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December 2015 Archives

Siri, who's liable if a driverless car crashes? Is this a trick question?

The spate of auto recalls during 2015 made us wonder about a statistic that safety advocates and motor vehicle manufacturers regularly quote. An estimated 33,000 people die in car accidents every year in this country, they say, and 90 percent of those fatalities are the result of human error. Drunk drivers, people who do not wear their seat belts, drivers who ignore traffic lights -- to misquote "King Kong," the thinking is generally "Twasn't motor vehicles but human error that caused the crash."

Feds shift gears on school bus safety 'best practices'

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is in the news again, this time because of a surprising about-face regarding seat belts. The switch is not the result of multiple recalls or any alarming statistical findings. The data we discussed in our Nov. 25 post certainly showed that seat belts save lives: Not wearing a seat belt is at the top of the list (by a sizeable margin) of the Fatal Four causes of death in traffic accidents.

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