Senate Passes Legislation Aimed At Accelerating Discovery Of Safety Flaws
In hearing after hearing last year, members of Congress took turns admonishing auto executives and federal regulators for their roles in prolonging an ongoing series of safety crises. Now, Congress is taking action.
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee gave its full support to a bill that would encourage whistleblowers in the auto industry. Under the legislation someone that speaks out could get 30 percent of any federal fines against automakers for safety lapses.
President Obama's budget proposal includes a plan to increase the federal tax incentive on EVs and plug-in hybrids to $10,000 and immediately slash the money off the price of green vehicles at purchase. It would also broaden the credit to be applicable to compressed-natural-gas-fueled models.
The safety crisis surrounding Takata's exploding airbags continues to expand. In the latest revelation, Honda confirms another death linked to the faulty parts, and the company is expanding its recall of the components. However, none of the newly added vehicles are in the United States.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn't had much to celebrate this year. The botched handling of major recall campaigns from General Motors and for faulty Takata airbag inflators haven't put the agency in the best light. Also, its new VIN lookup for safety campaigns, which should have been a major step forward, crashed the first time it was really needed. Clearly, something must be done, and it appears that the government's solution might be an overhaul of the bureau, starting
With the Takata airbag debacle still yet to be resolved, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found itself in hot water again. Parties both from within and from without the agency's ranks are asking hard questions about NHTSA's handling of the widespread recall, and now the agency's leadership will have to answer some of those hard questions.
Hyundai may be based in South Korea, but the automaker is touting hydrogen fuel-cell technology as an all-American benefit and is getting some help from the US government to do so. The company said this week that it's collaborating with the US Department of Energy and the House Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Caucus at promoting fuel-cell technology. The timing is good because Hyundai just started selling the first mass-produced fuel-cell vehicle sold/leased in the US (unless you count the Honda FCX Clar
Transportation was on President Obama's mind as he toured the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, VA Tuesday. In a brief, 14-minute speech, the president touched on both car-to-car communications and safety technology, as well as the need to maintain funding for the rapidly depleting Highway Trust Fund. Aside from his speech, the president also sampled one of HRC's driving simulators (shown above), which he likened to "something like Knight Rider."
Using America's interstate system could get more expensive in some places in the near future. Provisions in the White House-endorsed, $302 billion transportation bill would allow states to get permission from the federal government to impose tolls on them to raise money for infrastructure upkeep. Of course, some states already charge to drive on the interstates – the New Jersey turnpike, for example – but for the most part charges are rare on the federally funded roads.
Prepare for a big political debate about the nation's infrastructure in the coming weeks. The Obama administration has sent a bill covering interstate repair funding for the next four years to Congress. While that might seem somewhat benign, the proposal is likely to prove contentious because it would be partially financed by ending some tax breaks to businesses. This likely won't go over well in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Toyota brought its new i-Road, a three-wheeled, all-electric low-speed vehicle that debuted in 2013 at the Geneva Motor Show, to the Capitol for some of our elected officials to test out. As easy as it is to forget that politicians are people, too, it was refreshing to see a human side to many of them as they zipped about one of the Capitol's many meeting rooms.
The recall of small cars is now up to 2.6 million vehicles
The families of those who died in General Motors cars with defective ignition switches want prosecutors to go after GM insiders responsible for letting the problems fester for more than a decade - and perhaps for covering them up.