Be your own safety driver and police chases

What’s it called when you’re talking about how the Tik Tok generation is stealing Hyundai/Kia’s and at the same someone parks a stolen Hyundai right outside your window? I don’t know either but it happened. Plus we cover rules around police chases, right to repair, more tech-bro nonsense from Kyle, how does mapping software work and some recalls.


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note: this is a machine generated transcript and may not be completely accurate. This is provided for convience and should not be used for attribution.

Anthony: You’re listening to their auto be a law, the center for auto safety podcast with executive director, Michael Brooks, chief engineer, Fred Perkins, and hosted by me, Anthony Semino. For over 50 years, the center for auto safety has worked to make cars safer.

Fred: All right, I’m in

Anthony: great. Hey listeners. Let’s just jump right into an ongoing topic, the Hyundai Kia thefts and how you can steal a Hyundai and a Kia. Look, first what you do is you go on to the TikTok and you just search for how do I steal a Hyundai Kia. I don’t know if you even search TikTok. I’ve never been on TikTok.

I don’t know. This article in Vice talks about cities around the U. S. are facing r Facing a staggering new normal when it comes to stolen cars, and I’m facing a staggering amount of sibilance every time I say an S word. The example that uses Chicago used to have about 850 cars stolen per month. And look, I put an S at the end of that.

How did that happen? Now it consistently has more than 2, 000, an average of 86 cars stolen every single day. This is crazy. And the vast majority are Honda and Kias.

Michael: That’s the article is great. Because what they’re doing is sending out public information requests to, I think they said a hundred cities. They’re still in the process of collecting the data. And what you see generally on every chart is a massive spike in deaths somewhere around the spring of 2022.

And typically you’ll see a large spike, more than way more than double. You’re talking many times. The rate of theft in, in, in a couple of months and then the thefts drop, but they don’t drop back to the old normal. They’re still way up. So what the article is pointing out is that we may not ever see, or at least for the next few years, or at least until Hyundai and Kia get this fix out to all of their owners, we may not see these theft rates drop to what it was before, which is very concerning.

Fred: Well, they also point out that the thefts are associated with lots of secondary crimes. Not only people just driving their cars away, but also with people driving too fast people who don’t have licenses speeding around thefts, some murders are associated with it as well. People using these cars without authority.

So it’s not only the problem of the cars themselves and the property crimes associated with it, but there are a lot of other. Downstream violent crimes are being associated with the free availability of free transportation for people who really shouldn’t have it.

Anthony: So Hyundai Kia in the past, they, we’ve joked about how their fix, their first fix was, Hey, we’ll send you the club.

That silly thing that goes across your steering wall from like night late. 1980s, early nineties infomercials they stopped doing that. And then they had something else where we’ll upgrade some software if you like, beg what’s the latest going on there for.

Michael: The latest is the same. It’s the status quo.

It’s Hyundai and Kia are still offering as a, an upgrade, a software upgrade, a customer satisfaction program. This software package, but so far, at least as of last month, they had only gotten it to about 1 5th of the vehicles that are subject to these types of thefts. So they’ve got a long way to go.

And if that number doesn’t increase from 20 to 80 or so, I’m not sure if we’re going to see these steps go down appreciably in these places. Right now you have. It looks to be like, hundreds of individuals running around these cities that know how to easily steal these vehicles.

And we think that there needs to be a lot more done both by Hyundai and Kia, we think NHTSA needs to take another look at this and figure out if they have the authority to make this a recall. And, we think we want to make sure that this doesn’t happen again in the future. We need standards in place that will prevent this.

And then 1 other note on the on the article that I found really intriguing. If you look at the cities, it looks like somebody had the tick tock hat or knew about this in Denver long before these other cities came around to it. I’d be really interested to see if. Are there any other cities that match that Denver pattern once all, all 100 cities have reported their data to the mother board who wrote the article?

Anthony: I don’t know, but the article mentions towards the end that about 2 million of the 9 million vehicles vulnerable to the theft cannot receive the software update. And as of July, about 5 million vehicles still remain vulnerable to theft, either because they haven’t gotten the software update or they were not eligible for some reason.

And there have been reports in Buffalo and Washington DC of vehicles with the software update still being stolen. So, okay, so I go and I get the upgrade if I qualify for it and they’re still stealing my car? Yeah. So I, consumers are just you’re just, ah. And wait, and I remember we mentioned once in the past that some auto insurance companies are like, Yeah, we’re not covering these vehicles anymore.

Is that still an issue?

Michael: Well, that could still be an issue. It’s not where it was in January before. I believe that the insurance company is coming out and announcing that is what spurred Hyundai and Kia to go ahead and get the software out. And, Our opinion, I think, is that the software was, rushed and it, we know that it’s not compatible with some other if you have an aftermarket security system, there’s no guarantee with it that it’s compatible with that.

The software hasn’t been validated against all of these aftermarket systems, and it there have been circumstances where consumers have had the software installed. They mentioned D. C. and somewhere else, but we’ve probably heard of 3 or 4 or 5 similar reports. From consumers who had the software installed, thought they were doing the right thing and then someone use the tick tock hack on their car.

So that’s concerning as well. If the software and a little sticker you get with it to put on your window to show the potential thieves that you’ve got software, your car, if the software doesn’t work, that sticker doesn’t work. And you’ve got to, you got to start over. So, this issue is just, right now, Hyundai has done very little other than give folks a software patch and do a couple of events, PR events to promote the software update, but they’re not achieving any real growth in the numbers of vehicles that have had the patch installed.

So, it’s a really difficult situation. All the burden here is being thrust on the owners and local police departments and, the victims of some of these stolen vehicles while, Hyundai here doing a limited amount to resolve it. And, D. O. T. and that’s our, wiping their hands of the issue and pretending that they can’t do anything here.

