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Home  >  2017  >  January

HONDA RECALLS 634,000 ODYSSEY MINIVANS

Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 at 2:30 pm    

Because of a defect that could cause the second-row seats in Honda Odyssey minivans to suddenly shift in a crash, Honda is recalling nearly 634,000 of the minivans. Honda reported the defect to NHTSA indicating that it had not received any reports of injuries linked to the flaw. NHTSA, however, stated that the flaw “increases the risk of injury to the seat occupant during a crash.”

The recall involves model years 2011 through 2016 Odysseys which were manufactured from August 17, 2010, through October 1, 2015. Honda stated that the defect involves a release lever that may remain in an unlocked position unintentionally and allow the seats to move forward unexpectedly. Honda noted that the dealers will repair the defect for free and that the company will begin notifying owners of the recall in February 2017.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on 12/29/16 entitled “Honda Odyssey recalled to fix seats that could shift suddenly” by Nathan Bomey

IIHS TOUGHENS ITS STANDARDS FOR TOP SAFETY PICK STATUS

Posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2017 at 3:06 pm    

The IIHS(Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)recently announced that it has stiffened the criteria for its highest safety honors by requiring more stringent standards for vehicle headlights. IIHS President Adrian Lund said that “Automakers have not focused enough attention on whether or not headlamps are aimed such that they light up the road for the driver ahead of them”.

As a result of the new standards for headlight performance, only 38 models of the 2017 model year achieved the top score versus 79 from the 2016 model year.

IIHS noted that some luxury vehicles have recently started to incorporate headlights that shift with the curvature of the road in an effort to provide better illumination, but Lund stated that they don’t always work better than the plain old-fashioned kind. And, many headlights are failing to either provide adequate nighttime vision or causing too much glare for oncoming drivers.

Toyota and Lexus led the way for 2017 models with 9 of its models earning the Top Safety Pick Plus designation. Only one pickup truck earned the highest honor, which was the Honda Ridgeline. Lund noted that, in short, “… pickups are lagging behind in terms of meeting the safety advances that are out there.”

For more information regarding which vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick Plus status, visit the IIHS website.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on 12/08/16 entitled “Why only 38 cars earned IIHS top safety pick status” by Nathan Bomey

GOOGLE/CHRYSLER PARTNER ON SELF-DRIVING MINIVAN

Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 at 2:55 pm    

According to the Detroit Free Press, Fiat Chrysler recently announced that it had completed the development of 100 unique Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans for deliver to Google to be outfitted for the industry’s first testing of fully autonomous minivans. These unique Chrysler Pacificas were designed by a joint team of engineers from Fiat Chrysler and Google’s Waymo and have already undergone extensive testing as part of the design process.

One advantage of using a minivan is that it offers Google/Waymo extra room to accommodate the equipment necessary for a self-driving vehicle. This venture with Waymo is Fiat Chrysler’s highest profile move into the race to develop and market a fully autonomous or self-driving vehicle.

In a related development, General Motors recently announced that it will begin testing a fleet of autonomous Chevy Bolts on public roads around Detroit in 2017. Ford Motor Company started testing a fleet of self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrids on public roads in July of 2015.

Uber has also been testing a fleet of self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrids in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a fleet of self-driving Volvo SUVs in Arizona.

Sources: An article appearing at usatoday.com on 12/19/16 entitled “Get a first look at Google/Chrysler self-driving minivan” by Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press and an article appearing 01/20/17 entitled “Google’s self-driving car unit to stop shaming humans”

TRAFFIC FATALITIES IN LANCASTER COUNTY FALL IN 2016

Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2017 at 2:27 pm    

This District Attorney’s Office recently reported that 45 people were killed in traffic accidents in Lancaster County in 2016. According to the LNP article, this was the same number of fatalities as occurred in 2013 which was the lowest number in more than 50 years.

In 2015, 52 people were killed in 50 crashes. 1962 was the last year in which fewer than 45 people were killed on Lancaster highways. By contrast, there has been an uptick in fatalities on our highways nationwide in the past 2 years. NHTSA believes this uptick in nationwide fatalities is the result of distracted driving.

