The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released a new study that says distracted driving is a much larger problem for teenagers that was previously believed.
Teenagers have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. About 963,000 crashes involving drivers aged 16-19 were reported to police in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. These crashes resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths.
The study showed distracted driving was a factor in nearly 6 of 10 moderate-to-severe crashes involving teenaged drivers. That’s about four times the rate previously estimated.
“Access to crash videos has allowed us to better understand the moments leading up to a vehicle impact in a way that was previously impossible,” said Peter Kissinger, the foundation’s CEO. “The in-depth analysis provides indisputable evidence that teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of crashes than we previously realized.”
The foundation says this is most comprehensive research ever conducted and provides significant evidence showing distracted driving is a more serious problem than previously believed.
Researchers looked at nearly 1,700 videos taken from in-vehicle event recorders and focused on the last six seconds before an accident. Results showed distraction was a contributing factor in 58% percent of all crashes, including 89% percent of incidents where the vehicle left the road and 76% of rear-end collisions.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, using data collected primarily from police reports, estimated that distraction played a role only 14% of teen driver crashes.
MOST COMMON TEEN DRIVER DISTRACTIONS
Type of Distraction
Interacting with one or more passengers
Cell phone use
Looking at something in the vehicle
Looking at something outside the vehicle
Singing/moving to music
Reaching for an object
Data Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
“It is troubling that passengers and cell phones were the most common forms of distraction given that these factors can increase crash risks for teen drivers,” said Beth Mosher, AAA Chicago spokesperson. “The situation is made worse by the fact that young drivers have spent less time behind the wheel and cannot draw upon their previous experience to manage unsafe conditions.”
The research showed drivers manipulating their cell phone (calling, texting or other uses) had their eyes off the road for an average of 4.1 out of the final six seconds leading up to a crash. Reaction times in rear-end crashes were also measured and it was found that teen drivers using a cell phone failed to react at all more than half of the time before the impact, meaning they crashed without braking or steering.
According to Mosher, AAA recommends that state laws prohibit cell phone use by teen drivers and restrict passengers to one non-family member for the first six months of driving. Thirty-three states have laws prohibiting cell phone use for teens and 18 states have restrictions on teen passengers.
The 707 horsepower Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is the world’s quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan, but for those ultra-wealthy horsepower junkies, cars like the BMW Alpina B7 or the Bentley Flying Spur are often favored for their larger, more luxurious interior. However, based on this rendering by suzq044, perhaps Chrysler could answer those demands for a large, super-premium luxury sedan with Hellcat power – making it considerably more powerful than anything in that segment today.
This new artwork from suzq044 is the modern take on the classic Chrysler Imperial, but with some of the Hellcat attitude and a touch of customization added. As you may be able to tell, the basic body lines are those of a 2005 Chrysler 300, but significant changes have been made to create this Imperial.
First, the wheelbase has been stretched significantly and larger suicide rear doors (similar to what is found on the Roll Royce Ghost) have been added, which is a clear indication that this Imperial has far more interior space than the Chrysler 300. Next, a unique front fascia with vintage styled hide-a-way headlights and been added, with a classic Imperial badge in the middle of the powerful looking grille.
Best of all, this Chrysler Imperial rendering has been fitted with the 707 horsepower Hellcat Hemi, so this particular Imperial wears the Hellcat logo on the fender along with SRT wheels (borrowed from the Grand Cherokee) with bright red Brembo brakes behind the sporty rollers. As an added touch of customization, this Imperial has been lowered a great deal, which we would never see from a production vehicle – but it definitely adds some cool factor to this artwork.
I should stress that this Chrysler Imperial is simply a piece of imaginative artwork by suzq044 (missing, among other things, side lights, and with an impractical ground clearance), but this shows that with a little work, the lines of the Chrysler 300 could be adapted to make a world class super sedan.
This video of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in action didn’t come from the Chrysler Group – instead serving as a unique commercial for Pennzoil. This commercial is about as non-traditional as it gets, as it doesn’t mention the motor oil until the very end and even when it does, it is brief at best. While it might not be a great commercial from a product placement standpoint, it is an incredible piece of cinematic artwork showing what the Hellcat Challenger can do in the hands of a trained professional.
The location of this action packed video is Cape Town, South Africa, and experienced racer Rhys Millen as behind the wheel of the 2015 DodgeChallenger SRT Hellcat. Incredibly, the streets are totally empty as the 707hp Challenger reaches speeds in excess of 110 miles per hour on the long straights while roasting the tires when drifting through the sharp city turns. After spending the first minute of the video hooning around Cape Town, Millen brings the Hellcat Challenger to a sudden stop.