So. Right now, there aren’t really any good answers. I don’t expect this data to, to trend to change a whole lot going forward or to drop a lot because we just don’t see these fixes being put in place.

Fred: This is a problem over a certain time period, right? Are the currently being delivered Kias and Hyundais have the same problem?

Michael: No, so we know that they’re going to be going out of service and that’s really what’s going to help here. These vehicles breaking down and leaving the streets if nothing else is done soon it’s basically every vehicle they made from 2011 to 2021 or so.

Fred: Okay, so the 10 year period.

Anthony: So, couple questions.

Do I need to have the TikTok app on my phone when I try to steal one of these cars? Okay.

Michael: I don’t know. You start teaching teenagers how to steal cars, Anthony.

Anthony: Back in my day. And the other question is, okay, so NHTSA and the DOT are falling flat on their face when it comes down to an issue of essentially cyber security.

In cars, is that fair to say?

Michael: That’s how we describe it, if you can’t get on top of an issue like this and prevent people from dying in the streets, then what’s going to happen when there’s a real cyber security issue that involves software and vehicles moving, how are you going to address that?

And, I think the real crux of the problem is right now they’re saying, because there’s an intervening criminal act here, they don’t have a responsibility to conduct this as a recall, but we know that cyber security, by definition, you’re going to have a hacker or an intervening criminal act to take over these vehicles.

So, it’s a troubling to me that in the future, this is setting a course now that suggests that they won’t be able to respond to cyber attacks that endanger Americans.

Fred: Well, it’s also interesting to see the magnitude of this problem without an actor who is actually trying to make it happen.

So, and this is an accidental apocalypse as far as I can tell, but it’s it only points out that if there were somebody actually trying to make this happen, it could have been much, much worse. There’s no limit. I don’t think there’s any limit on what the cybersecurity hackers could do or the cyber.

What is that word for those people? Cyber hackers or what are the bad people called? Teenagers. Teenagers. Well, maybe this is part of Hyundai’s practice of hiring undocumented teenage teenagers to build their cars, right? Maybe they’re not qualified to build the software.

Anthony: That’s a good call back to a deep cut from an earlier episode where we talked about labor practices at their factories. But I think we know how this ends going forward. Fred, it’s his mantra, which is everything will be better in the future. Except if you’re at NINSA or the DOT, you just go, Ha, we’ve got to create a new government agency to handle this.

We have Space Force, why not have Hack Force? Ooh, Cyber Squad Force! CyberSquad, isn’t that anyway. Moving on, here’s a fun little one. From the Associated Press, New report recommends limiting police pursuits to violent crimes after rise in fatalities. That’s a lot to take at once. The article starts off with, Aiming to curb the hundreds of deaths caused by police chases in the U. S. each year, a new report calls for police to not, for police not to start a pursuit unless a violent crime has been committed and the suspect poses an imminent threat. The study founded by, funded by the U. S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, holy crap, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, highlighted NHTSA data that shows fatal crashes involving a police pursuit peaked at 455 in 2020, the highest since at least 2007 when there are 372 fatalities.

So life is not like the movies, the police aren’t just yeah, let’s get them, high speed chase, it’s not like the LA freeway everywhere.

Michael: No, there’s a lot of procedures. I think that’s 1 of the things that’s highlighted in this report is that they’re, every procedure, there’s no federal standards here.

There’s no, real, there may be some guidance and this certainly would qualify as guidance because they put out a long list of things that department should consider in their pursuit policies. But, there’s no, One way that people do this or the departments do this across America.

And so there’s some departments who have, very high. Rates of pursuits and collisions and others that don’t, and a lot of it depends on their policy, but it’s a complex issue from the perspective of there are places that have both relaxed their policies over time, but after strengthening them.

There’s so the data is mixed on how, what exactly is causing this sudden rise. Now, maybe it’s the fact that there are more Hyundai’s and key is being stolen and fleeing from police. Who knows?

Anthony: Hey, everybody’s a comedian this week

Michael: and you get down to it. There’s, the, there’s still.

That was only through about 2020, I think, so there’s still I’ve been looking for more recent data from the last year or 2, and there hasn’t been a lot. So, of data available in the subject. I guess that’s 1 of those things. I believe it goes through as far as process. And that usually takes 18 months or so to wrap up and become final.

So that may be why that’s not there, but it’s, Yeah. This is going to continue to happen. I don’t know. I watch a lot of sometimes in my spare time, watch cops, those kind of videos, and it’s scary as hell watching pursuits to me, because you’ve got a driver completely out of control, weaving through innocent people or driving like a madman up the road.

And when you get to the point where they finally stop and you hear, they were, Driving with a taillight out and flee because they had a spinning license. You wonder if all of that really had to happen. And, we wonder if the, the juice was worth the squeeze to get there and all the people you put at risk to make a small arrest like that.

And I think that’s part of what. The report focused on is that, you really need to be sure if you’re going to initiate pursuits, that it is a, a very high value, dangerous subject who is an imminent threat to the community and not do things that might threaten public safety. When you’re essentially arresting someone who doesn’t pose a threat to public safety.

Fred: All right. If the cure is worse than the disease. You probably shouldn’t pursue the cure. I think that’s what this is all about. It’s a question of equity. And, in a sense, what the high speed pursuit is doing is it’s escalating a property crime to a capital offense by, putting the lives of the people at risk.

Now, what the policy says is that if there is an imminent risk to the public, if there is evidence that there’s a violent crime involved, then yes, that’s the proper time to have the high speed pursuit or the pursuit of the vehicle. But short of that. You’re not doing the people being pursued any favor property crime is not as important and as imminent a threat as a violent crime.

And so I think that’s what they’re trying to do is to take the adrenaline out of the chase and turn it into a more analytic process. It says, is this chase that we’re going to pursue with all the risks associated with it? Is it really appropriate to the action that’s initiated the chase?

Michael: And the other thing here, like a component of them, I think that we support here is eliminating this decision.

