safety

Alcohol-testing cars less than a decade away

Alcohol-testing cars less than a decade away

Vehicles that refuse to start unless the driver passes an alcohol breathalyzer test are closer than previously believed, with cars that check for intoxication tipped to hit the market within the next decade. Systems using both traditional "breath tubes" and new fingertip sensors are already in the pipeline, the WSJ reports, with manufacturers working with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) having "made more progress, faster, than we expected," according to Rob Strassburger, vice president for vehicle safety at the AAM. Yet while driver and passenger safety is the obvious concern, not everyone is keen on their car playing watchdog.

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Don’t bring flaming BMWs indoors warns government

Don’t bring flaming BMWs indoors warns government

Safety regulators in the US have warned owners of certain BMW 5- and 6-series cars that they should park outdoors after a fire risk in over 367,000 vehicles was identified, though BMW insists only one incident has actually been recorded. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that a battery cable in certain 2004-2010 BMWs may have been incorrectly attached, with the possibility of overheating and even fire, even when the car is not in use. The issue affects 1.3m cars worldwide.

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Laser liquid scanner could rescue water bottles from pre-flight trash

Laser liquid scanner could rescue water bottles from pre-flight trash

Having to dump your bottled liquids as you go through airport security has become a frustrating addition to flying headaches in recent years, but the awesome power of lasers could soon ensure your flask contains Evian not napalm. Cobalt Light Systems has cooked up the INSIGHT100, a laser scanning system that can differentiate dangerous substances from safe ones while they're still in their container, opening the aircraft doors to water bottles, perfume and toothpaste.

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Apple brings in Fair Labor Association to audit suppliers

Apple brings in Fair Labor Association to audit suppliers

Apple has requested an "ethical manufacturing" check of all its final-assembly suppliers, with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) investigating Foxconn, Quanta, Pegatron and others for signs of worker mistreatment or unsafe conditions. The FLA will look at working and living environments, health and safety provisions, compensation, working hours and communication with management, Apple has said; "We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment" CEO Tim Cook said of the independent assessments, which come after the company was singled out for criticism over poor treatment of supply chain employees.

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2013 GM Acadia gets first center airbag in the industry

2013 GM Acadia gets first center airbag in the industry

Air bags have been in vehicles for many years now, and while they have undergone changes over the years, they are undeniably saving lives in accidents. It's common today to have both driver and passenger side airbags. In the backseat, many vehicles even have side curtain airbags for the backseat passengers near the doors. Where airbag protection has been lacking has been from the center for the front seat occupants. GM is changing that with the addition of a center airbag for front seat passengers to its 2013 Acadia models.

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Apple CEO “outraged” at “offensive” factory claims

Apple CEO “outraged” at “offensive” factory claims

Apple CEO Tim Cook has responded angrily to allegations that the company knowingly used manufacturing partners guilty of labor abuses, telling staff that "we care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain" and calling the accusations "offensive." Cook blasted the NY Times report in an internal email to Apple employees, spilled to 9to5Mac; "Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us" the CEO wrote. "As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are."

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Chevrolet Volt cleared of fire defect suspicions

Chevrolet Volt cleared of fire defect suspicions

Chevrolet's electric-powered Volt has been cleared by US federal safety investigators, with the plug-in car deemed to present no more significant fire risk than its gasoline-powered counterparts, and leaving Chevvy with the unenviable task of re-marketing the vehicle. "No discernible defect trend exists" the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said of the Volt, going on to highlight General Motors' improvements to the structure of the car and the battery cooling systems. The investigation - perhaps uncomfortably public for GM - will educate new NHTSA guidelines on dealing with electric car safety.

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Kia Optima and Kia Rondo recalled amid faulty airbags

Kia Optima and Kia Rondo recalled amid faulty airbags

There's another recall on the books, auto owners, this time for 146,000 Kia vehicles on the road due to faulty airbag systems. The models you've got to look out for at the 2006-08 Kia Optima as well as the 2007-08 Kia Rondo, and the situation is that the spring system in the drivers side of the vehicle may become damaged over time - this resulting in no airbag deployment in crashes, that being bad. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administered this recall alert this week.

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BMW Mini recall hits 235,000 vehicles

BMW Mini recall hits 235,000 vehicles

All the way over in Frankfurt there's been an announcement that BMW has recalled some 235,000 vehicles in their Mini brand across the world, citing an electric water pump malfunction as the reason why. What happens with this water pumps is that when it's supposed to be cooling the turbo charger, it can malfunction and cause the connected electronic circuit board to overheat. This malfunction can then cause the circuit board to smolder or outright catch fire. Mini drivers that this recall might affect should expect communication starting next month.

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Stop Whining and Turn Off Your Phone

Stop Whining and Turn Off Your Phone

I learned when I was a camp counselor that you should always support the person up front. When they say something wrong, let it slide and fix it later. When they suggest something unpopular, go with it, and if it proves unsuccessful, it's no big deal. I never had a camp director suggest we run naked through a poison ivy patch, or show up to Hershey Park at 4AM so we can get a good parking spot. Usually, things worked out in the end.

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