At that point, we see that the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is on a large platform suspended from four huge helicopters, but this doesn’t stop him from continuing his high speed, action packed fun in the mighty Mopar muscle car.
Two years after they were shown in a concept car, Dodge is providing optional “Radar Red” Nappa leather seats on the Dodge Durango R/T. They were previously only put into the Dodge Charger and Challenger, and are now an $1,195 option (black Nappa leather, already available at this price, will continue).
The 2015 Dodge Durango R/T also adds a new standard glossy “Granite Crystal” (gray) set of 20-inch wheels. It continues to be differentiated from other Durangos by a sport-tuned suspension with a 20mm lower ride height, black headlamp bezels and LED daytime running lamps, embroidered leather seating with contrasting red or black stitching, 8.4-inch touchscreen telematics with nine speakers, power liftgate, and HID low-beam headlamps.
The R/T’s 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine produces a best-in-class 360 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque with a best-in-class tow rating of 7,400 pounds.
Spy photographer Chris Doane has caught what he believes to be a mid-sized pickup being tested by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Europe.
Mr. Doane claimed that there were other “very cobbled together” mules spotted in the US as well as in Europe, and said they were based on the Journey/Freemont platform. (Most likely, this would be the next generation, if true; and there is no reason to believe the current Journey / Freemont will continue, sitting on a unique platform derived from a Chrysler interpretation of a Mitsubishi sedan.)
The body looks more SUV-like, until one sees the rear, which has a pickup look. The model spotted is either a four-door or a very good imitation of one, with a short bed (unless it’s an SUV after all).
Mr. Doane wrote, “With the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon off to a good start, Chrysler may have finally decided it was time for a Dakota successor.” Whether there’s room in the market for a Ram as well is questionable, though.
The current Ram 1500 boasts 29 mpg on the highway (in diesel / HFE form) with hefty towing and payload capacities. The market for small pickups in the United States has dwindled in recent years, with Toyota now dominating the market. Any new pickup would need some towing/hauling capability, mileage better than the Ram 1500 (which beats most four-cylinder compacts), and/or far superior pricing.
A newer generation of the Dodge Dakota was batted around for years, but was eventually dropped, and no midsized pickup appeared on the recent 2015-2018 Ram plan for investors. It is most likely that this is a “no Ram version” Fiat and that any American testing was done for other reasons (FCA US has excellent testing facilities).
One of the hottest aesthetic options for the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the Satin Black hood finish, so when the 707-hp muscle car officially went on sale late last year, the blacked-out hood treatment was a popular box to check. Unfortunately, there was an unspecified delay with this option, so buyers could either swap to a body colored hood or they could wait until the automaker solved the problem with the factory black painted hoods.
This was disappointing news for those who loved the look of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with the contrasting Satin Black hood. Some switched to a body colored hood while others held out hope for a short delay on getting their car the way that they ordered it. Others who planned to go out and buy a Hellcat Challenger put their plans on the back burner while they waited for the Satin Black hoods to reach dealerships. Others, including a few of the folks at last weekend’s LX Spring Festival in California, had their hoods wrapped in black satin when the factory couldn’t fulfill their orders.
A representative of Adventure Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Willoughby, Ohio, said that Satin Black hood Challenger Hellcats are reaching dealerships now. Adventure itself has a Sublime Hellcat Challenger with the Satin Black hood option on their showroom floor, and if you have the money, you could travel to Ohio and buy the car shown here today. The Sublime Hellcat Challenger on the Adventure CJD showroom floor has the 8-speed TorqueFlite transmission, the UConnect infotainment system with navigation, and the performance tires, so it is pretty much loaded shy of the sunroof.
Those interested in this Hellcat can contact Dusty Blechman for more information, but if they ordered and were allocated one, your local Dodge dealership should be getting models with the Satin Black hood in the near future.
If you ordered a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with the Satin Black hood a few months back and you opted to wait until the company could paint your hood, your wait should be close to ending. There is still the issue of the Brampton Assembly Plant working through all of the orders, but the bottom line is that the delay for the Satin Black hood options is over. Images courtesy of Dusty Blechman
This morning, Ram took the wraps off the new Texas Ranger concept truck at the Dallas-Fort Worth Auto Show. Based on the Laramie Longhorn, it showcases Ram’s partnership with the Lone Star State’s legendary law-enforcement agency and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Ram 1500 Texas Ranger edition concept truck has Texas Ranger badging and replicas of the Mexican silver five-peso coins from which they are made. Large five-pointed milled-aluminum star-in-circle emblems are mounted to the front fenders, and a third badge is on the truck’s tailgate. Each center cap of the polished-aluminum 20-inch wheels also gets a Texas Ranger badge. Colors are white and silver, matching the Rangers’ white hats and silver badges.