Almost at all. If you can remotely immobilize a vehicle and law enforcement has that authority to do so in any type of circumstance, say that it’s if a fleeing person, anything, you don’t have to make a determination if they’re fleeing police and they’re danger to public. If you have a.

Button that can immobilize their vehicle. The public safety threat is eliminated immediately. I think that’s something that we need to consider. There are a lot of privacy concerns there, but this situation would be resolved if the police have the ability to stop vehicles at the touch of a button.

And we could avoid a lot of these problems and outcomes we’re seeing from the stolen Hyundai and Kia vehicles and a lot of other things. If that’s a technology that we can accept, and that can escape some of the concerns about privacy and freedom of movement that we might have, we’re turning a little bit of power over to police and their determinations in that scenario.

But I can’t think of a situation I’ve ever been in where I needed to worry about the police stopping me.

Anthony: So I like to point out that Michael is a law graduate and a white man.

Michael: Yeah, I don’t have the same perspective as the rest of the world, but I just, it’s. It seems like we’re already going to a point where driver monitoring systems are going to be looking at the driver, determining whether the driver is paying attention, determining whether they’ve been drinking, inebriated, having a medical event, and stopping the car.

I don’t think that stopping cars when there is a criminal act taking place is. Of stretch from that point, and it’s certainly from a safety perspective, probably a good thing.

Fred: We should remind listeners, though, who are interested in autonomous vehicles that there is no way for police to stop an autonomous vehicle for good or for bad reasons.

They’re just going to go and do what they’re doing. And as far as we can tell, none of the autonomous vehicle developers are including in their design any capability for police to stop. The vehicle is on demand, much less the occupants to stop the vehicle on demand.

Anthony: Well, clearly, Fred, you’ve not been listening to the words of Mr. Kyle Vaught, CEO of GM Cruise, who says the entire purpose of their company is to make the world safer, is to save lives, and to make the roads safer. It’s not to recoup investors money at all. It’s all for safety. Why are you cynical? Humans are terrible drivers, according to somebody named Kyle.

Fred: I’m not a cynical, I’m bald.

Anthony: Ah, eh. But real quick as an aside, something important we glanced over. Michael, you mentioned watching Cops. My favorite episode of Cops was one where it was a a home invasion and the police officer went into the house to investigate and it was a hog. A hog got in someone’s house and just rampaged the place.

It was amazing. That sounds like my house. Well, I did take place in the south. So yeah, let’s piggly wiggly involves. Oh, wow. Look at that. How many minutes into the show and he gets his piggly wiggly fix. Hey, piggly wiggly. If you’re listening come to auto safety. org and click on the donate button.

You can click it with your hoofer or your. Yeah, it’s just hoofs, right? It’s only hoofs. It’s a snout. Oh, a snout or a hoof, we’ll take. Cash, though. That’d be good. So, I’m gonna jump into our, my, favorite person on planet Earth, Kyle. He he got to sit down with some friendly people at, I don’t know, one of these sycophantic tech fund organization nonsense where they throw very softball questions.

To Kyle, and he was asked questions about the GM Cruise Origin. This is a thing we’ve mentioned that looks like two ugly halves of a Honda Odyssey, bubbled gum together. This is a vehicle that doesn’t have a steering wheel, doesn’t have pedals, and that Kyle’s come out and said, Hey, the government’s gonna totally let us skip all safety regulations for these vehicles and get it out on the road.

And the government’s what’s that, bro? And he’s Oh! I haven’t seen that one yet. Yeah, he hasn’t, they haven’t come out and said that. So, this… This is a six seater vehicle with three seats facing back backwards and three seats facing forward very simple softball Question to Kyle was like this seems like a weird layout like that seems a lot of extra space like why would you have all of this space here and his response was The purpose is to encourage pooling.

So now if you get into a rideshare and it’s a pool you have to sit next to somebody side by side uncomfortably. And now, with our tool, you can sit across from somebody and look at them breathing at you uncomfortably. This is clearly a man who’s never won, never heard of humans. And nor has he ever heard of mass transit.

That was an argument for mass transit.

Michael: Yeah, I mean, I think that a lot of us would prefer that everyone be facing forward. The introverts. Maybe Kyle’s an extrovert.

Anthony: He’s some kind of vert. And I don’t know, maybe just do it in the way that cars have been crash tested for, I don’t know. However long they’ve been crash dusted

Michael: further on, there were some other things in there that were interesting, the numbers, the projections of how much money they can make, if you compare it to like Uber, didn’t make a lot of sense.

Seems like they’re overestimating how much they’re going to grow, how much money they’re going to make. They say they’re going to be ready for winter in a couple of years. That sounds like. Nonsense I don’t even think they’re driving and thunderstorms and things yet in the sense of, I don’t know, some of that sounded just like more aspirin aspirational tech bro stuff that really, when it comes down to it, isn’t going to happen or isn’t happening on the time frames that are continually set to appease investors.

Fred: Someone asked him, I’m sorry Anthony, it’s going to be really fun to see those push me pull yous navigating New York City traffic on a lovely winter day. I’m just looking forward to that.

Anthony: No, New York has flat out said this is not going to happen. But so someone they asked a very simple question about the business model for this in the case for this and he was like, well, we know when I get into specifics, but you can do the math.

And so I sat down and I did the math and I don’t see how this happens at all. GM spending over 2 billion a year on this. They’ve invested at least. And right now, we’ve got 300 cruises running around San Francisco. They’ve estimated that’s like an annual revenue of 17 million. Sounds like a lot, except when you’ve spent billions and billions.

So we’d have to have these running 24 hours a day in 20… There’s 30, so 30 US cities around the clock, and they would have to own the rideshare market. They would have to have, Uber wouldn’t exist, Lyft wouldn’t exist, taxi service wouldn’t exist, and all of their revenue would have to be pure profit.

