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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Jun 28 2013, 8:02 AM

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The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Anthony Foxx to take over the role of U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, replacing Ray LaHood.

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 |  Jun 27 2013, 3:15 PM

Pothole

A tax based on miles travelled might be needed to fill a growing gap in gas tax revenue as vehicles become more efficient. 

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 |  Apr 30 2013, 9:34 AM

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With Ray LaHood stepping down as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation earlier this year, President Barack Obama has nominated Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Anthony Foxx to take up the role.

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 |  Jan 29 2013, 12:01 PM

The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, announced Tuesday that he will not be serving a second term as the secretary of transportation, marking the latest departure from Barack Obama’s cabinet.

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 |  Sep 17 2012, 4:08 PM

To kick off Child Passenger Safety Week, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has teamed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Safe Kids to address common mistakes parents make when using car seats and booster seats.

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 |  Aug 26 2012, 10:01 AM

Ray LaHood is all about stopping distracted driving, and has recently teamed up with Fox’s hit television show Glee on some promotional videos aimed at young drivers to “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.”

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 |  Jul 23 2012, 6:15 PM

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is fighting a spirited battle against texting behind the wheel while California Governor Jerry Brown (pictured above) signs the “Freedom to Communicate” bill, which legalizes texting while driving, at least in part.

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 |  Jul 13 2012, 4:32 PM

A new report from the Frontier Center, a Canadian-based public think tank, suggests distracted driving laws might actually make roads more dangerous.

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 |  Jun 14 2012, 10:32 AM

Cars are now safer to drive than they were a decade ago, according to a new NHTSA study — try to hide your surprise. What might come as news, on the other hand, is how safe cars were according to the study’s findings before recent idiot-proofing.

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 |  Jun 07 2012, 6:32 PM

Referring to distracted driving as an “epidemic,” transportation secretary Ray LaHood has been the Obama administration’s boisterous champion of fighting the dangerous practice, most recently releasing a plan to combat cell phone use behind the wheel.

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 |  Jun 02 2012, 9:00 AM

Fair warning, if you live in Ohio and text behind the wheel, you could face fines or worse: a suspended driver’s license. 

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 |  May 23 2012, 3:31 PM

The United States Department of Transportation just released data suggesting an overwhelming majority of drivers who experience connected vehicle technology respond to it favorably and perceive it as an important safety measure.

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 |  May 16 2012, 3:11 PM

A new proposal by NHTSA could make being on the road, either behind the wheel or riding in a bus much safer with the introduction of mandatory stability control for all large vehicles.

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 |  Apr 17 2012, 4:15 PM

A recent study released by the Department of Transportation (DOT) finds that passengers under 25 are less likely to speak up to a driver who is texting and driving… maybe because they’re too busy texting as well.

The study was conducted and released to encourage passengers to speak up against distracted drivers and is spearheaded by none other than transportation secretary Ray LaHood, who cruises around on the weekends looking for distracted drivers to honk at. 56 percent of 18- to 20-year-olds said they would “say something” if their driver was texting, while 52 percent of 21-24 year olds would do the same.

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 |  Apr 12 2012, 2:19 PM

Following the rash of alleged self-accelerating cars, U.S. regulators are calling for all automakers to make throttle override mechanisms standard equipment in every light vehicle.

This issue came to light after Toyota’s unintended acceleration case, which spurred NHTSA to begin looking into override technology in 2010.

Essentially, the required system would ensure that the brake will overpower the gas pedal when the two are applied simultaneously and bring the car to a stop. A 60-day comment period will be held to gauge public reaction, at the end of which NHTSA will review the proposal again.

The new mechanisms will help drivers feel safer behind the wheel, which is of course one of consumers top concerns. ”America’s drivers should feel confident that anytime they get behind the wheel they can easily maintain control of their vehicles — especially in the event of an emergency,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Although many automakers have already taken a preemptive step and made this type of system available, the law would make it mandatory.

“By updating our safety standards, we’re helping give drivers peace of mind that their brakes will work even if the gas pedal is stuck down while the driver is trying to brake,” LaHood said.

You can see the full NHTSA proposal here.

 |  Mar 27 2012, 6:15 PM

Despite having little to no support, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still pushing forward with its proposal to ban hands-free calling while operating a vehicle.

NTSB recommends that all cell phone use be banned for a driver but has failed to gain the support of NHTSA or any major automaker. Regardless, the organization has no plans to back down with NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman recently saying, “Whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, touching the dashboard, or waving at a windshield, it can be distracting. What is the price of our desire to be mobile and connected at the same time? Can any message, call, or text be worth someone’s life?”

We don’t expect any states to hop on board with NTSB’s plan despite the excessive attention given to distracted driving recently. But some suggestions make more sense than others. Donald Fisher for example, a University of Massachusetts professor, has proposed that “we ought to quickly move to banning cellphone use in work zones and school zones.”

