Driver's News: Week of 8/5/01

August 6, 2001

’03 CADDY CTS UNVEILED

Are looks everything? In the case of the 2003 Cadillac CTS you see here, GM hopes they’re at least a big part of the equation. The 2003 CTS, the replacement for the German-bred-and-built Catera, will be unveiled officially on Aug. 18th at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, Calif., but the first shots of the car have already been released. Click over to today’s edition of TheCarConnection for a preview of the CTS, and decide for yourself in our daily poll whether it’s a great leap forward — or another Caddy that zigs.

Preview: '03 Cadillac CTS by Marty Padgett (7/30/2001)

 

AIRBAG CUTOFF SWITCHES BEING MISUSED

A survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows widespread misuse of the airbag cutoff switches in vehicles where such devices are permitted. Nearly half (48 percent) of the switches were left on when the seat was occupied by children under the age of 12, potentially exposing them to serious injury or death from the airbag's deployment. In most of the cases, the drivers wrongly said the airbags needed to be turned off only for babies (or for passengers younger than their passengers). Another problem? In situations where adult passengers were riding, the airbag was not activated some 18 percent of the time.

Check out TCC’s tips on what to look for in a (safe) car

 

JUDGE WON'T ORDER FIRESTONE RECALL

Following last week's completion of a massive National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation into several models of Firestone tires installed on light trucks, a U.S. District Court judge in Chicago has chosen not to issue an injunction forcing the recall of millions more tires with a similar design. The federal judge also ruled against ordering a recall of Ford Explorers that have the tires.

TCC's award-winning coverage of the Firestone recall  

 

SOFTENING THE BLOW FOR PEDESTRIANS

Japanese automakers Honda and Toyota are planning to incorporate design changes into their vehicles that will help reduce the severity of pedestrian injuries in vehicle accidents, reported Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun. Special shock absorbers will be incorporated into the hood and bumpers on these cars, along with several other subtle changes. New regulations in the European Union countries will require pedestrian injury precautions beginning next year. According to the report, Honda plans to incorporate such pedestrian precautions into its entire model lineup, except for the NSX, by 2004.

 

SAFETY CAMPAIGN TARGETS RACE FANS

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in conjunction with Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), has unveiled a new vehicle safety plan aimed at race fans. The program, called Safety—The Ultimate Rush, will include the use of special public service announcements (PSAs) emphasizing the importance of seatbelt use and crash test safety, aired on ABC and ESPN during CART race coverage. For more information on the program, or for general safety information, see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Web site at www.nhtsa.gov.

 

BATTLE OF THE GRILLES, ROUND TWO

It looks like the battle of the grilles between DaimlerChrysler and General Motors will continue all the way to the courts. Earlier this year, DaimlerChrysler filed a lawsuit against General Motors, accusing GM of making the grille for its upcoming Hummer H2 sport-utility vehicle to be too similar to the grille design used by Jeep vehicles. According to the Detroit News, DaimlerChrysler recently presented two alternate grille designs for the Hummer that it would accept to General Motors, but GM called them unacceptable. The case will likely be heard in December 2002, more than six months after the H2 is slotted to go on sale.

First Drive: GM '01 Concepts by TCC Team (6/11/2001)
2002 Jeep Liberty by John Pearley Huffman (5/7/2001)

 

CELLPHONES: DISTRACTION, RADIATION, …WHAT NEXT?

A top radiation official in Germany has issued a warning that drivers should avoid using cellphones completely while inside cars. Some preliminary data gathered by scientists has supported a claim that a car's cabin will 'trap' radiation, significantly increasing the cellphone user's dose as opposed to being outside of the vehicle. The official, from Germany's Radiation Protection Agency, also issued a precaution that children should be kept away from cellphones. U.S. sources have not yet found any links between cellphone use and health problems that have been linked to cellular technology by scientists in other countries.

NY Says Shut Up and Drive by Joseph Szczesny (7/2/2001)

 

DON'T LEAVE YOUR CHILD IN THE CAR!

In Fort Worth, Texas, a two-year-old boy has apparently died of heat exposure after he was inside a hot car waiting for his family to return. Each summer, many children die due to being left in cars on hot sunny days, and often their parents don't realize how susceptible small children are to the heat and how hot it can become in a car on a sunny day with the windows closed. An Associated Press report said that at least three other children in Texas alone have died due to heat exposure in cars this summer. 

 

FORD COLLABORATING WITH MAZDA, VOLVO BRANDS

Wonder what Ford was going to do with all those brands it's been acquiring over the last few years? In a word: collaboration. Ford is reportedly working on plans to pool staff and development costs, to produce a common platform for new model subcompacts in 2003. Shared components are likely to include engines, while design and specifications of each firm's subcompact will differ.

 

CHRYSLER RECALLS TRUCKS FOR AIRBAG PROBLEM

Chrysler is recalling 216,100 of its Dodge trucks, including Dakota pickups and Durango SUVs made between 1997-2000, and 1997-2001 Dodge Ram pickups, for problems that could disable the driver's side airbag system. The recall began in June but was not announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration until this week.

Search the government's databases for Recall, Rollover and Safety Info

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