Although elderly drivers are among the safest, their growing numbers could mean an increase in accidents among the group.
Based just on its sheer size, the baby boom generation will dramatically increase the number of elderly drivers on U.S. roads in the coming years. In anticipation of the graying of the country's roadways, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has unveiled a new five-year strategic plan to enhance safety for elderly motorists.
Although older drivers are statistically some of the safest, their growing numbers will likely translate into an increase in the amount of injuries and deaths among the group. According to NHTSA, the number of older adults (defined as age 65 and older) has increased by 20 percent since 2003, while the number of licensed older drivers spiked by 21 percent to 35 million in 2012 alone.
NHTSA also reported that 5,560 people above the age of 65 died and 214,000 were injured in car crashes last year -- a 3 percent jump in fatalities and a 16 percent rise in injuries compared to 2011. To combat this increase in accident statistics among older drivers, NHTSA's strategic plan will concentrate on three key areas.
Actor partners with electric carmaker Venturi; team to compete in new eco race series.
The Hollywood actor has co-founded a new electric racing team based in Monaco that will compete in an all-new FIA series called Formula E. DiCaprio partnered with Venturi Automobiles, a low-volume electric car manufacturer from Monaco that holds the world's fastest electric land speed record, with the hope of advancing battery-electric technology -- and making an actual return on his investment.
Three other partners are in on the deal. Venturi owner Gildo Pallanca Pastor of Monaco; Bert Hedaya, a New Yorker who co-owns a company that makes cartoon-themed children's backpacks; and Francesco Costa, an Italian who sold his family's money-lending business three years ago to Western Union for €100 million ($137 million).
The North American Car and Truck of the Year awards are almost here, and six cars, including the Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Corvette, are in the running.
The 2014 Mazda3, 2014 Cadillac CTS and 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray are contenders for the car category, while the 2014 Acura MDX, 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and 2014 Jeep Cherokee lead the truck segment.
The finalists were whittled down from a short list of 12 cars and 12 trucks (which, admittedly, included lots of car-based crossovers). The winners will be announced next month at the start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Comedy video imagines what would happen if Apple’s Siri could control an autonomous car.
Voice recognition and autonomous driving are two technologies that, while promising, aren’t completely ready for prime drive time -- especially not when combined.
Voice recognition has been available in cars for years. And while not foolproof, it’s getting better.
Autonomous driving technology is newer on the scene, but it already exists in some vehicles on a limited basis, although legal issues will force drivers to keep their hands on the wheel for the time being. Apple has yet to introduce autonomous-driving technology like its Silicon Valley rival Google.
But the comedy group The Smart Department has created a video to show what a Siri/self-driving mash-up would look like.
Second-generation Soul gets first special edition.
Kia announced its first special edition for the second generation 2014 Soul, dubbed “Red Zone.” This quirky, boxy compact car will get a head-to-toe makeover, taking inspiration and design cues from the 2012 Chicago Auto Show favorite, the Track'ster concept.
The exterior gets bright white paint, accented by pops of red. The grille, front and rear fascias and side skirts also will receive the distinguished red embellishments, adding to what Kia describes as “the aggressively styled body kit.” Custom 18-inch alloy wheels complete the “Red Zone” makeover.
The cabin of the Soul continues the “Red Zone” theme with red-stitching accents on the seats and dash as well as red piping on the black-carpeted floor mats. The shift knob, air-vent rings, dash speakers and center console have also been coated in the sporty red paint.
'Government Motors' is now General Motors again, although the taxpayer losses are huge.
Earlier today, the Treasury announced it sold the remaining shares in GM for a total of $9.2 billion. The Treasury, which began loaning GM money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in December 2008, eventually poured $49.5 billion into the failing automaker by the time it declared bankruptcy in June 2009. At that time, the U.S. assumed a 61 percent stake in the world's largest automaker and declared a series of restrictions, including caps on executive pay.
All told, the Treasury recovered $39 billion of the total $49.5 billion outlaid to GM. The Treasury still owns 64 percent of Ally Financial, GM's lending bank formerly known as GMAC that was also bailed out with $17.2 billion. GM is expected to sell its remaining share in Ally within the month, but the Treasury has no plan to sell its majority share and talks of an initial public offering have gone nowhere.
Extra USB port in the 2013 Chrysler 200 Limited gives car occupants power and light.
These days, most people traveling in cars carry portable devices, and they all need power and a place to plug in. But while most cars usually have multiple 12-volt power outlets, they make do with just a single USB port.
While it’s easy enough to bring along a dedicated 12-volt charger, a generic USB cord is much easier. And most car owners and passengers usually have a USB cord with them anyway.
That’s why it’s always a welcome sight -- at least when I’m driving with someone else -- to see more than one USB port in a vehicle. But very few cars have them.
A 2013 Chrysler 200 Limited I recently test drove did. The traditional spot for a USB port in Chrysler vehicles -- on the head unit -- isn’t the most convenient location since it isn't close to a safe place to store a connected device. And the way the USB cord sticks out from the dash is also unsightly.
But the Chrysler 200 has another, more convenient USB port.
Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey ask automakers for details on car hacking.
The threat of car hacking — and the mainstream media’s fear-mongering over it — has been much greater than the actual reality of vehicles being remotely controlled for evil purposes.
And the concern that car companies and others are hoarding data for pernicious purposes has long been an issue for privacy advocates and conspiracy theorists. Now politicians are getting into the act.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., has a long list of questions about car cybersecurity as well driver privacy, and is seeking answers from automakers. The Democratic senator sent letters to 20 automakers asking for details about every incident from the last five years of hackers trying to compromise vehicle electronics, whether there were injuries or damage as a result and if cases were reported to law enforcement officials.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5
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