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1.5 MILLION HONDA ACCORDS BEING RECALLED TO PREVENT POSSIBLE ENGINE FIRES

Posted on Tuesday, August 8th, 2017 at 1:51 pm    

According to an article appearing at USAtoday.com, Honda is recalling about 1.5 Million new model Accords globally to prevent possible engine fires that may result from a defect in the vehicle’s battery system. Honda stated that it has linked 4 reports of engine fires to the defects.

This recall covers model year 2016 Honda Accords which were sold in the United States.

Honda stated that the defect involves a 12-volt sensor that monitors the battery’s charge level. According to Honda, the sensor may not be properly sealed off from moisture or road salt which could cause corrosion or electrical shorting. This could result in engine smoke or a fire.

Honda stated that it will notify owners when they can visit their local dealerships for repair and that repairs will be free. However, because of the size of the recall, if upon inspection dealers determine that the battery sensor is in good condition, a temporary repair will be made until enough parts are available to replace the sensors in all vehicles.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on July 14, 2017 entitled “Honda Recalling 1.5M Accord Cars to Prevent Potential Engine Fires” by Nathan Bomey

AIRBAG MANUFACTURER TAKATA FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY

Posted on Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 at 1:57 pm    

According to an AP article airbag manufacture Takata filed for bankruptcy in Japan and the United States on Monday. AP reports that the filing clears the way for a takeover of most of Takatas assets by a rivial Key Safety Systems – a Chinese company.

Takata is the Japanese company that manufactured defective air bag inflators that has lead to a massive recall of airbags in the U.S. In the U.S. alone more than 42 million vehicles have been recalled due to defective Takata airbag inflators. Takata stated that filing for bankruptcy was the only way that it could continue to keep suppling its products. Recall repairs are expected to take until the end of the decade.

Among the auto manufactures recalling vehicles for defective Takata air bag inflators are: Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadilliac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge/Ram, Ferrari, Ford, GMC, Honda, Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda,
Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Scion, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, and Volkswagen. This list helps convey just how massive the recall is.

Source: An AP article entitled Air Bag Recalls and Resulting Lawsuits Lead Takata to file for Bankruptcy appearing in the LNP on Tuesday,June 27, 2017

HARLEY-DAVIDSON WANTS TO TEACH A WHOLE TOWN TO RIDE MOTORCYCLES.

Posted on Thursday, June 8th, 2017 at 1:42 pm    

Harley – Davidson is planning to teach every willing resident of the town of Ryder, N.D. how to ride a motorcycle. Ryder is a small town with only 85 residents located in the middle of North Dakota.

Harley said it was attracted to the town by its name and the fact that its water tower looks almost identical to the one at Harley’s headquarters in Milwaukee. Mayor Jody Reinish said that the town is “…all fired up to give it a whirl.”

Harley-Davidson even repainted the town’s water with its name on it. Local officials hope that the attention will help renew interest in the town which once had over 400 residents. And according to the USA Today article, bikers have be stopping by the water tower to have their pictures taken.

H-D said that after the eligible riders finish the riders training course they might take them on a ride to Milwaukee to tour the Harley plant.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on June 3,2017 entitled “ Harley-Davidson teaching whole town to ride motorcycles” by Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

LOW VACCINATION RATES POSE A SIGNIFICANT RISK FOR SCHOOL STUDENTS

Posted on Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 at 3:23 pm    

According to an investigation by USA Today, nearly 1 in 7 public and private schools have measles vaccination rates below 90%. Ninety percent is the minimum rate considered adequate to provide immunity from the measles. USA Today reports that their study, based on a 13 state sample, shows what many experts have long feared: that people opposed to vaccinations tend to live near each other, leaving some schools dangerously vulnerable. Clusters of individuals opposing vaccinations can create hot spots that are apparent by looking at state immunization rates.

The USA Today study also found that it was troubling and shocking how few states keep records of school immunization rates, in spite of repeated recommendations from the CDC for such record keeping. Some experts fear that decades after once feared diseases were largely eradicated in the USA, many parents have now grown complacent.

Experts note that the decision not to vaccinate has implications across the broader population because no vaccine is 100% effective and thus communities must rely on immunizations across a large proportion of the population to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

Measles is particularly troublesome because it is extremely contagious. In states such as Indiana, Maine, Arkansas, Alaska and Colorado, state health officials acknowledge that they do not keep any internal records showing school immunization rates. This lack of important record keeping makes it difficult to identify hot spots where the immunization rates are below the minimum desired rate to protect the general school population.

