Texting-While-Driving Consequences Vary by State

TextingWhileDriving

Generally speaking, a moving violation is when a driver breaks the law while their vehicle is in motion. Examples of patently dangerous actions include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding and running a stop sign. But what about texting while driving?

Cars.com Undercover: Texting While Driving Rampant

That indisputably risky variety of distracted driving that puts drivers' eyes on their smartphone screens and their thumbs on the digital keys — and only a portion of their attention on the road — has been shown to directly correlate with accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that a texting driver is 23 times more likely to crash, a major contributor to the thousands of distracted-driving deaths that occur each year.

By Matt Schmitz | April 11, 2014 | Comments (2)

Gas Prices Rise Higher Than a Year Ago

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By Rick Popely

Gas prices continued to rise in most parts of the country the past week, and for the first time since early January the national average for regular unleaded was higher than on the same date a year ago.

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The national average of $3.61 for a gallon of regular gas was 4 cents higher than on April 10, 2013, according to Thursday's AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, and the highest since early August. That ends a 14-week streak in which pump prices were lower than a year ago.

By Matt Schmitz | April 11, 2014 | Comments (7)

Chevy Steers the Action in 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

Iron Man has an affinity for Audi. The Avengers are all about Acura. Now, Captain America — the poster boy for Made in the U.S.A. — demonstrates his domestic disposition by pledging allegiance to a brand that's as American as apple pie: Chevrolet. As Marvel Entertainment's latest Avengers-universe entry, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" dominated the box office this past weekend with an April-record-smashing $96 million bow, the bow-tie brand dominated the film's driving scenes.

Black Widow Corvette Stingray Is Auto Show Avenger

As we reported during the 2014 Chicago Auto Show in February, among the most prominently featured vehicles in the Chevy-heavy sequel is the custom black-on-black-on-black Chevrolet Corvette Stingray driven by actress Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow when she picks up Cap in front of the Capitol. (She's a spy, so obviously a totally bad-ass-looking supercar should help her keep a low profile, right?) Other showcased Chevrolets include the Tahoe SUV, Impala sedan and Silverado pickup truck.

By Matt Schmitz | April 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

What to Expect at the 2014 New York Auto Show

2015FordFocus

For nearly as long as there have been automobiles, there have been auto shows. One of the oldest and most important is the New York International Auto Show. The Big Apple's exhibition started 114 years ago and bills itself as the longest-running auto show on the continent.

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The show returns for 2014 from April 18-27, with press- and dealer-only previews April 16-17, at New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center, 11th Avenue between 34th and 40th streets. Based on the debuts and notable appearances we already know about, it's shaping up to be quite a year of face-offs.

By Matt Schmitz | April 10, 2014 | Comments (1)

Distracted Driving Campaign Targets 'Big Fat Myth' of Hands-Free Safety

HandsFree

Safety advocates want motorists to pay attention to the dangers of distracted driving. As April is designated Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the century-old Itasca, Ill.-based National Safety Council has released a new poll showing that 80 percent of drivers across the U.S. believe hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone while behind the wheel. The group believes this not to be the case. Meanwhile, among motorists reporting using hands-free devices while driving, 70 percent said they do so for safety reasons.

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"While many drivers honestly believe they are making the safe choice by using a hands-free device, it's just not true," said David Teater, the NSC's senior director of transportation initiatives. "The problem is the brain does not truly multitask. Just like you can't read a book and talk on the phone, you can't safely operate a vehicle and talk on the phone."

By Matt Schmitz | April 10, 2014 | Comments (4)

Gas Prices Impact Driving Habits Less

GasPrices

Fewer Americans are reducing how much they drive because of gas prices, which average $3.57 for a gallon of regular unleaded, 7 cents less than a year ago, AAA said Thursday.

More Fuel-Efficiency News

In a telephone survey conducted by AAA, 53 percent of motorists said they are changing their driving habits or lifestyle to offset higher gas prices. A year ago, when pump prices averaged $3.64, 68 percent said they were reducing the amount of driving they do.

