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ATA Renews Call for FMCSA to Implement Crash Accountability

Arlington, Va. The American Trucking Associations today reiterated its call for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to immediately establish a process to remove from motor carriers' records crashes where it was plainly evident that the carrier was not to blame.

Currently, carriers' scores in FMCSA's safety monitoring system, Compliance, Safety, Accountability, are based on all carrier-involved crashes, including those that the companies' drivers did not cause and could not reasonably have prevented.

"Just last month, police gave chase to a driver of a stolen car who crossed a grassy median and struck a truck head-on," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "It is clearly inappropriate for FMCSA to use these types of crashes to prioritize trucking companies for future government intervention, especially when responsibility for the crash is so obvious.

"Including these types of crashes in the calculation of carriers' CSA scores, paints an inappropriate picture for shippers and others that these companies are somehow unsafe," he said.

Earlier this week, FMCSA's Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee heard from a crash reconstructionist who contended that FMCSA could not determine fault in many instances based solely on information from police accident reports.

"This may be the case with some crashes," said Graves, "but not when a drunk driver rear ends a gasoline tanker or the driver of a stolen car crosses a grassy median and strikes a truck head on."

Over a year ago, FMCSA shelved plans to make just these sorts of determinations in favor of further study. ATA subsequently called on FMCSA to establish an interim process to address crashes where it is "plainly evident" that the crash should not count against the trucking company.

"FMCSA has been evaluating this issue for years and is not due to complete additional research until this summer," Graves said. "We don't need more research to conclude that it is inappropriate to use crashes like these to paint the involved trucking companies and professional drivers as unsafe."


2013 Honda Accord Sedan - the car of the year!

If some time ago there was a clear division between car models designed for Europe and America, it is now the same car for all the markets. Honda Accord is the car designed by the Japanese...


If some time ago there was a clear division between car models designed for Europe and America, it is now the same car for all the markets. Honda Accord is the car designed by the Japanese, carrying both American and European genes. We will try to figure out from which of the "parent" the new Accord inherited more.

2013 Honda Accord Sedan - the car of the year!

We tried three pre-production models. All with the new engine family-EarthDreams. The first two are equipped with in-line four-cylinder engines 2.4 (180 hp), but are presented in various models - Executive and Sport. They differ from each other not only by the trim and the features, but more importantly, by the suspension settings and tire dimensions. The third car evaluated - a top class sedan with a V-shaped "six" 3.5 liters. Despite the volume and maximum output power of 280 hp, according to manufacturer, it must be quite economical due to its ability to shut down two or three of its' cylinders.

While developing the car, the Japanese tried to improve the characteristics that have traditionally brought the Accord down - comfort, smoothness, the level of equipment and the quality of interior trim. The improved automobile has grown outside of the D-class and will now fight in the segment with completely different traditions and rules. After all, the greatest percentage of buyers for E-Class sedans - are people in the age group of about 35 years, they are the most solvent contingent. In contrast to younger customers, many of whom preferred the Accord to other models, this public is more demanding. In order to attract more of this type of potential byers, the new Accord had to introduce an increased amount of "European DNA" fragments.

However, in the design of the car the American heredity prevails - the appearance has become more restrained, which in general is good for this class, but the familiar look of boldness in Accord will be missed. Though we must admit the diode light beam sections look menacing, even aggressive. Looking at the profile view, the Accord's swiftness also diminished. Low, almost horizontal window-sill line, huge windows.... The Japanese claim that within the company a war literally broke out concerning these elements. Designers were against this decision, but the engineers insisted that a good visibility and, as a consequence, security, is much more important than aesthetics.

We were kindly asked not to strictly judge the interior - it is perhaps the most pre-produced, incomplete part of the car. Decorative molding on the front panels and doors will change; these details will be judged later. However, we can at least say that the main feeling of the interior is comfortable. Not luxurious, but not boring either. However, the features of the American ancestors are everywhere: simple lines, symmetrical forms, restrained decor, solid gear lever, wide seats, etc. Fortunately, the European influence in the interior was tangible: with quality finishing materials, seats, though broad, but with ample lateral support.