And then, in let’s say, maybe 10, 15 years, they break even. I don’t. I don’t get it.

Michael: I don’t get it either. And what you’re howling there is exactly why I don’t get. I just don’t see the use case that these vehicles add to our streets. They’re clogging up adding more congestion to streets and they’re not bringing anything that already available modes of ride share are bringing.

So. Do we need them there right now? I know the folks in Austin don’t think so this week, right?

Anthony: So, yeah, Cruise got let loose on the streets of Austin, Texas. Because cruises staying in the south, because there’s no winter there weather’s relatively mild. So Cruise’s vehicles broke down. A bunch of them came into an intersection at once.

Saw each other and went, You’re ugly. No, you’re ugly. Let’s stop working. And they stopped working. There’s a video you can find online. And basically, Cruise said, According to them, the fleet ended up in a high demand area. How dare they? Which also brought with it a slew of pedestrian and passenger vehicle traffic.

Hence the high demand area. One of the vehicles got stuck in an intersection while committing to a turn, thus further congesting traffic in three different directions. Unfortunately, more and more cruise robo taxis flooded the narrow Austin street to meet the peak demand, only to join the traffic jam.

Michael: It sounds like they’re playing sardines. Do you ever play that? Yeah,

Anthony: as a kid, this is hilariously, it’s hilarious. Unfortunately, Cruise could not manually reroute the vehicles quickly enough So there was nowhere for them to go. So their whole argument is, Hey, this makes traffic better. This will take congestion off the road and they get into a situation where it’s like people request it.

It’s an area where there’s a lot of other vehicles and pedestrian traffic and their entire system collapses. And they’re like

Fred: well, hey, to be fair to them, Anthony, they said they’re going to take proactive measures to fix the problem. They’re proactive. They’re not just regular measures. They’re proactive.

And I always thought of that as some kind of intestinal relief mechanism, but maybe they’ve got something else in mind.

Anthony: I’ve always thought proactive is some sort of skin tincture. It is.

Fred: Okay, good. But they’re going to apply that, these proactive measures to the situation, so it should be fine in the future.

Everything will be better in the future. Well, maybe.

Michael: It’s their expanded ODD. They say they expanded ODD. How do you expand an ODD in the

Fred: interesting part of this to me is that this whole situation was caused by people responding to what they think their business model is, which is people calling in the. self driving vehicles when there’s a need for transportation. And yeah the, their system collapsed and they collapsed every other system around themselves.

They’re like the black hole of traffic.

Anthony: Hey, they didn’t drive into wet cement this week. That’s a, look at that. They’re getting better. The last highlight of a man called Kyle I have to comment on is, during, again, this very softball interview, the interviewer said, Hey, a lot of people in San Francisco are they’re a little against this, they, City of San Francisco, they cut your fleet in half after you guys…

Crap the bed there. And his response to this was, well, in California there was a democratic process and they voted for us to have this. Kyle neglects that the democratic process was similar to that they have in Russia every few years or in Uganda. That They’d bought and paid for a member of the California Public Utility Commission.

They’d now,

Michael: Anthony, they didn’t buy and pay for a member of the California Public Utilities Commission. He was a former employee who was their managing counsel for a couple of years ago.

Fred: That would be clear if they bought, but it’s not clear if they

Anthony: paid for it. Okay, so I apologize. There’s a man named Mr.

Reynolds. He used to be the general counsel for GM Cruise. And then he left there to go work for the California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees GM Cruise. It’s just weird, I know.

Michael: Yeah, that’s still an odd thing here. That’s what public utilities commissions around the country seemed, it doesn’t seem to be unique to California where this type of thing happens from what I’ve learned since then.

So maybe that’s something that Congress should address

Anthony: that would be good or just legislators in general, but California seems to be a little weird when it comes to these vehicles.

Fred: Well, they’re following and it’s a model really, because a lot of the, a lot of the officers and it’s have also come from the automobile industry.

And the argument is always that, oh, people with experience in the automobile industry should be put into positions to regulate the automobile industry. It’s too sophisticated for anybody else to do it. Maybe, I don’t think that’s true myself, but apparently a lot of the legislators do.

Anthony: It’s who was the the head of the U. S. Treasury for a while? Wasn’t he a former head of a bank? And then he’s hey, the economy tanked, let’s throw a bunch of money to the banks. I don’t know. Oh, Hank Paulson. Hank Paulson? That guy? Don’t know. Anyway, getting off topic here. Governor Gavin

Newsom vetoed legislation this past week that required safety drivers in autonomous trucks. And in his veto message to lawmakers, tucked in the bottom of a Friday night press release, Newsom said the bill is not needed, the bill that would require safety drivers inside robo 18 wheelers, and suggested that concerns about jobs as well as safety are best addressed by regulators, not legisla I can’t even say this stuff with a straight face.

Come on, man. Like he’s basically saying it’s not my job. That’s somebody else’s gig. And in California, who points those regulators?

Michael: It’s a little troubling. They literally. Vetoed this bill because they are to lose it. Not because it’s not because it didn’t protect safety. They didn’t even discuss safety.

It was all about jobs and investments, which is a little scary when you see, a bill passed in California and going to the governor vetoed based solely on that purpose, when it’s something that impacts safety. And, I think we wanted this. Build to extend to vehicles under 10, 000 pounds that would include robo taxis and some other things because we don’t think they’re ready for prompt time without a state, a trained safety driver.

So that was a disappointment from the governor. Hopefully he won’t disappoint us even more by passing and signing this law that attacks the California lemon law either.

Anthony: Okay,

Fred: fill us in on the line. When he talks about regulators, are these the same people who regulated the AVs in San Francisco?

Do you know? Is it the PUC again, or is it a different group?

Anthony: No, he just vaguely said regulators. It’s better handled by regulators instead of legislators.