The interior uses Canyon Brown and Tan leather, with tooled-metal details including four Mexican five-peso silver coins in the wooden portions of the door bolsters. The front doors have the “heads” side while the rear doors contain the “tails” side.
There’s also a milled-aluminum Texas Ranger instrument panel badge, a badge drawn into the leather console lid, emblems sewn on and etched into leather seat badges, and on the gauge cluster splash screen and UConnect backdrop.
Inspired by the stocks on Rangers’ rifles, the interior has stained open-pore walnut wood trim throughout the cabin, including the new console tambour door.
The console has a vault with a combination lock for backup gun, ammunition, or other items of value and the Ram-exclusive Ram Box storage system is ideal for rifles, shotguns and other tools of the trade.
While the Ram Texas Ranger edition unveiled today is strictly a concept, building awareness for the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and Museum, Ram would not rule out actual production — without committing to any time frame or cost. Ram CEO Bob Hegbloom talked about it on YouTube.
This morning, the United Auto Workers union Special Convention on Collective Bargaining continued at Cobo Center in Detroit. It’s the last day of a two-day forum for union leaders and members to provide input into the union’s negotiating agenda, an agenda that will be heavily focused on pay and the two-tier wage system the union agreed to in 2007.
Union local leaders and rank-and-file members are pressing union president Dennis Williams and his negotiating teams to take aggressive positions and bargain for higher wages for Tier 1 workers that haven’t seen a raise since 2003 and for narrowing the gap between the Tier 1 and Tier 2 pay scales if not eliminating Tier 2 altogether and raising all worker pay to the full union scale.
On the first day of the convention, speakers were unanimous in demanding that union leaders take a hard line on the Tier 2 topic.
Delegate Bill Parker, former president of UAW Local 1700 at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, asked for a pledge that union bargainers would fight for all Tier 2 workers to be promoted to Tier 1 but failed to get enough delegates to bring it to the floor after UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel said it conflicted with other proposal language.
Tielece Perry, a delegate from Local 7 at the Jefferson North plant, said it’s not fair that the Tier 2 workers at her facility can’t afford to buy the Dodge Durangos and Jeep Grand Cherokees that they build.
Automakers hope to preserve the lower labor costs associated with Tier 2. In fact, it’s reported that Ford and GM would like a third tier, with even lower pay, for certain jobs. Given the sentiment at the UAW convention, such a proposal would be fanning the flames of resentment.
As it is right now, FCA US and General Motors are under the gun. When the second-tier agreement was originally struck, there were caps on the number of Tier 2 workers in each companies’ labor force. At Chrysler, the cap was 25%. When Chrysler went through bankruptcy, its cap was waived and the company was able to hire an unlimited number of workers at the lower scale.
Today, Tier 2 workers make up 42% of FCA’s U.S. hourly workforce. GM is at 29% and Ford, which never had its cap lifted, is at 20% but recently had to move hundreds of workers from Tier 2 to Tier 1.
On September 14, FCA’s waiver expires and the 25% cap becomes effective, meaning the company will have to move thousands of workers to the full union scale.
According to figures from the Center for Automotive Research, FCA’s average hourly labor cost is $48, including all benefits and employer contributions to Social Security and unemployment. This is the lowest of the Detroit Three and average for workers at auto plants in the U.S.
U.S. AVERAGE AUTO WORKER COST
Hourly Labor Cost
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has said he would like to raise Tier 2 wages to $22.00, freeze Tier 1 pay, and let attrition eliminate Tier 1 over time.
For the first time, Marchionne will be facing UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell, who replaced the late General Holiefield as head of the UAW’s Chrysler Department, and also for the first time, he will be facing an American union that can call a strike.
Negotiations in 2007, 2009, and 2011 were all predicated on ensuring Chrysler could survive. In 2015, Chrysler seems fairly robust and the market is still good even though the rate of growth is slowing.
There’s no doubt members of the more militant locals, such as the one at the Belvidere Assembly Plant, are going to be pushing hard to regain some of what was given up in previous years. But it’s likely 2015 will be the year when both sides have to confront the new normal and strike a bargain that benefits both sides without beggaring either.