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Rule Clearing Way For Self-Driving Cars Passed By House

The U.S. House passed a bold proposal Wednesday that would help get self-driving cars without human control on the roads faster and preemptively bar states from taking any actions to ban the automated cars. The proposed bill, which now goes to the Senate for a vote, would allow automakers exemptions to deploy as many as 25,000 autonomous vehicles on the road without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year and as many as 100,000 annually over the next three years, Reuters reported. Waymo and other automakers developing self-driving technologies have been pushing federal legislators for measures that would ... Read More

Peanut Corporation of America executive indicted by Grand Jury on charges stemming from Salmonella Outbreak

The owner of Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), where one of the deadliest Salmonella outbreaks in U.S. history originated, has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury on 76 criminal charges. A group of employees and associates of the now-defunct company have also been arraigned in connection to the 2009 outbreak, which killed 9 people and sickened more than 700. According to the indictment, unsealed this week, PCA’s former owner, Stewart Parnell, 58, is charged with committing criminal fraud and conspiracy for allegedly selling and shipping out peanut products known to be contaminated. The Salmonella-tainted peanut butter and other peanut-based ... Read More

Vehicular heatstroke warning devices ineffective, NHTSA warns

Safety products designed to alert parents about children accidentally left in dangerously hot vehicles are unreliable, federal safety regulators said Monday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made the announcement amidst a push to raise awareness of auto safety concerns affecting children, including efforts aimed at preventing heatstroke death and injuries in children left in unattended vehicles. According to the agency, 527 children have died from heatstroke injuries they received by being locked in hot vehicles – about 38 deaths per year on average. Heatstroke is the leading non-crash, vehicle-related cause of death for children. NHTSA also warned that ... Read More

Eating and driving: the top 10 worst foods to eat behind the wheel

Thanks to the efforts of safety advocates and awareness campaigns, a growing number of American motorists now understand the dangers of talking on cell phones and texting while driving. But there is another form of driving distraction that is just as prevalent yet more tolerated, perhaps because most of us do it: eating while driving. According to a 2009 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 80 percent of all car crashes and 65 percent of near misses are caused by drivers distracted by things such as eating and drinking, which can steal the driver’s focus and ... Read More

Single-vehicle crash in Ohio kills one woman, sets off multi-car collision

Police in Oberlin, Ohio are investigating a mysterious crash that claimed the life of a restaurant server who was on her way to work when she suddenly lost control of her vehicle Tuesday morning and crashed head-on with a tractor trailer. According to Elyria, Ohio’s Chronicle-Telegram, Sandra Linden, 55, or Norwalk, Ohio, was traveling on U.S. route 20 in her gray minivan when the crash occurred. Witnesses said Ms. Linden’s vehicle swerved suddenly and struck the tractor trailer, which was traveling in the opposite direction. The commercial truck, driven by a New Knoxville, Ohio, man then collided with a pickup ... Read More

Sudden acceleration in Ford Freestyles under investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating several consumer complaints involving Ford’s Freestyle car-SUV crossover vehicles for their potential to lunge forward unexpectedly. The agency’s database says the investigation was opened on May 11, 2011 after receiving 238 complaints about problems with the vehicles’ speed control. These reports of unintended acceleration have been submitted by owners of 2005 to 2007 model-year Freestyles. Unlike many reports involving sudden, unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles, which many drivers have alleged raced out of control over long distances and at violent speeds even when the brakes were fully pressed, complaints about ... Read More

Are you safe in a minicar?

The words “fuel economy” pack more appeal for American car buyers than any other time in automotive history. Motivated by financial strains to cut costs and inspired by the Green Revolution to reduce fuel consumption, millions of Americans are turning to smaller and smaller car models. But are mini and micro size cars, which are so common on European streets, safe for people to use on American roads and interstates? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently completed testing the smallest cars on the American market. Every year, the non-profit IIHS crash tests and thoroughly evaluates a number of ... Read More

CPSC hits Mattel with record civil penalty

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission announced that it has hit Mattel, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Fischer-Price with the third largest civil penalty in CPSC history for importing and selling toys containing illegal amounts of lead. The toy manufacturers agreed to pay the $2.3 million penalty, which was the highest of its kind for violations involving the importation or distribution of a regulated product. CPSC staff alleged that Mattel of El Segundo, Calif., and Fischer-Price of East Aurora, N.Y., knowingly imported and sold children’s toys with paint and other surface coatings containing unacceptable levels of lead, a potent ... Read More

Chrysler, GM bankruptcy deals strip victims of legal recourse

Dozens of accident victims and their lawyers made their way to Washington, DC, and the halls of Capitol Hill last week, urging lawmakers and the Obama administration to protect their ability to pursue medical claims against Chrysler and General Motors. In a May 31 ruling, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Arthur Gonzalez overruled objections lodged by the Ad Hoc Committee of Consumer-Victims of Chrysler LLC and other consumer groups when he approved the sale of Chrysler to Italy’s Fiat, free and clear of outstanding legal claims against the U.S. car manufacturer. Gonzalez effectively ruled that only liabilities that promote Fiat’s commercial ... Read More

Birmingham hospital leads Alabama in pediatric brain injury care

The University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) and Children’s Hospital will be named as a “Lead Center of Excellence” by the Sarah Jane Brain Project, a national organization devoted to expanding research and awareness of Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury (PTBI), which is the leading cause of death and disability for children 15 years old and younger. PTBI is to blame for 5,000 deaths and about one million hospitalizations every year. Of the pediatric patients hospitalized for PTBI, 17,000 result in permanent disabilities. The Sarah Jane Brain Project is actively building a network of hospitals and research clinics across the country as ... Read More