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The Law Office of Bill Pelhan wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!

Posted on Monday, December 21st, 2015 at 4:43 pm    

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TOYOTA TO RECALL 6.5 MILLION VEHICLES FOR FIRE HAZARD

Posted on Thursday, December 17th, 2015 at 7:27 pm    

Toyota recently announced a recall to repair a defective power window switch in approximately 6.5 million vehicles worldwide. According to an article appearing in the USA Today, Toyota stated that the power switches may have been manufactured with insufficient lubricant grease which could lead to a short circuit causing overheating and potentially resulting in a fire. The recall involves some of the company’s most popular vehicles for model years 2007 through 2011.

This is not the first time that the company has dealt with a problem of this nature. It previously recalled other 2007 through 2009 models in the United States because of a similar problem.

Toyota acknowledged that there have been at least 11 incidents in which the switch or car door burned as a result of this problem. One case resulted in burns to someone’s hand.

This recall will affect approximately 2 million vehicles in the United States and the repairs will be made at no charge to the owner. The vehicles in the U.S. affected by this recall include 2007 and 2009 Camry and Camry Hybrid, 2009-2011 Corolla, 2008-2011 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid, 2009-2011 Matrix, 2006-2011 RAV4, 2009-2011 Sequoia, 2009-2011 Tundra, 2006-2010 Yaris, 2009-2011 Scion xB and 2009-2010 Scion xD.

The consequences associated with using defective vehicles may potentially cause you financial, physical, and emotional harm. If you have been involved in an accident in Central Pennsylvania due to a defective product, a lawyer from the Law Office of Bill Pelhan may be able to help you hold its manufacturer accountable. Discuss your options in a free consultation by calling 717-392-6362.

Source: Article appearing at usatoday.com entitled Toyota orders worldwide recall of 6.5 million vehicles by Nathan Bomey on October 21, 2015.

POLICE OFFICER PULLS OVER A SELF-DRIVING CAR

Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 at 2:57 pm    

A patrolman from Mountain View, California recently pulled over a Google pod-like autonomous vehicle for driving too slowly. Apparently, the Google car was traveling at 24 miles per hour on a street which is posted 35 mph.

Although no citation was issued, a post on the Mountain View Police blog stated “The officer stopped the car and made contact with the operators to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operators about impeding traffic per 22400(a) of the California Vehicle Code.”

Google’s blog post responded by stating that “We’ve capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25 mph for safety reasons. We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets. . . Like this officer, people sometimes flag us down when they want to know more about our project. After 1.2 million miles of autonomous driving (that’s the human equivalent of 90 years of driving experience), we’re proud to say we’ve never been ticketed!”

Although Google’s autonomous vehicles have been involved in more than a dozen accidents over the years, according to data provided by the California DMV, in each case the fender benders were the fault of the humans in the offending vehicle.

This leaves unanswered the question. . . if a ticket is warranted, who gets the ticket, the passenger or the car.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on November 13, 2015 entitled Google self-driving car pulled over, avoids fine by Marco della Cava.

PA STATE POLICE REPORT AN INCREASE IN HOLIDAY FATALITIES IN 2015

Posted on Thursday, December 10th, 2015 at 3:05 pm    

According to a recent article in the LNP, the Pennsylvania State Police reported that 15 people were killed and 272 were injured in crashes investigated by the PSP over the Thanksgiving holiday period. This was an increase in the number of fatalities occurring during the Thanksgiving holiday period over 2014 when only 7 people were killed. However, there were slightly more people injured in the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday period and more crashes were investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police in 2014.

This year’s Thanksgiving holiday period ran from November 25 through November 29. During this period, state police issued 14,985 speeding citations and arrested 558 drivers for driving under the influence. Of the 1,013 crashes investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police, 91 were alcohol-related collisions.

Since these statistics are compiled by the Pennsylvania State Police, they do not include incidents investigated by other law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

Source: An article appearing in the LNP on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 entitled State police see more holiday fatalities this year by Ryan Robinson.