Michael: Yeah, which in California would be the DMV and the California Public Utilities Commission, both of which are involved.

Anthony: And who appoints those people and those?

Would that be the governor here? Wait a second, this is so Michael, you mentioned briefly the California Lemon Law. Fill us in.

Michael: Yeah, we mentioned it last week where they’re increasing the limit on claims that will be directed into this special jurisdiction court in California, the courts of limited jurisdiction.

And they’re increasing the limit from 25 to 35, 000, which brings in a lot of. Car buyers in that segment particularly lower cost models, and we’re really concerned that the ultimate result of this bill that went through the California legislature is going to be to, basically create 2 classes of car owners are those who can, pursue lemon law claims on their car sCruise up and then those who.

Are not able to get into the court where it’s possible to do the discovery and the other, important things that need to be done to prove a lemon law case. So we’re hoping that the governor vetoes this 1 as well, even though his other veto didn’t go our way, this 1 is 1 where it’s needed to protect primarily lower income car buyers.

Anthony: So Gavin, you hear that Gavin. You do the right thing on this one, or else Mike will be mad

Michael: and we put an action alert on our website this week. It’s SB 71 to let consumers know what they can do to oppose the governor signing the bill and, basically write him a letter, tell him about your lemon law experience or your bad car experience and, how you would be impacted by raising the limit here.

They could have easily exempted the lemon law from this bill. Bill, and they decided not to. And guess why? Because the alliance of automotive innovation and, a bunch of debt collectors decided to push the bill and they support it. So, you automatically know the bill is probably not that great when you see that those are the 2 main supporters of it.

So we’re urging consumers to take a look at that 1. if you’re in California.

Anthony: Yeah, no one ever came out smelling squeaky clean being on the side of debt collectors. Hey, listener, have you gone to autosafety. org and clicked on donate? No? Wait, why? Oh, you have? Okay, grab your, go into your friend’s pocketbook and take their credit card and donate on their behalf.

I don’t know if we’re actually advising that. Keep in mind, everything coming out of my mouth is not approved by the center for auto safety. It is generally pure nonsense.

Michael: Most isn’t. Yeah.

Anthony: Okay. Let’s get an update on right to repair laws. We’ve talked about this a few times. Massachusetts. Passed a right to repair law and a quick recap for listeners, this was to allow independent auto body and car repair services to access your computer data inside the car and hey, help fix things.

And so this article in MSN, we have a link to, it starts off with an auto industry group said on Friday, car makers do not plan to immediately comply with a Massachusetts law requiring them to share vehicle data with independent repair shops, citing concerns about potential hacking. Wait, so a law was passed and they’re just like, nah, is this what is this?

Am I reading this correctly?

Michael: Well, the first law was passed by, it was a referendum and it was the right to repair referendum that went through Massachusetts, put the law into play. When it came almost time to enforce the law, NHTSA came in and said whoa, this. This is going to be preempted because you basically, you can’t have long range, wireless communications of.

Of basically you can’t be able to this would allow people to take over vehicles from long distance. There’s a security issue there. And that’s 1 reason the manufacturers were saying, it’s going to be unsafe. If. This type of thing goes through the long range wireless, what Massachusetts. And what Nitsa came back, Massachusetts resisted.

They all talked, Nitsa came back a few months later. I believe it was in August and said okay. Your law is not preempted, but we have to figure out a way to do this using short range communications. Essentially, if you pull your car to the shop the shop owner can then look at your vehicle diagnostic data using some sort of Bluetooth interface or something that.

Operates in a local area, but doesn’t allow for outside security issues to happen from miles away. And now the menu, after all that happened, manufacturers saying, well, that’s great, but, we’re not going to be able to comply with this right now. They’re not making vehicles that comply with it and getting, probably getting the parts and the designs for the parts that they’re going to need to go into vehicles to enable this type of communication.

Would take them a year or 2 minimum, I think they have to plan things out pretty far in advance to get them into vehicle. So it’s going to be interesting to continue to follow this, especially because now main is. On the referendum in November is got a very similar law. I think it’s almost identical to the Massachusetts law.

So we’re starting to see a movement pick up to have the Massachusetts law, move across America. No other states are really pursuing that type of legislation right now. So I’ll be interested to see if there are not federal right to repair laws that are pushed in the future by industry to counteract this movement.

Thank you. Amongst the states and to get a, one national standard that applies here. But it’s certainly something to follow and it’s impacted a lot. Even drivers, I think some drivers didn’t have certain crash avoidance features enabled in Massachusetts because, Subaru, I believe it was resisting one of these was resisting this law and saying, we basically can’t comply with that law.

So it’s difficult. We hope they all work it out for this for the benefit of Massachusetts drivers like Fred. And ultimately, I think, we want more states to pick up on the idea and maybe look at a federal right to repair if that could be done in a fair manner.

Anthony: Okay,

Fred: so sorry, Anthony, the article also said that.

These people are negotiating with the Attorney General of Massachusetts. Now, I guess I’m naive, but I always thought negotiations with law enforcement occurred in a courtroom.

Anthony: How does this work? I’m going to try the next time I’m pulled over. I’m sorry I can’t comply with that law. Let’s negotiate.

Fred: I’d like to negotiate this speeding ticket, please.

Michael: That’ll go far. Yeah, I would suggest that attorneys general of many states play, part of their role is law enforcement, but a lot of it is political and that’s what you’re seeing there.

Anthony: Okay. Is that your campaign slogan? Okay. This week, let’s move on to the the towel of Fred and this week this one was prompted by a news story about a failure with Google maps.

It’s a. It’s a sad and interesting story where it was a there’s a family that’s suing Google because they followed the Google map directions and it led somebody off of a bridge that no longer existed. There’s a whole bunch of interesting things to this case. It was happening at night. I believe it was low visibility.