Perhaps Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood should enlist the NTSB in his “hilarious” weekend hobby — cruising around town to find people talking on their phones while driving, and harassing them with his car horn.

The NTSB is an independent federal agency that makes recommendations to Congress and the White House, but has no law-making authority.

[Source: Washington Post]

 |  Feb 28 2012, 4:15 PM

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood doesn’t like seeing people using cell phones behind the wheel, but who does?

It poses danger to everyone in the immediate vicinity, including the reckless chatterbox in question. What, then, should be done if you happen upon one of these miscreants during your morning commute?

LaHood has the answer: pull up to the offender and test your car horn’s limits. Hold the sucker down until your noise overpowers the conversation in violation. Why not, what harm could come of such vigilantism?

While that might be more agressive than what he actually does, LaHood said he drives around Washington on the weekends, seeking out cell phone users in the hopes of honking at them. He sees it as a personal responsibility of sorts.

After all, calling the police in that situation is both hypocritical and illegal. There aren’t any reports that LaHood’s weekend hobby has caused a crash, but thinking there’s a raging maniac beside you might be good cause to look away from the road. Here’s to hoping that nothing bad happens.

[Source: WTOP]

 |  Feb 17 2012, 8:30 AM

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the first-ever federally proposed guidelines for in-vehicle electronic devices to automakers, hoping to limit how distracted drivers can get by these new devices.

The proposed voluntary guidelines affects communications, entertainment, information gathering, and navigation devices or functions that are not required to safety operate a vehicle. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued out the guidelines hoping to establish a criteria for electronic devices installed by the manufacturer that require visual or manual operation by drivers.

“Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on America’s roadways – that’s why I’ve made it a priority to encourage people to stay focused behind the wheel,” said Secretary LaHood. “These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions to tackle the issue of distracted driving for drivers of all ages.”

These new guidelines are the first in a series of guidance documents NHTSA is planning to issue, hoping to limit the use of distracting technology that requires the use of hands and/or diverting the eyes from the road. Some of the recommendations released in the first set of guidelines including limiting the device operation to one hand only. limiting unnecessary visual information in the driver’s field of view, and limiting individual off-road glances to no more than two seconds in duration.

In addition, it also recommends the disabling of operations such as visual-manual text messaging, internet browsing, social media browsing, 10-digit phone dialing, and displaying more than 30 characters of unrelated driving text.

NHTSA hopes to release a future phase that will have guidelines for aftermarket components such as portable electronic devices or navigation units, while a third phase will address voice-activated controls.

 |  May 13 2011, 8:31 AM

A trade group representing Detroit’s three automakers as well as Toyota is currently urging the Obama administration to say no to a proposal that could mandate a 62-mpg CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) industry standard by 2025.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, in a letter addressed to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson, said, “fuel economy and greenhouse gas targets should not be arbitrary numbers, chosen before the necessary analyses are completed,” claiming that the proposed standard would ”circumvent the rulemaking process and undermine the ongoing collaborative effort to set sound standards.”

In April 18 senators led by Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican Olympia Snowe, California and Maine respectively, urged the administration to consider a 62-mpg standard by 2025, which equates to a 6-percent annual increase from 2017 to then. Depending on how stringent the administration wants to make things, the increase could cost anywhere from $770 per vehicle built to $3,500.

The automakers believe that this requirement could reduce car sales by 14%, owing to the increase in cost per car to meet the requirements (that are then passed onto you, dear consumer). This could lead to an equal 14% reduction in jobs, or 250,000 people—automakers ”depend on reasonable regulations that provide clarity and certainty, without pricing our customers out of the market or preventing them from choosing vehicles that can meet their diverse needs,” cites the Alliance.

Currently there is a 35-mpg CAFE standard set in lace for 2016.

[Source: The Detroit News]

 |  Mar 10 2011, 9:48 AM

A more significant recall of Ford F-150 trucks is probable, as talks between the automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continue.

In February Ford issued a recall of 144,000 F-150 models dating from 2005-2006 in response to a request by the government agency. That recall was not, however, satisfactory, with NHTSA requesting a total of 1.3 million trucks be fixed.

The dispute between the agency and Ford is expected to end “soon”, according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Currently NHTSA’s records show 269 cases of airbags deploying without cause with 98 recorded injuries from vehicles dating from 2004-2006. That is up from 238 reports and 77 injuries when the first recall was issued in February.

Since the Toyota recall crisis NHTSA has been busy, issuing recalls for issues as trivial as rusting hood ornaments on Bentley models. While that might make the agency look like it’s hunting for work, Ford has shown a general unwillingness to cooperate with the government agency as of late, initially refusing to issue recalls for its Windstar minivan.