KNOW THESE EARLY WARNING SIGNS FOR POSSIBLE TIRE FAILURE

Posted on Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 at 3:15 pm    

Because a vehicle’s tires are the only parts of the car that physically touch the ground, they are a key factor in affecting the vehicle’s overall handling and safety. Consumer Reports recommends that you visually inspect your tires on a regular basis and if you note any of the following early warning signs have a professional inspection performed.

• Cracking or cuts in the sidewalls.

• Uneven tread wear. This can be caused by improper inflation, misaligned wheels, damaged tires or by problems with suspension parts.

• Excessively worn tread. Most modern tires have tread-wear indicator bars running across the tread, which signal the minimum allowable tread depth of 1/16-inch. When the tread wears down to these bars, it’s time for new tires. Inexpensive tread-wear gauges are available at auto-parts and tire stores.

• Alternatively, you can use a Lincoln-head penny as a tread-wear indicator. Insert the penny into a tire groove with Lincoln’s head toward the tire. If you can see the top of Abe’s head, the tread is too worn.

• Bulges or blisters. If you see a bulge or blister on the sidewall, replace the tire at once. These signal potential weak spots that could lead to tire failure.

• Excessive vibration. Tire vibration may be a sign a wheel is misaligned, unbalanced or bent. It could also signify internal tire damage. Don’t ignore vibration: Have the vehicle serviced at once.

Additionally, Consumer Report cautions that it is important to maintain proper tire pressure and recommends that you regularly check your tire pressure by using a gauge.

Source: An article appearing at consumerreports.org entitled Beware these early warning signs of tire failure.

TOYOTA REVEALS IT’S BEEN TESTING SELF-DRIVING CARS SINCE THE 1990’S

Posted on Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 at 2:59 pm    

Toyota, a giant in the auto world, recently acknowledged that it has been researching and developing autonomous driving vehicles since the 1990’s. Toyota noted that it expects to launch automobiles with the technology around 2020.

Toyota’s announcement came on the heels of an announcement by General Motors that it was offering rides in driverless Chevy Volts to its 19,000 workers at its sprawling Technical Center campus in Warren, MI.

GM also disclosed recently that its Cadillacs division is working on a super cruise system that should ease the workload of drivers on highways and that it believes it is one of the leaders in the development of self-driving cars along with Silicon Valley’s players in this area, which includes Tesla and Google.

Toyota stated that it has tested its automated highway driving system on the Tokyo Shuto Expressway, and that the vehicle was able to merge and exit the highway, accelerate and brake and maintained and changed lanes on its own.

Source: Articles appeared in USAToday.com, by Nathan Bomey “Toyota Testing Self-Driving Cars ‘Since 1990’s’” (appearing October 6, 2015) and “CEO Mary Barra: GM Working In Secret On Self-Driving Cars” (appearing October 13, 2015)

HONDA AND TOYOTA DROP TAKATA AS SUPPLIER OF AIRBAGS

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2015 at 3:06 pm    

First Honda and now Toyota have dropped Takata as supplier of airbags for their vehicles. Honda had been Takata’s largest customer and according to the New York Times, so far this year about 25% of Honda’s new vehicles had been fitted with airbags that have inflaters made by Takata. Honda said that it expects to completely switch to another supplier by March of 2016.

In making this announcement, Honda said that Takata had “misrepresented and manipulated test data on airbag inflaters” and that it would not use the Japanese airbags in any future products. All of the known deaths so far attributable to Takata airbags have occurred in Honda vehicles.

Toyota makes about 10 million vehicles a year, which is more than double that of Honda, but it buys fewer Takata airbags. Toyota declined to state how many of its vehicles were currently fitted with Takata airbags or how soon it expected to complete its phase out. Further, Toyota did not rule-out buying inflaters from Takata if it changed its design and discontinued its use of ammonia nitrate as the propellant.

According to the article in the New York Times, other Japanese automakers including Subaru, Mazda and Mitsubishi have stated that they are considering discontinuing the use of Takata ammonium the nitrate inflaters in their vehicles as well.

Source: An article appearing at newyorktimes.com entitled Toyota to Drop Takata as Supplier of Airbag Inflaters by Jonathan Soble on November 6, 2015 and an article appearing at usatoday.com entitled Honda dumps Takata, fined for faulty airbags by Nathan Bomey appearing on November 4, 2015.