In 2013-14, only 13 states met the federal standards for collecting data on vaccination among school children according to the CDC. Experts say that this lack of data is a growing problem and one that parents should be concerned about.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on February 24, 2015 entitled Low vaccination rates at schools put students at risk by Meghan Hoyer and Steve Reilly

MORE MOTORCYCLE SAFETY TIPS FROM NHTSA

Posted on Thursday, March 30th, 2017 at 1:30 pm    

Everyone knows how much fun riding a motorcycle is. But, given the dangers associated with riding a motorcycle, it is also important to do so in a safe manner.

NHTSA offers the following suggestions for motorcycle safety:

1. MAKE SURE YOU ARE PROPERLY LICENSED
Because riding a motorcycle requires different skills and knowledge than driving a car, all states require a motorcycle license endorsement before you can legally ride. And to receive this endorsement, you generally will be required to pass a written and a riding skills test.

2. TAKE A MOTORCYCLE RIDER EDUCATION/SAFETY COURSE
Some states actually require that you take a state sponsored rider education course before you can get a motorcycle license. Others will waive the riding skills test if you have taken and passed a state approved course.

Either way, NHTSA recommends that you complete a motorcycle rider education course to help insure that you ride safe. For more information regarding motorcycle safety courses, see our prior blog articles related to learn to ride courses or get more information by calling the Motorcycle Safety Foundation at 800-446-9227.

3. PRACTICE OPERATING YOUR MOTORCYCLE
Since every motorcycle is different, it is important that you take time to become familiar with the feel of a new or unfamiliar motorcycle by riding it in a controlled area before heading out on the highway. And, be sure that you know how to handle your motorcycle in a variety of riding conditions including such things as adverse weather and encountering road hazards.

4. MAKE SURE YOUR MOTORCYCLE IS SAFE
You should be sure to check your motorcycle before you ride to make sure it is in good, safe working order. That means checking the tire pressure and tread depth, hand and foot brakes, headlights, signal indictors and fluid levels. Check under the motorcycle for signs of oil, gas or fluid leaks.

5. PASSENGER SAFETY
If you are carrying a passenger on your motorcycle, be sure to instruct the passenger to get on board only after the engine is started, sit as far forward as possible and to keep both feet on the footrest at all times – even when you are stopped. Also, remind the passenger to keep their legs and feet away from the muffler to avoid getting burned. Finally, your passenger should hold on firmly to your waist, hips or belt; minimize movement; and lean at the same time and in the same direction as you do.

6. WEAR THE PROPER PROTECTION
The proper protection begins with a safe helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). In addition to protecting you in the event of a crash, some helmets also have face shields that offer protection from the wind, rain, bugs, dust and stones that you might encounter. If your helmet does not have a face shield, be sure to wear goggles to protect your eyes. (For more information regarding selecting a safe helmet see our article entitled: Is That Motorcycle Helmet Safe posted June 9, 2016.)

Also you need to wear the appropriate clothing to protect yourself. Ideally you should wear leather or heavy denim. Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover your ankles and wearing gloves will provide better grip and protect your hands in the event of a crash. Remember that wearing brightly colored clothing with reflective material helps make you more visible to other motorists.

Additional suggestions regarding safe riding can be found at our other blog articles on this subject.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

AUTOMOTIVE HEADLIGHTS GET THE ATTENTION OF IIHS

Posted on Thursday, March 9th, 2017 at 2:46 pm    

Although there have been many changes in automotive headlights over the past 30 years which have lead to brighter headlamps, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, headlights haven’t necessarily gotten better. As a result, the IIHS has begun testing automotive headlamps as part of its safety ratings for new automobiles.

In part, this decision to add headlight performance to its criteria for determining vehicle safety is a result of tests that the IIHS conducted in 2016 to see how well headlamps that swivel around bends perform. This testing found that property damage claims fell by 9% for those cars that had curve-adaptive headlights.

According to a spokesman for the IIHS, making good headlamps is not a mystery or even a technical challenge. However, unfortunately, much of the focus has been placed on how the headlamps look as part of the car’s design, rather than on how well they perform. Under current law, headlights can be of any shape as long as the headlight meets certain minimum output specifications set by NHTSA and adequately avoid glare for oncoming vehicles and pedestrians. However, current standards do not set any minimum illumination distance standards. Testing conducted by the IIHS has shown that a number of factors, including something as simple as the proper aim of a headlight, can sharply reduce the ability of the headlight to shine down the road and properly light up the roadway ahead.

Thus, as part of its testing standards, the IIHS has established minimum distances that headlamps must illuminate down the road as well as on the right side of the road when on the low-beam setting.