[Source: TheDetroitNews]

 |  Apr 06 2010, 6:50 AM

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood seems to have found a “smoking gun,” in the Toyota recall controversy, alleging his department now has proof the automaker shirked its legal responsibilities. “We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations,” he said yesterday. “Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families.”

As a result, the Transportation department is looking to fine Toyota $16.38 million – the highest penalty possible and the largest ever handed out.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the right to fine automakers that don’t inform the government body of a problem within five business days. According to the NHTSA, Toyota took four months to confirm the sticky accelerator pedal issue, long after it acknowledged such a problem existed by sending repair instructions to distributors in Europe and Canada. (Toyota Canada has since refuted this claim, saying no such repair info was sent to distributors in that country).

Toyota has two weeks to challenge any such fine by the NHTSA and has not yet said if it will, instead releasing a statement referring to its efforts to improve safety and communication at the company. Meanwhile the transportation department has said it is continuing to review internal Toyota documents and that more fines could be levied if additional violations are discovered.

[Source: FinancialTimes.com]

 |  Feb 05 2010, 10:50 AM

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As though Toyota needed any more to deal with right now, the automaker could face a fine from the Federal Government for not acting quickly enough in issuing recalls. Legally, automakers that don’t issue recalls in a timely manner can be stuck with a fine for as much as $16.4 million. That amount, however, pales in comparison to the almost $2 billion that Toyota says the recent recalls will cost the company.

On Wednesday Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that until then Toyota had been uncooperative in working with the government and that it had taken a considerable effort to get the automaker to issue recalls.

To date, the largest fine the DOT has dolled out was to General Motors, for $1 million.

Toyota has said it has received no word tat a fine is pending.

[Source: Automotive News via eGMcartech]

 |  Feb 03 2010, 1:00 PM

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Just hours after Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood advised Toyota owners affected by the recent recall to “stop driving” their cars, LaHood has retracted his statement. LaHood made the comments earlier today appearing before a heading into the recalls.

“What I said in there was obviously a misstatement,” said LaHood. The DOT is now urging owners to contact their local dealership to have the problem fixed as soon as possible.

Toyota currently has two major recalls, the first being a floor mat entrapment issue for 5.5 million vehicles, and the second is a sticking gas pedal recall for 2.3 million vehicles.

Toyota recently announced a fix for the 2.3 million recalled models, which include the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia. The automaker has insisted that the recall is due to a mechanical fault, however, the DOT has now said it will look at the possibility that unintended acceleration is related to electronics and not a mechanical issue with the pedal.

In a statement Toyota said that, “We appreciate Secretary LaHood’s clarification of his remarks today about Toyota’s recall for sticking accelerator pedals. We want to make sure our customers understand that this situation is rare and generally does not occur suddenly. In the rare instances where it does it occur, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes. Our message to Toyota owners is this – if you experience any issues with your accelerator pedal, please contact your dealer without delay. If you are not experiencing any issues with your pedal, we are confident that your vehicle is safe to drive. Nothing is more important to Toyota than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive. Our entire organization of 172,000 North American employees and dealership personnel is working around the clock to fix the accelerator pedals for our customers.”

For more information on Toyota recalls, visit the automaker’s new recall website:

http://www.toyota.com/recall/

 |  Feb 03 2010, 11:53 AM

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If you are currently driving a recalled Toyota model, you shouldn’t be, says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (above). In a statement given at a House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, looking into the recent Toyota recalls, LaHood told owners to, “stop driving it. Take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it.”

Toyota currently has two major recalls, the first being a floor mat entrapment issue for 5.5 million vehicles, and the second is a sticking gas pedal recall for 2.3 million vehicles.

LaHood urged owners of recalled cars to contact their dealer and, “exercise caution until repairs can be made.”

Toyota recently announced a fix for the 2.3 million recalled models, which include the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia. The automaker has insisted that the recall is due to a mechanical fault, saying in a statement that:

“After many years of exhaustive testing—by us and other outside agencies—we have found no evidence of a problem with our electronic throttle control system that could have caused unwanted acceleration. Our vehicles go through extensive electromagnetic radiation testing dynamically. We have our own test facility in Japan, we are also building one in Ann Arbor. The testing examines microwave radiation and every other type of magnetic wave and we have never been able to force our systems to fail through any of the tests that are done on them. There are many redundancies and fail safes that are built into our system.  If the accelerator pedal and the throttle on the engine don’t match in their communication to each other the throttle returns to an idle position.”

The U.S. Ministry of Transportation has also been investigating electronic throttle issues and unintended acceleration issues on Toyota and Lexus vehicles for years but has never been able to find a problem.  The Ministry of Transportation, has now said it will look at the possibility that unintended acceleration is related to electronics and not a mechanical issue with the pedal.

For more information on Toyota recalls, visit the automaker’s new recall website:

http://www.toyota.com/recall/

[Source: CNBC]