Lancaster County Assistant District Attorney Christine Wilson said most of the deaths that resulted in 2016 “continue to be caused by operator error, such as excessive speed and inattention to the roadway.” Eleven of the crashes in 2016 involved drugs and/or alcohol.

Of the nine pedestrians killed on Lancaster County highways, two were children, ages 4 and 13. Two of the pedestrian deaths involved hit-and-run incidents. Vince Nalencz, age 24, was collecting trash on November 21, 2016, for Eagle Disposal on Willow Street Pike when he was struck by Leon Anderson, who fled the scene. The second pedestrian fatality, Lucinda Gadaleta, age 59, of Paradise, was struck by a tractor-trailer truck on February 19, 2016, outside the Revere Tavern on Route 30. The case remains unsolved by the police.

Nine of the fatal crashes involved motorcycles and two fatal accidents were blamed on the weather.

Source: An article appearing at LNP on 01/02/17 entitled “Traffic deaths down in 2016” by Ryan Robinson

TEN THINGS YOU SHOULD KEEP IN YOUR CAR

Posted on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 at 2:26 pm    

Here are ten things that Kelly Blue Book suggest you should keep in you car at all times:

1. INSURANCE INFORMATION AND VEHICLE REGISTRATION
These documents are absolutely essential if you are stopped by a police officer or involved in an automobile accident.

2. FOOD AND WATER
It is a good idea to have some food and water in your vehicle in case you are stranded in a snow storm or an isolated stretch of the highway and help
could be several hours away.

3. BASIC FIRST AID KIT
A good idea just in case someone suffers a minor cut, burn or other minor injury while traveling.

4. GPS AND MAP
Even with modern GPS systems, it is still a good idea to have a map of the area in your car in case your GPS would fail or you can’t connect with GPS.

5. BOOSTER CABLES
Booster cables are a good idea in case your battery should go dead and you need a jump.

6. FLAT TIRE REPAIR KIT
Even if you have a spare tire, it is a good idea to have a sealant in a can for situations when changing the spare isn’t safe or convenient.

7. FLASHLIGHT
Unlike an app on your cellphone, a flashlight won’t drain down your phone battery and will provide far more light.

8. CELLPHONE CHARGER
This will enable to help you keep your cellphone charged just in case of an emergency.

9. TIRE GAUGE
For safety reasons, it is important to keep your tires properly inflated. Having a tire gauge handy will help you remember to routinely check your tire pressure.

10. EXTRA CASH
Keep an extra $20 in the car just in case you forget your wallet or don’t have as much money in your wallet as you thought.

Source: KellyBlueBook.com – Things You Should Keep in Your Car, USA Today: 10 Things to Keep in Your Car in Case of an Emergency – video report May 20, 2015, and askmen.com: Top 10 Things to Keep in Your Car.

SOME TIPS TO AVOID TOY–RELATED EYE INJURIES

Posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2017 at 2:42 pm    

The American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages parents to follow these tips to avoid toy-related eye injuries:

1. BE AWARE OF AIRSOFT, BB GUNS, AND OTHER PROJECTILE TOYS. Avoid toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts, such as airsofts guns, BB guns and other non-gun-related toys.

2. NEVER ALLOW CHILDREN TO PLAY WITH HIGH-POWERED LASER POINTERS. Recent reports have indicated that a number of children have sustained serious eye injuries by playing with high-powered lasers (lasers between 1500 and 6000 milliwatts). These lasers are powerful enough to cause severe retinal damage with just a few seconds of exposure. The FDA recommends that you never aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone and that you not buy laser pointers for children.

3. READ THE MANUFACTURER’S LABEL FOR AGE RECOMMENDATIONS. Be sure to select toys that are age-appropriate.

4. MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS ADULT SUPERVISION – whenever a child is playing with any toy that could be potentially hazardous be sure that there is adult supervision.