Since manufacturers generally are concerned about getting a high safety rating from the IIHS, the IIHS believes that the new standards will help lead to headlamps that provide better visibility without unneeded glare. As an example, the IIHS cites recent testing involving a BMW 2 Series with Xenon headlamps which performed poorly in testing and led to a marginal rating for that vehicle. Shortly after the results of the testing were made public, BMW re-examined its headlights and by re-aiming the headlights was able to improve the visibility for the driver so that on retesting the 2 Series received a rating of “Good”.

New technology such as adaptive driving beams which use 50 to 100 distinct LEDs that automatically adjust depending on the driving situation, promise to further improve visibility for drivers in the near future.

Sources: An article appearing at nytimes.com on 02/17/17, entitled “Headlights Get New Attention as More Than a Car Design Flourish” by Eric A. Taub.

TEXTING WHILE DRIVING IS A BAD IDEA

Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 at 3:24 pm    

According to a recent article by carinsurancecomparison.com while drunk driving fatalities are decreasing nationwide, texting related fatalities are on the rise. Texting is another form of distracted driving. And, most experts agree that texting is the most dangerous form of distracted driving as it requires you to actually look at your phone screen instead of the road.

At a recent test conducted by Car and Driver involving professional drivers, Car and Driver concluded that texting behind the wheel was the equivalent to chugging a few beers before getting behind the wheel. And, the National Transportation Safety Board recently called for a ban on cellphone use in cars including banning the use of hands-free devices to take calls.

Thirty-five states, including Pennsylvania, have passed laws against texting while driving. Yet, according to carinsurancecomparison.com, a whopping thirty-seven percent of people polled admitted to texting while driving. The five worse states for drivers texting while driving are Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana and New Mexico.

Carinsurancecomparison.com recommends that before you get into your automobile, you turn off your phone and put it away so that you won’t be tempted to use it while driving. Additionally, if you see your friends texting while driving, let them know that it is not appropriate. Experts believe that one of the big reasons that there has been a significant decline in drunk driving is because we, as a society, are telling people that it is not okay to drink and drive.

Source: An article appearing at carinsurancecomparison.com entitled Which states are the worst for texting while driving?

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.

NHTSA WANTS LOWER SPEEDS FOR TRUCKS AND BUSES

Posted on Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 at 1:41 pm    

According to an article recently appearing in the LNP, the federal government is seeking to limit how fast trucks, buses and other large vehicles can travel on our nation’s highways. A proposal presently under consideration would limit the maximum speed of such large vehicles by requiring a device that would electronically cap the speeds on all new vehicles made in the USA that weigh more than 26,000 lbs.

The proposal is being advanced NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These agencies believe that by capping the speeds of such large vehicles, there should be a significant reduction in the 1,115 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks that occur each year. The current proposal does not require older heavy vehicles to be retrofitted with the speed limiting technology, however, regulators state they are considering such a requirement.

According to the LNP article, “While the news is being welcomed by some safety advocates and non-professional drivers, many truckers said that such a change could lead to dangerous scenarios where they are traveling at much lower speeds than everyone else.”

Source: An article appearing in the LNP on Monday, August 29, 2016 entitled US wants to force lower speeds for trucks, buses.

FIVE HIDDEN HOME HAZARDS

Posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2016 at 3:46 pm    

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), these are the top five hidden hazards in a home:

1. MAGNETS:
Small powerful magnets, when swallowed, can attract inside the body and block, twist or tear the intestines. If you think your child has swallowed a magnet, seek medical attention immediately.

2. RECALLED PRODUCTS:
There are many products that are recalled because they pose a serious danger or a health hazard. The CPSC recommends that you be aware of the latest safety recalls so you can get dangerous products out of your home. You can sign up for recall notices at www.cpsc.gov.

3. WINDOWS:
Blinds can be extremely dangerous and can present an extreme danger to small children. The CPSC recommends that you never place a crib or playpen near a window blind. And, to prevent strangulation, use cordless blinds or install safety devices on blinds. They also recommend that you install window guards or stops to prevent falls.

4. TIP OVER:
Because children will climb on things, top-heavy furniture can pose a risk to children. TVs and stoves can tipover and crush young children. The CPSC recommends that you make such appliances, etc. more stable using anchors and brackets.

5. POOLS AND SPA DRAINS:
The suction from a pool or spa drain can be powerful enough to trap a young child or even an adult underwater. Therefore, the CPSC recommends that you inspect pools and spas for missing or broken drain covers and replace any missing or broken drain covers.

For more information or to sign up for recall notices, see the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission site at www.cpsc.gov.