There was no markings on the road saying, Hey, this bridge doesn’t exist. The local people in the area, like they had submitted to Google repeatedly over the years saying remove this from your system because this is dangerous. So what prompted this, that’s what prompted this week’s Tao of Fred, and it’s Hey, Fred.

How do these map things work? And is it possible that Google is sending me down one road so it’s faster for their employees on another road? Okay, maybe not that part, but I suspect that happens at times. You’ve now

Fred: entered the DAO of Fred. Just leaving an interval here for your intro. Anthony, I

Anthony: gotta edit out your, yeah.

Fred: So, okay, so here’s how the phone GPS works. So there’s really three steps. The first is that somebody has to identify the location of a reference point. That could be a road or a geographical feature, could be a bridge. But normally what happens is that there’s, there are devices that can be put into your car that you can use to drive around and identify routers.

That are not suitably protected and identify their location, the location, the identity of these routers then goes into a database somewhere. There are also what are called beacons that are installed by software manufacturers. And to a lot of devices these are, beacons are like electronic ticks.

They suck a little bit of electricity out of you, with, out of your system without permission, and they broadcast some information about exactly where you’re located.

Anthony: I’m pretty sure I was in a relationship like that once.

Fred: Yeah. And there, so those are beacons. There, there are landmarks, so we’re given the information that’s available.

Using satellite information, pictorial information, also the kind of information picked up by those little cars with the cameras that are roaming the streets for Google Maps purposes. They can identify the location of landmarks and then cell towers. They know where the cell towers are. Each one’s individually identified.

And of course, the satellites overhead, the GPS and GNNS, GLONASS, Galileo. QZSS and Beidou systems all provide additional information about the location. So the world gets mapped using these. Devices and all that information exists in a database somewhere, which is the second step. The second step is to take these information and put it into a database that’s accessible to essentially everybody, but also to your car.

When it’s driving down the road or, to your phone more properly when it’s driving down the road. And it references these other databases. It picks them up, picks up signals itself. And then the computer cross references these to the information in the database to figure out exactly where you are using a process called triangulation.

I don’t know if you know what that term means, but… Basically, if you know where you are relative to one reference, and you draw a circle around that reference you can figure out how far away from the reference you are, but that’s a circle. So if you have two references, you draw a circle around that other reference at the appropriate distance, and then you can identify a line between them that somewhere on that line is where you’re located.

But if you have three references, And you draw three circles, basically those circles intersect, and that gives you a pretty good location of where the phone is located at that moment. The accuracy depends upon the kind of information it’s got and what’s built into your phone, but that’s the basic system.

The references all generate virtual circles in your phone. Identifies where the phone is. That information is then sent back to the server, which generates a map that it sends out to your phone. And then you see where you are on that map based on the information is interpreted. It’s pretty sophisticated stuff.

So inside of your phone, I just looked at the iPhone 15. It’s looking at the U. S. G. N. S. system, which is a system of satellites overhead. Glownass, which is the Russian equivalent system. It operates a little bit higher altitude. These are all kind of 10, 000, 11, 000 miles above the earth. Galileo system is a European equivalent because when GPS, when the U.

S. system GNSS became the standard, many other countries said, well, gee, they could turn that off if we ever need the information, so we’d better establish our own. So GLONASS was established by the Russians, Galileo by the Europeans, QZSS by the Japanese, and BeiDou by the Chinese. iPhone 15 takes advantage of all of these.

Generates a digital compass. There’s also the Wi Fi locations based on the references. It’s got cellular towers and the beacons. So taking all this information, putting it together again, they generate a map that shows up in your phone. So it’s a very sophisticated set of information, but it’s all reliant on the database Android.

Our Google does much the same thing with their operating system. They’re also looking at GPS and GONAS and BALDO and all those other things. Accuracy that they,

Anthony: go ahead. Sorry, so it does all this stuff too. But it, with the GPS, but they also have the cars driving around mapping. Roads and whatnot.


Fred: Because when they put that road information in, they also put it in with geographic references. And so the reference information on your phone is much less accurate than a reference information that these cars have got, because they’ve got very fancy GPS receivers and GLONASS receivers and GNS and what have you.

So your phone Can identify where you are using satellite references to maybe a meter within a meter or two, something like that. But the very sophisticated receivers can identify the location of the vehicle or the antenna that’s recording it. Down to something like maybe 30 centimeters or maybe even less.

30 centimeters is about what? 4 inches, something like that. So, it can then tag that information that accurate the cars are going around mapping. Things can tag that information to certain geographic references like. If there’s a statue, it knows where the statue is. And if the camera on your phone picks up that camera on your phone, or the camera in your car picks up the same statue, for example, they can use that as a reference.

That’s not the primary references that they use probably but, it provides additional information. And the more information your phone is interpreting, the better the location identification is going to be.

Anthony: So how do, with all this data part of this, how are they still getting things wrong?

Now, there’s a more humorous example of the story that kicked us off. There’s, it’s happened a number of times where people are, following these maps and they’re driving off of boat launches. Which is, people survive, they’re fine, it’s, that’s hilarious, but Like, how are they getting things that wrong?

I had an example where Google Maps, not too long ago, was having me, it wanted me to go the wrong way down 5th Avenue. And I was like, hey, look, maybe I made too many jokes about your stuff, and you’re just trying to off me. But I did not make the right turn heading north up 5th Avenue.

Fred: So the answer to that is…

Who is responsible for putting this information into the database? There’s probably nobody at Google who is being paid to identify bridges that are, have collapsed. There’s probably nobody there being paid to identify boat ramps that are inappropriately mapped. So when you’re using this system on your car, you can often punch a button that says, do you want to update the information?

Do you want to identify a problem? These buttons exist on your cars, but unless and until somebody takes the trouble to put this hazardous information into the phone or into the database, I should say, it’s not going to show up on the map. It’s not going to show up on the phone. So, again, that’s a problem we’ve been talking about, which is that with the automatic systems and safety critical systems in vehicles, there is nobody who’s monitoring.