If someone experiences an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist. Make sure you never touch, rub, apply pressure or try to remove any object stuck in an eye.

Source: An article appearing at Litiz Record Express on 10/29/16 entitled “Five tips to avoid toy-related eye injuries”

TAKATA MAY PAY $1B CRIMINAL FINE FOR DEFECTIVE AIRBAGS

Posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 at 2:35 pm    

According to a report appearing in USA Today, airbag manufacturer Takata is apparently close to agreeing to pay up to $1 billion dollars to the United States in settlement of a criminal prosecution stemming out of its defective airbags. According to the article, prosecutors have been weighing whether to charge Takata with wire fraud after determining that the company likely made misleading statements and concealed information about its defective airbags which can explode and spray shrapnel into the vehicle cabin. This defect has been linked to at least eleven deaths and 184 injuries in the United States.

The anticipated settlement of the criminal matter could cap off an unprecedented safety crisis resulting from the Takata defective airbags which has involved 19 auto manufacturers and the recall of approximately 42 million vehicles in the United States alone. This represents the largest automotive safety recall in the United States’ history.

The company has already agreed to pay civil penalties up to $200 million for violating National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Standards. Current discussions with the Department of Justice center upon Takata agreeing to pay the fine as part of a guilty plea to allege criminal misconduct.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on 12/30/16 entitled “Report: Takata weighing $1B criminal settlement” by Nathan Bomey

CUISINART RECALLS MILLIONS OF FOOD PROCESSORS

Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2017 at 3:24 pm    

According to an article appearing in the New York Times, Cuisinart recently announced the recall of more than eight million of its food processors because the blades are prone to cracking apart which has caused injuries. Times article reported that at least 69 consumers had have told the company that pieces of the blade have ended up in their food. Of those 69 consumers, 40 have sustained broken teeth or cuts in their mouth, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

According to the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, this is one of the largest appliance recalls in American history.

The food processors involved were sold in the United States and Canada from July 1996 through December 2015. The CPSC recommends that consumers stop using the product and contact ConAir about a replacement blade. You can find the recall list at www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/Cuisinart-Food-Processors-Recalled-by-Conair.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission stressed that metal degrading and unexpectedly breaking into parts that make their way into food is a very serious hazard.

Sources: An article appearing at nytimes.com on 12/15/16 entitled “Cuisinart Recall ‘Just Screwed Up the Holidays for a Lot of People’” by Kim Severson and an article appearing at usatoday.com on 12/13/16 entitled “8 million Cuisinart food processors recalled amid oral laceration reports” by Mary Bowerman

HOW DANGEROUS IS TEXAS NEW 85 MPH HIGHWAY?

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2017 at 3:57 pm    

In 2012, the state of Texas opened a 41 mile stretch of toll road between Austin and San Antonio with a speed limit of 85 mph, making it the highest speed limit in the country. At the time, many wondered whether such a high speed would result in more fatalities.

Carinsurancecomparison.com tried to answer this question in an article appearing on its website. In its article, carinsurancecomparison.com reported that the Consumer’s Union (publishers of Consumer Report) raised this question in a formal study entitled “Does an increase in the speed limit result in a higher incidence of fatal crashes”. They determined that there was a significant increase in fatal crashes in a number of states when they increased speed limits, but that it wasn’t true in every state.

Some researchers have claimed that the overall speed variance, not just speeding in general, is the real problem. However, the respected Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has stated that the likelihood of death and serious injuries is a direct function of speed, not just speed variance. The IIHS cited several studies in support of its conclusion that as speed limits are increased, increases in fatal crashes are consistent in significant numbers.

Carinsurancecomparison.com noted that some people may dispute whether it’s the increase in speed or the variances in speed that is the real issue, everyone agrees that accidents at higher speeds will cause greater damage and thus the chances of surviving an accident decrease as the traveling speed goes up.

With respect to Texas’ 85 mph highway, carinsurancecomparison.com found that it did not yet have sufficient data to make a definitive call.

Source: An article appearing at carinsurancecomparison.com entitled How dangerous is