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US to allow brighter, self-dimming headlights on new cars

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With many new cars, trucks, and SUVs failing to meet more stringent headlight safety standards from the federal government and the IIHS, the NHTSA announced Thursday it plans to change regulations to help headlight development.

The agency said in its report that it plans to allow development of “adaptive driving beam” headlights on new cars, which essentially operate as high-beam headlights as default, and dim specific portions of the beam when an oncoming vehicle is detected by sensors.

MORE: Scientific study examines morality of self-driving car maneuvers involving pedestrians

The NHTSA said in a statement that the technology “has the potential to reduce the risk of crashes by increasing visibility without increasing glare,” and will offer safety benefits for pedestrians, cyclists, and even animals.

This move comes after many 2018 and 2019 model year vehicles have performed poorly in both government and independent headlight tests with new criteria. The tests have been particularly tough for anything less than top-of-the-line LED headlight units, which can be expensive and are not available on all models.

Audi, Toyota, and other automakers have been lobbying the NHTSA to update headlight standards for years, the former in an attempt to get its laser headlight technology approved for use on U.S. roads like it currently is in Europe and other markets.



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Half of U.S. Uber drivers make less than $10 per hour

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A publication focused on the ride-sharing industry found that median hourly wage for nearly half of the Uber drivers in the U.S. is just $9.73 after driving costs.

While average hourly pay was $14.73 after tip, nearly $5 in vehicle costs per hour for things like gas, insurance, and maintenance cut that figure by over a third, putting drivers who worked 40 hours a week below the U.S. poverty line for a family of three, Ridester found.

MORE: Cargo in-car convenience store brings snacks and gum to your Uber

The 2018 version of the Ridester Independent Driver-Earnings Survey (RIDES), which was conducted over the summer, surveyed 2,625 Uber drivers across the country, and uncovered some interesting earnings figures as well as attitudes toward Uber and new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

On average, drivers self-reported earnings 37 percent higher than what the screenshots of their daily earnings summaries showed of 719 submitted screenshots. Additionally, 50 percent of drivers responded that driving for Uber is their only job and nearly 70 percent of drivers had been employed with Uber for less than two years.

Median earnings increased dramatically for Uber Black or Select drivers, reaching as high as $24.87 for Uber Black drivers. Those drivers—who use high-end vehicles such as Lexus and BMW sedans—only accounted for 0.8 percent of respondents, however.

Drivers were also asked about their attitudes toward Uber and Khosrowshahi. While 22.8 percent said their opinion of Uber is more positive since he took over, the average rating drivers gave Uber’s corporate leadership was just 2.9 stars out of 5.

As for the best and worst places to drive for Uber, the country’s highest-earning city with a sufficient number of respondents was New York City at $21.92 per hour, while Akron, Ohio, came in last at just $4.94 hourly.

A study from the Economic Policy Institute found an average hourly wage of $11.66 after vehicle expenses while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found a figure of only $11.96 on average before expenses. That’s a far cry from Uber’s claim in 2014 that New York drivers working at least 40 hours a week would earn over $90,000 per year.



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2019 Hyundai Santa Fe earns top marks in latest crash tests

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The insurance industry-funded IIHS said Friday that the redesigned 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover SUV earned its Top Safety Pick+ award when equipped with optional LED headlights.

The headlights are standard on the Santa Fe Limited and Ultimate trim levels. Other Santa Fe trims—SE and SEL—have halogen headlights that the IIHS rated “Marginal,” meaning those versions of the crossover SUV don’t earn a Top Safety Pick award.

MORE: Read our 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe first drive

The 2019 Santa Fe aced the IIHS’ barrage of instrumented crash tests, earning “Good” marks for its crashworthiness. The IIHS said that the Santa Fe’s standard collision-avoidance technology including automatic emergency braking rated “Superior,” its highest award. It rated the crossover SUV’s child-seat anchors “Acceptable.”

The IIHS uses a four-point scale from “Poor” to “Good” for crash tests, headlight effectiveness evaluations, and child-seat anchor ease of use. Collision-avoidance active safety technology is rated on a six-point scale.

The NHTSA has not yet subjected the 2019 Santa Fe to its crash testing.

Hyundai shook up its crossover lineup naming scheme for 2019 when it replaced the Santa Fe Sport with a new model called just Santa Fe. The automaker renamed last year’s Toyota Highlander-sized three-row crossover SUV to “Santa Fe XL” for 2019 in preparation for a new model due next year that reportedly will be called “Palisade.”



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