Department of Transportation

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Feds Roll Out Self-Driving Car Guidelines

They're not going to leave it up to the states

(Newser) - Obama administration officials have rolled out a plan they say will enable automakers to get self-driving cars onto the road without compromising safety. In drawing up 112 pages of guidelines, the government tried to be vague enough to allow innovation while at the same time making sure that automakers, tech... More »

Your Pilot May Not Remember How to Fly a Plane

Feds warn about skills fading away as automation takes over

(Newser) - Where's Ted Striker when you need him? Probably not at the helm of a commercial flight, according to a new Department of Transportation report . It finds that automation has driven manual flying mostly out of the cockpit, leading to concerns that pilots may not be getting enough training to... More »

New Rule: No E-Cigs in Checked Bags

FAA, DOT say they're a fire hazard

(Newser) - The DOT Monday announced what NJ.com calls an "air safety twist": letting airline passengers carry their e-cigarettes into the cabin in their carry-on bags or on their person, but banning the devices in checked luggage. The agency's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in conjunction with the... More »

Changed Tune: Guitars Now OK as Carry-Ons

Small instruments to be treated as any suitcase aboard US airlines

(Newser) - In technical terms, Section 403 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2012 is now in full effect. What that means for travelers: As of Dec. 30, 2014, small musical instruments now qualify as a "carry-on" on any US airline. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch shares the American Federation of Musicians'... More »

Feds Fine Airline $500K for Crash Response—a First

Asiana accused of leaving families in the lurch

(Newser) - Asiana Airlines has been penalized $500,000 for failing to assist family members of passengers on a flight that crashed last year at San Francisco airport. The fine announced by the US Department of Transportation was a first: No airline has broken US laws that require prompt and generous assistance... More »

FCC Chair Doesn't Want Phones in Air Either, But...

'...we are not the Federal Courtesy Commission' he explains

(Newser) - A bit of advice for the Federal Communications Commission: Nobody seems to want you to lift your ban on in-flight cell phone use. The Department of Transportation is firmly against the move, as are airlines, flight attendants, and, according to polls, the majority of passengers, the Wall Street Journal finds.... More »

Obama to Name Charlotte Mayor DOT Secretary

First minority pick among second-term appointees

(Newser) - Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx—an up-and-coming Democrat who grabbed attention as host of last year's Democratic National Convention—will be President Obama's pick to replace Ray LaHood as Transportation secretary, reports Politico , citing White House sources. Foxx would be Obama's first minority pick among second-term appointees, adds... More »

Ray LaHood Leaving Obama Administration

Transportation secretary the latest Cabinet member to depart

(Newser) - Yet another Obama Cabinet member is exiting stage left. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tells the AP that he intends to step down as soon as a successor can be confirmed. The former Illinois congressman was the last remaining Republican in Obama's administration, though Defense Department nominee Chuck Hagel would... More »

Feds Shut Down 26 Chinatown Bus Lines

Don't worry: Fung Wah and Lucky Star are OK

(Newser) - They're cheap, they're convenient, and according to the federal government, many Chinatown buses were also death traps. Authorities cracked down hard on Chinatown bus operators yesterday, shutting down 26 companies that they said were part of an "unscrupulous" network of bus operators that flouted federal rules, the... More »

Feds Demand System to Ensure Brakes Work

Brake override proposal a response to Toyota, Lexus crashes

(Newser) - Are you terrified of your car suddenly and uncontrollably accelerating, Toyota-style ? Well, federal regulators are at last moving to put your mind at ease. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has put forward a proposal to require all new vehicles to include a brake override system , the LA Times... More »

Passenger With E-Cig Kicked Off Flight

Does it violate 'no-smoking' rules? Continental thinks so

(Newser) - A flight out of Portland had to return to the airport yesterday after a man started puffing on an e-cigarette shortly after takeoff and refused to stop. He was escorted off the plane at Portland International Airport and may face federal charges, reports OregonLive.com . (It's not clear what... More »

DOT Rules Would Limit Car Gadget Use

Agency pushes voice-command systems over 'visual-manual' ones

(Newser) - The Department of Transportation has issued its first draft guidelines to deal with distracted driving, and they ban a lot more than just sending text messages. The guidelines recommend that automakers limit cars' "infotainment" systems so that while a car is in motion, all tasks can be performed with... More »

Angry Over Regulation, Spirit Institutes Snarky Fee

'Unintended Consequence' fee intended to chide transportation department

(Newser) - Spirit Airlines is angry over a new Department of Transportation rule—and it's making sure customers know it, by slapping a $2 "Department of Transportation Unintended Consequence Fee" on all tickets. The new rule, which went into effect last week, requires airlines to give customers a full refund,... More »

Feds to Airlines: Stop Hiding Ticket Fees, Taxes

Carriers must advertise full price starting next month

(Newser) - Airlines will soon be forced to advertise the full price of tickets—including government taxes and fees—instead of a stripped-down price with an asterisk. The rule scheduled to go into effect in late January is designed to keep prospective fliers from getting a nasty surprise several steps into the... More »

FAA Chief Resigns After DWI Arrest

Randy Babbitt will step down after weekend misfire

(Newser) - It was probably just a bit much to overcome: FAA chief Randy Babbitt is resigning in the wake of his weekend DWI arrest, reports AP . Babbitt initially went on leave after police pulled him over in northern Virginia for driving on the wrong side of the road, but now he'... More »

Airline Hit With $900K Fine for Tarmac Waits

American Eagle first to be fined under new policy

(Newser) - American Eagle Airlines has been hit with the first fine issued under new rules prohibiting airlines from keeping passengers stuck in planes on the tarmac for more than three hours. The regional carrier was fined $900,000 for keeping a total 608 passengers on board 15 different flights on the... More »

Transportation Secretary Is an Accidental Hipster

Ray LaHood isn't sure what 'hipster' means, but he likes urban bikers

(Newser) - Transportation chief Ray LaHood tells the Huffington Post that he'll push for more protections for bicyclists in US cities and likes the idea of more dedicated bike lanes. “I’m concerned that people that are driving cars have a level of respect for bikers, and that’s the... More »

DoT: Oops, We Can't Ban Peanuts on Planes

Allergy sufferers are out of luck

(Newser) - The Department of Transportation has been publicly considering banning or restricting the distribution of peanuts on airplanes, in deference to those with severe allergies. But when it issued its latest airline rules yesterday, it revealed that it literally couldn’t do anything—thanks to a 12-year-old law specifically preventing them... More »

And the Airline With the Most Complaints Is...

...Delta. Overall, complaints about US airlines rocketed 28% last year

(Newser) - If you think flying has gotten worse lately, you're not alone. Airline complaints soared an astounding 28% last year. Oddly, though, actual data reveals that planes improved their performance in a number of areas, with fewer lost bags and bumped passengers, and more on-time arrivals. A co-author of the Transportation... More »

Ford's Now Building Smartphones on Wheels

'In-car connectivity' is a plethora of distractions

(Newser) - Ford's got a slick new whiz-bang simulator, and Maureen Dowd kicked the tires—and almost ran smack "into a huge green truck," she writes for the New York Times. The problem is Ford's new "in-car connectivity"—a "cornucopia of diversions on your dashboard," Dowd... More »

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