By Rick Popely | April 4, 2014 | Comments (6)

App Helps Urban Drivers Avoid Street-Sweeping Tickets

ParkingTicket

You thought to yourself, "This is too good to be true," last night when you pulled into that parking space right in front of your building. After all, you live on a crowded street in a crowded neighborhood in a crowded city and normally have to circle the block at least three times. Yet there was a curbside space so big you maneuvered into it nose first. And why not? Everyone lucks out and snags a sweet spot once in a while, right? Actually, maybe not. See, what you did was park on the side scheduled for overnight street sweeping, and then you were greeted by a nice fat ticket when you left for work the next day.

More Car Gadgets News on Cars.com

And so goes the plight of the urban-dwelling car owner. If you are one, you've likely experienced any number of similar scenarios, from snow tow zones to construction parking bans to parade routes; street-sweeping-related parking tickets rank among the most common. According to pay-per-mile car-insurance provider MetroMile, it was the most frequently issued of all tickets in San Francisco in 2011, at $60 a pop costing the city's drivers $29 million. But the story should be relatable to motorists in other congested metropolises like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago where parking is tight and warning signs confusing.

To help drivers avoid getting cleaned out by street-sweeping tickets, MetroMile has developed a smartphone app that warns parking motorists. Working in tandem with the company's connected-car device, the Metronome, which plugs into a vehicle's OBD-II port, the app uses onboard GPS to note the location of the parked vehicle. If it's in a street-sweeping zone, the app will send a push notification 12 hours ahead of the sweeping schedule and a reminder an hour before.

By Matt Schmitz | April 4, 2014 | Comments (3)

Feds Say New Cars Must Have Backup Cameras By Model-Year 2019

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After years of delays and lawsuits, the government's proposed backup camera mandate is finally a reality, according to reports from The Detroit News. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ruled that all vehicles less than 10,000 pounds must be equipped with a backup camera starting in 2018 for model-year 2019 vehicles.

The mandate is a long time coming: Congress passed the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act in 2008, named after a child killed when an SUV backed into him in 2002. The bill stipulated that the Department of Transportation had to issue a backup camera law within three years. After years of setbacks, several safety groups sued the DOT last year, citing an "unreasonable delay" in creating backup-camera rules.

Cost is one of the points at issue; NHTSA says the backup camera will likely cost the auto industry an extra $58 to $203 per vehicle, but that the equipment would cut between 95 and 112 of the nearly 300 backup deaths per year in the U.S. NHTSA cites that about 100 of those annual deaths are of children younger than 5. Some automakers, like Honda, have already started offering standard backup cameras across their lineups.

Click here to read more from our affiliates at the Detroit News.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Jennifer Geiger | March 31, 2014 | Comments (9)

Tesla Promises Safety Upgrades to Model S After Fires

2013TeslaModelS

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Friday in a blog post that the automaker would upgrade its Model S electric luxury car with a titanium shield on its underbody and aluminum deflector plates. These safety measures come in the wake of three battery fires in North America last fall, which prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open a formal investigation in November into 15,800 model-year 2012-2013 Model S EVs, the Detroit News reported. After the Tesla announcement, federal safety regulators announced they were closing their probe without seeking a recall, the newspaper reported.

"We felt it was important to bring this risk down to virtually zero to give Model S owners complete peace of mind," Musk stated. "There is no safer car on the road than a Tesla."

Get the full story from the Detroit News, here.

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By Matt Schmitz | March 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

Report: GM Tells Dealers to Stop Selling 1.4-Liter Chevrolet Cruzes

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Kelsey Mays, Cars.com

If you're shopping for a Chevrolet Cruze, you may have to hold on. USA Today reports that GM has ordered dealers to stop delivering 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruze sedans with the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. The automaker didn't clarify one particular reason to USA Today. The Cruze offers a 1.8-liter four-cylinder or the turbo 1.4-liter four-cylinder; the affected engine makes up about two-thirds of new 2013/2014 Cruze inventory on Cars.com.

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It's worth noting that temporary stop-sale orders are fairly common, often when automakers detect a safety issue. The exact issue is unclear, but GM recalled the 1.4-liter Cruze in August 2013 because of brake issues. This move comes as the automaker faces multiple investigations over faulty ignition switches in six 2000s-era models, including the Cruze's predecessor, the Chevy Cobalt. The automaker has recalled 1.6 million cars globally, with 1.37 million in the U.S.

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By David Thomas | March 28, 2014 | Comments (15)

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