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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The Department of Transportation Wants Cars to Disable Your Cell Phone While Driving

Texting while driving is dangerous, and you shouldn't do it. People still do it, and because of those people the Department of Transportation is recommending that auto makers install systems that will disable cell phones while the car is moving. That will stop texting and driving, but it will also stop texting while riding shotgun. This is overkill.

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Distracted Driving App Could Lead to Safer Roads

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to crash. A team from Rutgers University has developed an application that may prove useful in preventing accidents caused by distracted driving. Will it be the answer to solving the nationwide problem of texting and talking while driving? They certainly seem to think so, but it might just end up being an annoying obstacle.

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Flying Car Gets Green Light From Feds

Flying car company Terrafugia, whose website conveniently includes a pronunciation guide (say it with me: "Terra-FOO-gee-ah"), has announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has granted the company specific exceptions regarding their Transition vehicle. The Transition aims to fulfill the dream that we've been promised since the earliest days of prognostication: The flying car. Unlike other projects like the Skycar, the Transition is meant to function as both a street-legal car and a light aircraft. The idea is that you could drive it from your home, right onto the airfield, and take off. But to balance the requirements of the stresses of flight, the Transition needed heavy duty tires and a heavy-duty polycarbonate windscreen. Both of these required special exemptions from the NHTSA, which Terrafugia has now secured. For Terrafugia, receiving these exceptions is a great accomplishment but it is by no means the last hurdle for the Transition. The company still has some rounds of torturous safety testing ahead of it, and then the task of marketing and selling what is sure to be a pricey piece of luxury machinery. But who cares about that? Soon, we'll live in a world where you buy a flying car, and that's what's most important here. (Terrafugia via Geeks are Sexy)

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Black Boxes Coming Soon to (or Possibly Already Inside) Your Car

Flight data recorders, or black boxes, have been part of the popular culture for decades, but the automotive equivalent only recently unintentionally accelerated into the public consciousness. But it's likely that drivers everywhere will have to become more familiar with the devices if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does as it's expected to do and announce a mandate on the devices. Like their airplane equivalent, the Event Data Recorders (EDRs) used in automobiles record vital information meant to provide investigators with a snapshot of events leading up to a crash or other event. Though Toyota made the devices famous, General Motors has been installing the devices on airbag equipped vehicles since the 1990s and is something of a leader in the field of EDRs. These devices collect reams of data to help determine whether automotive or driver error played a role in the accident, and to gauge how the car's systems performed during a crash.

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