Back in 2003, Volvo built their utterly remarkable Safety Concept Car [SCC] as a test bed for a huge range of new safety technologies they were then testing, with a view to introducing the most effective and worthwhile into their production cars. The SCC was demonstrated to the automotive media in the USA on just two days — one on the west coast and one on the east coast — and through our not-for-profit organisation, Drive and Stay Alive, I had the good fortune to be invited to attend the east coast day in Manhattan, to drive it.
In just the 15 years since then, we have gone from talking primarily just about increased safety to a now almost out-of-control rush to have self-driving vehicles before even the semi-autonomous prototypes can be shown to increase rather than decrease safety.
That aspect, however, is not the theme of this write-up. Instead, I will focus on the Tesla being driven normally, with the minimum of automated features and with maximum smoothness for the chauffeur context plus, of course, maximum regard for driving safely
Often bought in the name of safety, it is a fact that crash bars or bull bars can actually create greater danger not only for pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable road users who get hit, but also for people traveling in the vehicles to which the bars are fitted.
Excerpt: [A chief of police in Wisconsin] has serious concerns with proposals in Congress that would allow heavier and longer rigs on highways because these proposals would dramatically increase the danger faced by everyday drivers.
The proposal calls for increasing trucks weights nationwide from 80,000 to 91,000 pounds, and another calls for increasing the length of double-trailer trucks by 10 feet, to 91 feet in length.
…Bigger trucks may mean increased profit margins for the handful of companies that would benefit, they also pose substantial safety risks to motorists…
Already more than 4,000 people are killed each year in the USA in crashes involving large trucks. One factor in this bad scenario is the long hours that drivers are allowed to work, behind the wheel, each week — far more than in other countries that have much lower road-death rates than does America. Making trucks larger and therefor even harder to stop should be seen as an extra factor that is likely to increase the number of deaths even further.
Buying a safe second-hand car at a reasonable price is always a challenge; the very fact that they aren’t the latest models immediately mitigates against them, and of course the older a car is, the more this typically counts against it.
In Britain, safety experts Thatcham Research have collated the results for cars which cost under £15,000to buy second hand, have a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and CO2 emissions below 120g/km.
One thing of great interest is how much safety can be added by means of extra ‘packages’ at the time the car is first purchased. See Nos. 1 and 10, below.
In all countries, it is immensely wise to consult the relevant NCAP safety ratings, which in Britain is Euro-NCAP. Here in the USA, check these links, and make sure to check the correct year of manufacture for any used-car purchase you might be interested in:
It’s a crime to alter a vehicle’s odometer. NHTSA estimates that more than 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with false odometer (i.e. mileage) readings, which costs American used-car buyers more than $1 billion annually. We want consumers to know what odometer fraud is, how to spot it, and who to contact if you think you’re a victim of this illegal behavior.
A How-To Guide for Odometer Fraud Detection
It can be difficult, but not impossible, to detect when a vehicle’s odometer has been altered. The following is a list of tips to help used car buyers detect odometer fraud:
Ask to see the title and compare the mileage on it with the vehicle’s odometer. Be sure to examine the title closely if the mileage notation seems obscured or is not easy to read.
Compare the mileage on the odometer with the mileage indicated on the vehicle’s maintenance or inspection records. Also, search for oil change and maintenance stickers on windows or door frames, in the glove box or under the hood.
Check that the numbers on the odometer gauge are aligned correctly. If they’re crooked, contain gaps or jiggle when you bang on the dash with your hand, walk away from the purchase.
Examine the tires. If the odometer on your car shows 20,000 or less, it should have the original tires.
Look at the wear and tear on the vehicle — especially the gas, brake and clutch pedals — to be sure it seems consistent with and appropriate for the number of miles displayed on the odometer.
Request a CARFAX Vehicle History Report to check for odometer discrepancies in the vehicle’s history. If the seller does not have a vehicle history report, use the car’s VIN to order a CARFAX vehicle history report online.
Odometer Fraud Law
Committing odometer fraud is a crime. The federal government passed a law that requires a written disclosure of the mileage registered on an odometer be provided by the seller to the purchaser on the title to the vehicle when the ownership of a vehicle is transferred. If the odometer mileage is incorrect, the law requires a statement to that effect to be furnished on the title to the buyer. However, vehicles ten years and older are exempt from the written disclosure requirements.
Digital odometers that have been tampered with are even harder to detect than traditional mechanical odometers (since they have no visible moving parts). A vehicle’s condition and a detailed history report are the best clues a buyer has for determining whether clocking has occurred.