But enough about looks we are curious from whom the Accord inherited the driving habits. Let's start with the in-line versions of the "four". Most likely, these will form the backbone of the sales. So what do they have to offer to the buyer? The Japanese claim that the test prototype dashed off more than a thousand kilometers. Based on the data, characteristics of the suspension where chosen. In particular, because of the complexity the settings for double lever for greater comfort in the new car, it was decided to use MacPherson struts. The shock absorbers are modified for maximum roll pressure so any refined smooth ride shouldn't be expected. This is a sign of the prevalence of European genes.

The first car that we tried was the Accord Executive. Right from the start we've got a rough and pockmarked pavement. It was pretty tough and caused decent shaking. Small and sharp bumps were transmitted into the cabin. As the uneven asphalt gave the way to something a little more suited to define as "normal road" things become much better. The suspensions sharply respond only to small cracks in the pavement, and work with medium and large neatly and efficiently. Fortunately for active drivers, the car only leans slightly during turns; here we also see the old-world approach.

The steering wheel is fairly light. This again is closer to the American tradition. The reaction on steering is sharp enough and predictable. This is one of the main features of the car that the Japanese put at the forefront. It is manifested not only in the steering, but also in the nature of the engine. The Japanese claim that, despite the loss of as much as 20 hp, the dynamics of the car was not diminished. The "four" with the company's VTEC system unwinds smoothly, evenly speeding up the car, starting with a mark of 4000 rpm and up to 7000 rpm. Not to say that the engine sounds very sporty like, but it's quite enjoyable. Precisely in this range, the motor is the most lively and responsive; the rest of the time the car is pretty quiet.

In general, the Japanese have put a lot of effort to improve noise reduction by adding sound-absorbing materials wherever possible and equipped the car with active noise cancellation system. For Honda, this technology is not new, but we saw its practical application for the first time. The system "listens" to the noise in the cabin with a couple of microphones and generates an opposite phase signal with a sub-woofer and speakers located in the front doors. It works regardless of whether the music is played in the car or not. They say that in this way it can reduce the intensity of the noise by as much as 10 db.

The Accord in Sport complexion is not very different from the more expensive "brother." A little tougher ride due to a bigger rims and "sportier" suspension, better steering, simpler in trim and less fancy. However, it would make sense to test it with manual gear box, but our sample was equipped with the same five-step automatic transmission.

It's time move on to the 'dessert': engine - V6 3.5, 280 hp and 252 lb.ft of torque. Six-step automatic transmission when in sport mode, accustomed to hold to a lower gear till the last moment. Variable Cylinder Management system turns off two or three cylinders of six. Large-aspirated engine with multiple injection definitely America. Transmission from Europe. How will they get along together?

Tandem turned out to be just great. The accelerator pedal is very sensitive; the motor spins up willingly and powerfully from the bottom up to near red-line. In the Drive mode the transmission tries to quickly switch to a sixth gear, and the computer to turn off a couple of cylinders, and even better - three. The turned off cylinders go back to work almost immediately on a touch of accelerator pedal. But all the fun begins, when the selector gear switched into Sport mode.

The transmission "forgets" the presence of the sixth gear, and even the fifth, - it switches to it only when the Accord reaches really high speeds. On fairly long stretch with a partially pressed gas pedal car does not go to a higher gear - in serpentine this is just an invaluable skill. The car felt very solid, it stuck to the road. If only there was such a behavior in "younger" models! Positively, the matter is certainly not only in the characteristics of the suspension, but also in the larger mass of the car. Looks like Accord with V6 engine feels lighter and more dynamic than lighter 2.4-liter engine models. Perhaps it is the top model of the series, despite the "American" engine turned out most European in nature and is closer to the collective image of other Honda cars.

The result is that American genes mainly influenced appearance of the car, and European - its inner world. Quite reasonable combination, we think. The Accord V6 sedan will compete with the Toyota Camry, equipped with the similar engine. Competitors of Accord with four cylinder engine are: Camry four, and the most powerful four Hyundai Sonata. Canadian Association of Automotive Journalists named 2013 Honda Accord Sedan Canadian Car of the Year.