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Big Rig Driving Makes List of California's 12 Deadliest Jobs

"A higher number of heavy-truck drivers die on the job than workers in any other occupation."

- The Sacramento Bee

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Driving big rigs is No. 3 on the list of California's 12 deadliest jobs, as the Sacramento Bee reports. Out of 12 occupations, truck driving falls behind just logging and aviation, with 295 fatalities throughout 2012-2016.

But part of what has many truck drivers up in arms over the latest safety regulations (see: electronic logging devices) is that many critics and lawmakers haven't walked a mile in a driver's shoes - or driven a few thousand miles.

California's Fuel Efficiency Rules Cause More Car Crashes - Or So Say the Feds

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California makes its own rules on fuel efficiency. At least for now. And while it's not likely that this will change under the Trump Administration's version of the EPA, the rumor mill says that the federal government may give it a shot, using phrases like "death toll" when referring to California's fuel efficiency standards.

Honda Odyssey Seat Flips, Crushes Boy: Freak Accident or Larger Issue?


It's too early to say whether there's a larger problem here, but there are two issues at play in the death of a 16-year-old boy in April:

  1. The "unacceptable" performance of the 911 operator, who may have failed to give enough information to the police.
  2. A possible defect in the Honda Odyssey minivan that can cause the rear bench seat to collapse when not properly latched.

When the boy grabbed his tennis gear from the back of his 2004 Odyssey, the third-row seat flipped and pinned him down. He'd apparently leaned over the third-row seat from inside the van when it flipped, trapping him in the rear cargo area. Despite two emergency calls, first responders were unable to find him in time, and the boy asphyxiated.

Download the Latest Software Update for Your Robot Car - Or Else

When will "robot cars" be ready?

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According to Wired, the "unsatisfying" answer is never. But it's the right answer. This is a crucial message that hasn't been popularly broadcasted until recently, in the wake of recent fatal accidents. The answer is never because these cars - just like smartphone apps and computer programs - will always need to be updated. Robot cars run on software, after all. Software is what drives the autonomous tech that gets a vehicle like an Uber SUV from Point A to Point B without hitting anything.

Johnny Law Comes for Truckers with Electronic Logging Devices

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In Nick Stockton's Wired piece, truckers react negatively to updated hours-of-service rules that now digitize and automate logbook recordkeeping. No more pen and paper, apparently. It makes it easy, the way Stockton describes it, for an officer to confirm exactly how long a trucker has been behind the wheel without rest.

"To inspect a trucker's logs," Stockton writes, "a smokey just plugs into the ELD unit. Any trucker found in violation of their Hours of Service gets curbed for 10 hours - a serious penalty in a business where running late is bad news."

Self-Driving Car Woes

Things aren't so hot for self-driving cars right now.

First Pedestrian Death Involving Self-Driving Car

On March 18 in Arizona, a self-driving vehicle operated by Uber struck a woman who was crossing the street. She died later in the hospital. In Uber's defense, the woman was apparently crossing the street outside of the crosswalk. But crosswalk or no, this appears to be the first fatal accident involving a self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian. And it showed how poorly this particular self-driving vehicle handled an emergent situation - its failure to avoid someone who unexpectedly steps out into the street.

Drunk Driver Suffering From 'Affluenza' Released Today

If someone drives drunk and kills or seriously injures another person in a crash - a brother, mother, daughter, what have you - you'd expect the driver to get years and years behind bars. Occasionally that happens. But it often doesn't happen that way at all.

So it was in the case of the teen afflicted with "affluenza" who drove drunk and killed four people.

Tom and David Honored as Consumer Attorneys of the Year in 2017


Both Tom Girardi and David Lira were recently honored at the CAOC Annual Awards as Attorneys of the Year in 2017, for having "achieved a significant result in a case that assisted consumers or changed consumer law for the better in California." The CAOC has updated its website to show current recipients and past recipients, in an award that stretches back nearly two decades.

The case centered on a 1993 Mazda minivan and its lap-only seat belts. In that case (as we described in an earlier post), had the minivan been fully equipped with three-point seat belts on all seats, rather than partially equipped, it would have prevented Ms. Williamson's death.

Driverless Cars: California Says It's Time for Full Auto

Once driverless cars really get going, we can all sleep like babies.

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On April 2, just one short month from now, the dreams of Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk, as well as the dreams of the other players in the self-driving car game, will come closer to fruition when the California DMV begins to issue permits for fully autonomous vehicles.

What this means is (1) automakers can soon test their vehicles on public roads remotely, with no driver or passenger in the car at all and (2) can move toward activating full auto mode in cars currently owned and operated by consumers, such as Tesla's Model S, with its Autopilot functionality 100 percent engaged.

Now it's "Look, Ma, no hands!" to get from Point A to Point B.

Sports Violence: Not Just a Philly Thing

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Following Minnesota's drubbing in the NFC Championship (38-7) leading up to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, much was made of Philadelphia's notorious fan base, accused of all manner of naughty behavior, from mild run-of-the-mill taunting to outright threats and physical assault, perpetrated against Vikings fans who attended the game in Philly.

On one hand, if you attend an away game in full hometown regalia, you can't expect to escape some good-natured ribbing, perhaps even some that isn't so good natured. On the other hand, the Big Game and Team Spirit are no excuse for threats and violence, in or out of the stadium. Towel snapping, beer can pelting, bottles of urine, crying kids - these are the anecdotes coming out of Philadelphia.

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