and have electronic stability control (ESC).
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New Legislations Proposed
President Signs Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act
President Barack Obama signed into law the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act (S. 841), which will require
automakers to add audible alerts to silent-running electric vehicles. The bill is designed to protect pedestrians
from injury as a result of silent vehicle technology.
Because pedestrians with vision loss cannot locate and evaluate traffic using their vision, they must listen to
traffic to discern its speed, direction, and other attributes in order to travel safely and independently. Other
people, including pedestrians who are not blind, bicyclists, runners, and small children, also benefit from
hearing the sound of vehicle engines. New vehicles that employ hybrid or electric engine technology can be
silent, rendering them extremely dangerous in situations where vehicles and pedestrians come into proximity
with each other, according to the National Federation for the Blind.
Government Requires Side Air Bag Improvements to Protect Motorists in Rollover Crashes
New cars and trucks will need to have larger and stronger side air bags to prevent motorists from being tossed
out of their vehicles in rollover crashes.
The Transportation Department says the new requirements are aimed at protecting motorists in rollovers. More
than 8,000 people were killed in rollovers in 2009, according to the most recent data available. The new
requirements are the latest attempt to address the dangerous crashes. The Bush administration required car
companies to put anti-rollover technology called Electronic Stability Control on new vehicles. The changes to
the air bags are expected to prevent nearly 400 deaths and nearly 500 serious injuries every year. Car
companies will begin phasing in the changes in 2013 and all new cars will be required to have the protections
IIHS Calls for Stricter SUV Bumper Standards
Bumpers on cars are designed to match up with each other in low-speed collisions, but a long-standing gap in
U.S. federal regulations exempts SUVs from the same rules. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety, new crash tests demonstrate the results: SUV bumpers that don't line up with those on cars can lead to
huge repair bills in what should be minor collisions in stop-and-go traffic.
The IIHS conducted 10 mph front-into-rear crash tests involving seven pairs of 2010-11 models, each
composed of a small car and small SUV from the same automaker. In the tests, an SUV going 10 mph struck
the back of its paired car, which was stopped. Then the configuration was reversed, with the car striking the
back of its paired SUV. Results of these low-speed impacts varied widely, from a total of $850 damage to one
vehicle to $6,015 damage to another. In some cases, the crash damage included major leaks from broken
radiators and cooling fans. If these collisions had happened in the real world, the motorists wouldn't have been
able to drive away. If they did, their vehicles could overheat, and the engines could be ruined, IIHS said.
If bumpers don't match up, they'll bypass each other when vehicles collide, and the resulting crash energy will
crumple the vehicle body. Therefore IIHS concluded that there should be federal regulation that determines
SUV bumper standards.
DOT Rule Prompts Mandatory Backup Cameras in All New Vehicles
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) expects automakers to install rear-mounted video
camera and in-vehicle displays starting in 2012 to comply with a new regulation proposed Dec. 3 by the U.S.
Department of Transportation.
The proposal, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), would expand the required
field of view for all passenger cars, pickup trucks, minivans, buses and low-speed vehicles with a gross vehicle
weight rating of up to 10,000 lbs. so that drivers can see directly behind the vehicle when the vehicle's
transmission is in reverse. To meet the requirements of the proposed rule, ten percent of new vehicles must
comply by Sept. 2012, 40 percent by Sept. 2013 and 100 percent by Sept. 2014.
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Advanced Safety Systems Help Reduce Road Deaths
Statistics show that 2009 was the least deadly year on American roads in nearly 60 years. With the growing
use of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), that momentum should continue into the future. A recently
released report from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) revealed that 33,808 people died from traffic accidents in the United States in 2009, representing a ten
percent decline in total road deaths over the previous year and the lowest number of deaths since 1950.
ADAS systems include adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance and mitigation, lane departure warning, side
object detection and driver monitoring. In 2009, 4 million ADAS units were included in North American cars,
according to iSuppli. iSuppli forecasts that by 2017, total OEM ADAS will reach 30.7 million vehicles in North
America, equating to a compound annual growth rate of 29.0 percent from 2009 to 2017.
As automakers steadily increase the availability of current systems, both OEMs and suppliers also continue to
work on the next generation of automotive safety. Vehicle-to-vehicle communications, such as the kind found
in the U.S. Department of Transportation's IntelliDrive project, can address up to 82 percent of all crashes by
unimpaired drivers, which will have considerable impact on the fatality and injury statistics reported by the
Study: Strict Phone Bans Boost Fleet Safety
A new study of company vehicle fleet crash rates reveals the top safety performers are companies that enact a
total ban on cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) and that establish strong consequences -- including
termination -- for employees who violate such policies.
This "Strength in Numbers" fleet benchmarking study, sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety
(NETS), also found that six of the eight safety leaders were also companies more likely to terminate a driver for
violating the mobile device policy. By comparison, all 13 companies that fell in the bottom of the rankings had
some degree of a mobile device policy, but none had the option to terminate a driver for violating the policy.
IIHS Releases Car Insurance Loss Data
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released data showing insurance losses for hundreds of
passenger vehicles. The vehicles are grouped by body style and size under six types of insurance coverage:
collision, property damage liability, comprehensive, personal injury protection, medical payment and bodily
injury. These insurance loss results generally are good predictors of the experience of current versions of the
same vehicle models. But when automakers substantially redesign their passenger vehicles, the experience of
an earlier model with the same name (but not same design) may not predict the experience of the newer
design, IIHS noted. Data can be accessed here.
GE Capital Fleet Services’ recently rolled out a new Driver Safety Guide with helpful tips to keep you and your
drivers safe on the road. The complementary copy is posted to gefleet.com and can be accessed here.
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