Commercial truck or bus drivers will face stiff civil penalties for using handheld cell phones while operating a vehicle beginning January 3, 2012. Two companies, ZoomSafer and FleetSafer Vision, have developed software that ensures the safe and legal use of mobile phones while driving. A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine indicates the accident risk of cell phone use while driving is equal to driving while intoxicated.
Record supplies of natural gas exist in the U.S., and now a major natural gas developer plans to increase the number of truck stops offering liquid natural gas to help boost its use. Fleets of buses, taxis and garbage trucks have dominated the growth of natural gas in the U.S., but only one natural gas car, Honda Civic GX, is commercially produced here. John O'Dell of Edmunds.com says, "You have to have the infrastructure out there to convince people to buy natural gas cars."
Ford will introduce its new Lane Keeping System on its 2013 model year Fusion and Explorer. A camera mounted on the windshield in front of the rearview mirror helps record and detect lane markings. If the driver tries to change lanes without a turn signal, the steering wheel will vibrate. The safety feature will alert drowsy drivers and keep drivers aware of lane markings.
Vehicle manufacturers will introduce a number of exciting new safety features and technologies at the upcoming 2012 North American International Auto Show. Stop-start engines, double-digit air bags, more voice-recognition systems, easier-to-use infotainment controls, and smaller, more powerful engines will be on display and are expected to be commonplace by the end of 2012.
CarMax will be opening dozens of more stores throughout 2016, with 10 opening in fiscal year 2013. For its fiscal third quarter that ended Nov. 30, the company increased sales revenue 7%. Used unit sales declined, but wholesale unit sales climbed along with auto finance income.