Regulation

New NHTSA odometer disclosure rule goes into effect January 1

Odometer fraud costs American car buyers more than $1 billion annually.

Photo by Getty Images

You've seen it mocked on the silver screen. A car's odometer displays high mileage and in order to get fewer miles displayed, the villas runs the car in reverse trying to get the miles off of it. Nowadays, that sort of trickery doesn't work, instead giving way to more sophisticated odometer fraud.

January 1 doesn't just mark the beginning of the new year. It also marks the beginning of a new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rule regarding odometers in regard to title transfers.

Starting January 1, 2021, odometer disclosures will be required for every vehicle transfer of ownership for the first 20 years of the model's life, beginning with Model Year 2011 vehicles. Model Year 2010 and older vehicles will continue to be subject to the previous 10-year disclosure requirements. Sellers of Model Year 2011 vehicles must continue to disclose odometer readings until 2031.

The aim of the measure is to address an increase in odometer fraud involving older vehicles.

The NHTSA defines odometer fraud as the "disconnection, resetting, or alteration of a vehicle's odometer with the intent to change the number of miles indicated". They estimate that more than 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with false odometer readings, a crime that is estimated to cost American car buyers more than $1 billion annually, according to the agency.

On its website, the NHTSA offers the following tips for detecting odometer fraud:

  • Examine the vehicle's title and compare the mileage on it with the vehicle's odometer.
  • Compare the mileage on the odometer with the mileage indicated on the vehicle's maintenance or inspection records, including stickers on the windshield and door.
  • Check to see if the numbers on the analog odometer are aligned correctly. NHTSA advises, "If they're crooked, contain gaps or jiggle when you bang on the dash with your hand, walk away from the purchase."
  • Check for wear and tear that is consistent with the vehicle's age and where it was stored and driven. Vehicles with under 20,000 miles on the odometer typically have the car's original tires while newer models won't have nearly as much wear and tear on the car's accelerator and brake pedals.
  • Request a vehicle history report and check the odometer for inconsistencies.
The agency says that buyers who suspect fraud should contact their state's enforcement agency.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

"The Lady and The Dale" shows off the history of a three-wheeled car and an investment scheme gone awry.

Photo courtesy of HBO

Liz Carmichael claimed to be a lot of things. She said she was the widow of a NASA engineer, a farmer's daughter, and a mother of five. In reality, she was none of those things. The truth was a little less straightforward.

Carmichael was born in the late 1930s as Jerry Dean Michael, a male. By 1961 she would be wanted by police for alleged involvement in a counterfeiting operation. Carmichael fathered five children with Vivian Barrett Michael, who she would introduce as her secretary rather than spouse or partner. These exploits were just the beginning.

The Lady and the Day "The Lady and The Dale" will debut on January 31 on HBO.Photo courtesy of HBO

The Lady and the Dale

A new, four-part documentary series from Emmy-winning producers Mark and Jay Duplass ("Room 104") follows the story of Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael, the founder of Twentieth Century Motor Car Corporation. During the fuel crisis of the 1970s, Carmichael was living as a woman, taking the world by storm with the promotion of a fuel-efficient three-wheeled car named The Dale.

The Dale was designed and built by Dale Clifft. Before meeting Carmichael, Clifft had built the original vehicle from aluminum tubing and covered it in naugahyde. Carmichael came along and served as the vehicle's hype woman, using her promotional zeal to build up the vehicle's design and engineering and gaining investors putting more than 100 employees on the payroll.

Soon, the media took notice and began digging into The Dale and Carmichael. What resulted next is the story that is captured on film.

"The Lady and The Dale" mixes animation, archival footage, and interviews with Liz's family members and gender scholars, including Susan Stryker.

The series debuts with two back-to-back episodes on Sunday, January 31, at 9:00 p.m. ET with new subsequent Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET. The Lady and The Dale will premiere on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max. Watch the trailer below.

The Lady and the Dale: Official Trailer | HBO www.youtube.com

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Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 delivers new safety and driver assistance tech to the company's 2021 model lineup.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made public a list of proposed upgrades to the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). NCAP testing addresses the crashworthiness of a vehicle as well as the vehicle's headlight functionality. These new proposed measures go even further, putting driver assistance and safety technology to the test.

Automakers often strive to achieve the highest score possible in NCAP testing, wearing their five-start safety ratings and Top Pick designations as badges of honor in marketing campaigns.

"Thanks in part to NCAP, new vehicles today are much safer than a generation ago," said NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens. "Even so, there are still too many fatalities and serious injuries in crashes every year, so it is critical that vehicles keep getting safer in the future, and a modernized NCAP will better enable American families to select vehicles with the safety features they want."

The immediate planned update to NCAP testing includes four advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS): lane keeping support, pedestrian automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, and blind spot intervention. Engineers have designed these four specific technologies to mitigate high-frequency and high-risk crash types.

NHTSA is currently seeking public input on how best to develop a rating system for ADAS technologies.

"These upgrades will make NCAP more dynamic," Deputy Administrator Owens said. "American car buyers want safety, and NHTSA wants to empower them with comparative safety information about vehicles in the market. This information creates powerful market-based incentives for automakers to invest in advanced safety technologies that will save lives and prevent injuries."

The NHTSA began testing vehicles in 1978. The first tests examined frontal impact protection and used data from crash test dummies. The five-star safety rating system was established in 1993 and have been steadily increasing the scope of the testing over the last two decades.

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