The status of those systems to say that they’re operating the way they should. The same thing is true with the maps that are being offered by Apple and Google and everybody else who is offering a map on your phone. There’s really no regulation that says this has to be done. There’s no allocation of funds for people to say, identify all the bridges that are not working, identify all the work sites.

That are popping up. So it’s a really ad hoc process. And apparently, according to these these systems you’ve identified or these incidents you’ve identified. It’s not adequate. It’s not up to the task yet. I’ve had similar things happen to me, although not as catastrophic, of course, but run down roads that really didn’t exist and been sent around in circles by some of the systems.

So, yeah, they’re very imperfect systems. And I think people, our listeners in particular, ought to be very careful about their reliance on the automated systems in the vehicles. Don’t relax just because your car says it’s driving itself because it’s not and there’s no, it’s doing what it can do, but there’s nobody saying that it has to do any certain thing.

So it’s up to you.

Anthony: We should all be our own very own safety driver.

Fred: I think so. I think that’s good. Yes. All right. And I think the law reflects that too, that, they’re, you’re not exempted from vigilance just because you have automated features in their car.

Anthony: Well, I don’t know if you visited San Francisco.

I’m not sure if that’s still true. I

Fred: don’t live in San Francisco. I’m on the other side.

Anthony: Okay. So Michael, can you get us up to speed on this case? So the family suing Google for this issue is, it’s. It’s it’s fascinating because, the kind of layman approach to this would be like, Ha!

Why weren’t you paying attention? You drove off like you can’t listen to this machine. But it seems like there’s actually some potential liability here. The main potential liability in this instance is that Michael put himself on mute. Well, he puts himself on mute during the Tao of Threads because he’s singing in the background.

I wish I could just send everyone, he does his whole dance routine. It’s very upsetting. Sorry, I apologize.

Michael: If you look at the, it was a very dark kind of semi residential road and in, in the woods, so it was a very dark road. If you really, if Google Maps is telling you, Hey, there’s a road ahead and you’re driving it, you might not have seen the gap in the road.

There were still the formations of a bridge there, but it was partially collapsed. So, It’s tough and if you’re driving at certain speeds, you’re not going to have time to react before you go off of it. So there’s certainly, certainly some issues there why the county or someone didn’t have it marked why it wasn’t maintained or the road closed in a way where vehicle access was prohibited is a question.

But there’s. When there’s a, a year’s long history of reporting a safety problem to Google, and, they are, they’re not just a road map there. They are actively navigating drivers from point A to point B. They have a duty, I believe, to update their maps, especially when they’ve been notified to a.

Hazard of this extent, a bridge is out. Someone can fall in the water and drown. Amazingly. It didn’t happen for I believe the bridge went out in 2013 and this crash was in 22. so for 9 years, the bridge was out and nothing like this happened. So it’s, it’s a really sad case, but I.

I would suggest that Google needs to do a better job of updating its maps if it wants people to rely on it to navigate them from point A to point B.

Fred: Well, I know there’s a mechanism that exists for them to do it because when the main road to which my little retreat abuts was being repaved over the last couple of months.

They identified it as a road that was under repair. They would not provide directions to or from my house because directions to and from my house transited this road that was under repair. So, it seems clear to me that they have the technical means of doing this. Somehow there’s got to be. Authorities putting the correct information into the system.

So the people are notified. So, I think the fault may lie with the Google Maps, but I think there’s a lot of blame to go around.

Anthony: Are you suggesting There oughta be a law, yes, sir. Piggly wiggly. Ha. Huh. I think it’s time for some recall roundup. How’s that sound? Strap in. Hey listeners, can you guess what the first recall we’re gonna talk about is?

Oh, it’s not the Ford Edsel. Did Ford make the Edsel? Yeah, it was the Edsel. Yes, they did. Named after Edsel Ford. That’s very long. Yeah, well, hopefully just like the GM, it looked slightly better than the Cruise Origin. It does. Anyway, first recalls about rear view camera image may not display.

This is Kia America 83, 000 plus vehicles. They’re recalling certain 2019 Sorento vehicles which sounds like a very tasty dish. Due to a manufacturer error, water may leak into the rear view camera, which can cause the rear view camera image not to appear on the display. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number what, Michael?

Come on, what? What’s the number? It’s 111. Oh, he wins. Look at that. That is true. You can go to your dealer, they’ll inspect the harness and repair it for ya. Why with all of these rear view cameras, like this is 3000.

Michael: Well this is another one of those. We, when we first started seeing this as a problem, my initial su suspicion was that it was a, gonna be software issues, problems with interfacing with the infotainment system.

’cause usually they display in the same spoon. And we’ve seen that and we’ve seen a lot of non-compliances involving that. But we’ve also seen a lot of, it’s almost like. They Jerry rig these things in their cars, these weird wiring configurations where you’re exposing wiring harnesses to water.

It’s like they were putting them into cars that hadn’t been designed for use with rear view camera. So, it seems like a fairly simple process to get these things installed correctly compared to a lot of other things that are going on with cars. So we’re still a little, I guess confused as to why every week we’re seeing a recall on rear view cameras.

It’s disconcerting to get, when you see a standard like this, which has saved so many lives and in rear collisions and driveways and in other areas, primarily children and then you see it go through Congress and finally get passed and required on vehicles. And then the product that they’re putting on the streets is crap and is getting recalled all the time.

It doesn’t make you feel very fuzzy inside.

Fred: No, it could also be that everything on the car is crapping out at the same rate. But just this is noticeable because it’s a video and people notice when it’s not working. So, this, I think that should alert people. In particular, the manufacturers to do a better job of monitoring the safety systems that they’re building into the cars to make sure that they are operating properly and notifying people when they’re not.

