Connected Cars Raise Privacy Concerns: DOT Secretary

The U.S. Department of Transportation is keeping a close eye on driver privacy as more automakers begin developing wireless connectivity in vehicles.

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'Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving' Unvieled by US Government

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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Car Communication Technology Gets 'Thumbs Up' From Drivers

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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NHTSA Proposes for Mandatory ESC on Large Trucks

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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DOT Proposes Distracting Driving Guidelines for Automakers

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.

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OMG PSA Warns Teens About The Dangers Of Texting And Driving

This distracted driving PSA isn’t meant to make you LOL, but it will have you saying OMG.

The Department of Transportation will be releasing its new public service announcement, titled OMG, in theaters and at gas stations nationwide, in the next month. This PSA is targeted to teens to remind them to put down the cell phone and stop texting while driving. Employing popular texting phrases like LOL and L8R, the ad shows the dangers that three little characters can potentially cause. And with the holiday season almost upon us – with all the vacation days, parties and high-tech gifts – this PSA is a sobering reminder of how little it takes to get into a car accident while texting and driving.

The PSA will be shown at Regal Cinema movie screens and PumpTop TV at gas stations. Or you can watch it after the jump.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

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NHTSA Reports 2010 As Record Low For Traffic Deaths

The United States Department of Transportation reported that 2010 was a record low for traffic fatalities, besting the previous record of 2009. While that year saw 33,808 deaths, 2010 saw a drop to 32,708.

Both the DOT and NHTSA credit public awareness campaigns and stricter law enforcement, with programs against impaired driving, distracted driving and even pro-seatbelt campaigns being lauded. Undoubtedly, safer vehicles and improved safety systems can also share some of the glory, but either way, we are pleased to see the statistic falling and hope that its a continuing trend in the future.

[Source: NHTSA]

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Study: One in Five Drivers Drink and Drive

You’d think that with all of the public service announcements, all of the shocking statistics and all of the cringe-worthy footage you can find on YouTube, drivers would think twice about getting behind the wheel drunk. Does it surprise you that almost 12,000 people are still killed annually from alcohol-related accidents? Just as surprising is a new study out by the Department of Transportation that shows that one in five drivers admit to driving within two hours of drinking.

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Report: Toyota Could Face More Fines From DOT

Last week the Department of Transportation announced a $16.4 million fine for Toyota after it declared the automaker acted too slowly in informing the government about a problem with sticking accelerator pedals which later led to a recall. That might not be the end of it, however, as according to a report by Automotive News the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) could levy yet another similar fine.

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Report: Toyota Could Face Government Fine for Delayed Recalls

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.

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Report: 2010 Prius Now Officially Under Investigation by NHTSA for Faulty Brakes

Toyota‘s popular Prius model is now officially under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for potentially faulty brakes. In a statement released by the NHTSA, it said it will launch a formal investigation into whether the popular hybrid has a brief loss of braking capability when traveling over bumpy or icy roads.

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Report: Volvo Buys Ads In Major Papers Calling for 'Distracted Driving' Legislation

Tomorrow, if you pick up a copy of USA Today or The Washington Post, you’re likely to see Volvo’s full page ad, calling for legislation on “distracted driving.” The ads come on the very day that the U.S. Department of Transportation begins its two day Distracted Driving Summit to discuss the issue. Along with senior DOT staff, the summit will also host elected officials, safety advocates, academics and law enforcement representatives. Volvo, however, is not a participant, although the company that has built a reputation for vehicles that are, above all else, safe, obviously has something to say on the matter.

“With the proliferation of cell phone use and text messaging while behind the wheel, distracted driving is on the rise and is a leading cause of traffic accidents,” said Doug Speck, Volvo Cars North America president and CEO. “Reasonable laws that help focus a driver’s attention on the road will help reduce collisions, just as laws to enforce seat belt use have helped save lives. By holding this summit, the DOT is demonstrating its commitment to resolve an ever-growing safety issue.”

Along with numerous safety innovations throughout the decades, more recently Volvo prides itself on electronic systems such as lane departure warning or even the new “City Safety” system which debuted on the XC60 (above), that can actually stop the vehicle when a collision is detected.

Currently only seven states have banned cell phone use (without a hands-free device) while driving, while 18 states have laws against texting while driving.

Official release after the jump:

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