Anthony: And listeners, if you’re not feeling fuzzy inside, please consume more fiber. Next recall is Oh, Kia wins again. Loss of drive power from fuel pump failure. A lot of fuel pump issues to run across. Not as much as rear view cameras. Kia is recalling certain 2018 to 2021 STINGER vehicles. Ooh, they’re tough.

The fuel control valve plunger may stick inside the high pressure fuel pump causing over pressurization and loss of drive power. I think that happened inside my toilet tank once. This is a 18, 000 plus vehicles.

Michael: And they’ve been looking into this for a while. It looks like initially key was able to find a loss of motive power and the complaints, but which is really a key here because you rarely seen that.

Dig in and want to get a recall when there’s not on a fuel pump issue where there’s some kind of hesitation or until you see stalling or loss of motive power. That’s where the safety issues kick in because you’re talking about vehicle stopping in the middle of intersections, stopping in the middle of the highway, that sort of thing that increases the danger.

So, it looks like this 1 is going to be solved through. An inspection and replacing the full fuel pump if there’s a problem, but also it looks like they’re going to be doing some type of software fix as well. So, that should be coming out in the next. Month, I think November 7th, early November is when owner notification will begin.

So be on the lookout for that.

Fred: Well, over pressurization in the fuel pump is an interesting failure mode. Because that generally causes fuel to leak. So I’m puzzled by this one a little bit that. Over pressurization caused the fuel pump to stop delivering fuel to the engine. It doesn’t

Michael: sound like it leaves it stuck in an open position.

Which is weird anyway, I don’t know. It’s a stinger. Maybe it’s got some, new engine. You’ve never heard of.

Anthony: It’s a new fuel tank. I don’t, I have no idea what a stinger looks like, but I’m sure, it requires you to have a shaved head or a mohawk to purchase one. Hey, what’s wrong with mohawks?

Nothing’s wrong with them, but I think if I went in there and be like, I want this stinger, they’d be like, nope you’re not tall enough to get in this vehicle, son. Come on, man. Ah, next one, high voltage battery may short circuit. Battery failure can cause a loss of drive power, increasing the risk of a crash.

Battery failure can also increase the risk of a fire. And to test your battery, just take it and lick it, stick it on your tongue, and see if it still has power like you did when you were a little kid with 9 volt batteries. If your tongue can crease across both parts of a car battery, you should be doing something else with your life.

All right. Ford Motor Company, 2, 954 vehicles. Ford is recalling certain 2020 2022 Lincoln Aviator and Ford Explorer vehicles equipped with a 3. 0L plug in hybrid engine manufacturing defect in one or more of the high voltage battery cells may result in internal short circuit and battery failure.

Possibly related to this is Ford just shut down one of their battery plants because they’re like, eh, let’s not do this. Maybe not though. Maybe it’s just a coincidence.

We know there’s no such thing module diagnostic test and replace your undercoating. And re no, sorry, they’ll replace the high voltage battery pack as necessary.

Michael: This one’s got a folded anode tab which is basically a defect in the battery cell that they’re looking for that can cause Loss of power, this one does not involve fire that we can tell in the battery, but a loss of power.

And I believe there was a previous recall in May that involves some of these same vehicles and related vehicles. So, yes, they, the new recall is going to start probably early October. It looks like. On a notification around October 2nd through the 6th. So everyone be on the lookout for that because you do not want to lose battery power.

And, if you’ve got 1 of these batteries with a folded in, you want to get a new 1 in your vehicle that doesn’t have that problem.

Anthony: Yeah, don’t unfold it yourself. I have no idea what that means and if it’s possible. Last one we’ve got is a loose battery cable. Ooh, more batteries. Loose battery cables may cause fire.

A fire while parked or driving can increase the risk of injury. It really says this in the recall notice. A fire while parked or driving can increase the risk of injury. Yeah. Yeah I thank you for pointing that out to us. This is a Chrysler 4, 000 plus vehicles. Chrysler is recalling certain 2023 to 2024.

Alfa Romeo Tunnelly. Come on. And 2023 to 2024 Dodge Hornet plug in hybrid electric vehicles. Dodge Hornet and a Kia Stinger. They walk into a bar. Matchmaker. Okay, so the 12 volt battery positive cable and or high voltage connector cable may not be tightened properly because it’s a Friday afternoon and they’re like, Come on, we’re going to watch the game!

Okay, which can cause overheat, the electrical connections and result in a fire while parked or driving. Park outside warning on this one.

Michael: That’s the big note on this one, the park outside warning, and… That means that you shouldn’t park in, garages or anything, especially your garage, but also public parking structures and other things.

Anthony: So I want to start a business called park outside where it’s just big, open paved fields. Hey, you got one of these cars park outside the parking spaces 500 yards long, because that’s in a wide circumference radius. That could be something

Michael: or it could be it’s just going to take up a lot more space and we already know that Parking and housing are fighting in cities right now.

So why are you crushing my dreams? Well, you should know these things you live in the big city

Anthony: So it looks like this one there,

Michael: What’s gonna bring your car in and make sure those nuts and bolts are tightened. This one’s a pretty simple fix Okay, which I don’t know why it’s taking them a month to get it going but They have reconventure.

That happens.

Fred: But do, if you have one of these affected vehicles, do get it done, because your car is probably better off if it does not set itself on fire.

Anthony: And that’s from the chief engineer here. These are words to live by. Don’t let your car get on fire. I’ve done analysis

Fred: on that. It’s just, it works out every time.

Anthony: Okay, next week you’ll discuss the math on that. And for that listeners, that’s the end of our time for this week. Next week we’re going to cover a story that we didn’t get to this week. About where did it go? I lost the link. It’s about bicycles and road safety. We’re going to cover that one next week.

So hey, thanks for listening. Thanks for telling your friends. Thanks for donating. Bye bye. Bye

Fred: bye. Thank you. Thanks everyone. For more information, visit www.

Michael: autosafety. org.


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