More than two dozen people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning after accidentally leaving their cars running in the garage, according to The New York Times. Dozens more suffered debilitating injuries.
Why is this happening?
It’s a mistake that’s made easier by modern keyless ignition systems, which allow drivers to start and shut off their vehicle with the press of a button. The car key — really just a key fob — can remain in a purse or pocket. But making it so easy turn on a vehicle also makes it easy to forget to turn it off.
This is especially true with quiet, hybrid cars. The engine might not be running when the car is first parked, but will come on later as the car’s batteries run down. Even many non-hybrid cars today have extremely quiet engines, the sound of which can be virtually undetectable when the car is parked.
What cars have this feature?
So-called keyless entry systems are a standard feature on many new cars and at least an option on even the least expensive economy models. It’s a convenience that’s on millions of cars today, and it’s appreciated by owners who no longer have to fumble with car keys.
With this feature, drivers can lock and unlock the car just by touching the door handles — without using the key fob at all. Once inside, drivers can start their vehicle the press of a button or, in some cases, the twist of a knob.
What can automakers do to prevent these accidents?
Automakers should make sure vehicles have audible alarms that can be heard outside of the car when a driver gets out of a running car, said Jake Fisher, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports. The magazine has called on all automakers to add features like this to prevent the problem.
Some automakers already do have audible notifications. Others, such as General Motors (GM), have designed their cars to automatically shut off after a certain period of time once the driver has left the vehicle. Still other automakers design vehicles to automatically turn off whenever the driver exits the vehicle with the key fob.
Are government regulators doing anything?
Regulations have been proposed, but never enacted, according to the New York Times and other reports. The challenge for automakers is to balance customer safety with convenience. There may be some times, for example, when a driver might want to let their car’s engine run when they’re not in the vehicle. For instance, they may want to leave the air conditioner on for a pet inside the car, or maybe they’re using headlights to illuminate what they’re doing.
What can I do to be safe?
The most important thing for drivers is to make very sure a car is turned off every time it’s parked.
It’s easy for people for get distracted by children or a phone call and leave the ignition on, said Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA’s northeast regional office.
Specifically, he suggests that drivers get to know what a car’s gauge cluster looks like when the ignition is on and when it’s off. If the gauges are still lit up, the car is still probably on. Hybrid cars, in particular, will have a dashboard light indicating the car is turned on and ready to drive.
Finally, to prevent this and other tragic accidents, every home should have working carbon monoxide detectors. These detectors should not be placed in the garage, where they probably can’t be heard, but instead in a home’s living areas, said Lt. Athony Mancuso of the New York City Fire Department.
“When we do see a carbon monoxide death,” he said, “the people don’t have a carbon monoxide detector.”
Evacuations, rescues as ‘historic’ floods hit northeastern U.S.
New Jersey declared a partial state of emergency on Tuesday as forecasts for further heavy rainfall posed new danger in parts of that state, New York and Pennsylvania, where rescuers hauled people from waterways, flooded cars and homes.
Following several days of torrential rain throughout the northeastern United States, the National Weather Service issued new warnings for flooding in areas around Binghamton, New York, near the Pennsylvania border, and in New Jersey.
Federal forecasters warned that areas in the region could see as much as 4 inches (10 cm) more rain on Tuesday.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement five of the state’s 21 counties were under a state of emergency, where additional rainfall could further complicate flood cleanup.
“Parts of our state have received nothing less than historic amounts of rain, and some communities received an entire month’s worth in just a few hours,” said Murphy.
The police department in Brick, a town of 75,000 on the Atlantic coast, said on Facebook that residents were barred from returning to 105 homes without a security escort until township officials finished inspecting them.
In Seneca County, New York, emergency crews were evacuating some residents by boat and taking them to a nearby shelter, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
“Flooding is one of the primary killers with regards to weather. It’s not tornadoes. It’s not wind damage,” said Brett Rossio, an Accuweather meteorologist. “It doesn’t take much. Even just a foot of water can pull you away very easily.”
More than 8,000 people had lost power in areas drenched by the storms and the Red Cross said it was operating shelters. It was not immediately clear how many people were in them.
“It’s Mother Nature so it’s a fluid situation, watching where the rain falls and if there’s additional evacuations necessary,” said Jay Bonafede, the Red Cross spokesman.
Both Pennsylvania and New York have already activated their emergency response centers for the storms, which started over the weekend.
Molly Dougherty, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, said some people affected by the flooding had been recovering from deluges three weeks ago.
“People are looking at losses of most of their belongings and, in some cases, we’re still concerned about the safety of folks and making sure they’re able to stabilize,” said Dougherty.
New York names new state author and poet
ALBANY, N.Y. — New York state has named two new writers as the state poet and author.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that Colson Whitehead will serve as state author and Alicia Ostriker will be state poet.
Whitehead is a novelist whose most recent work is “The Underground Railroad.” He will succeed former state author Edmund White.
Ostriker has written 16 poetry collections, with her latest titled “Waiting for the Light.” She takes over from former state poet Yusef Komunyakaa.
The honorary titles are bestowed every two years as a way to celebrate reading, writing and the arts.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Go Back-to-School With OurBus: Tech Company Offers New Transportation Option for State College, PA Students To NYC
OurBus is expanding to more than two dozen college towns across the United States, targeting busy students who are looking for inexpensive and convenient travel options for visiting family, friends and vacationing. To kick it off, OurBus is starting service from State College, Pennsylvania to New York City.
State College service will depart from South Fraser Street, Thursday through Monday.
“While serving both leisure travelers and commuters has been a priority for us over the last two years, we’re eager to now expand our service to more college students, starting with State College, Pennsylvania, with additional service starting soon in Newark, Delaware, California and Florida college towns,” said Axel Hellman, co-founder, OurBus. “Many of these college communities lack convenient and budget-friendly transportation options to major metropolitan cities and towns.”
The company will be offering complimentary bus rides to prospective students visiting select colleges starting this fall as part of the college initiative. OurBus will also be piloting additional luggage service for students going back-to-school, beginning with Ithaca this August. Services like these are a testament to OurBus’s commitment to the student traveler!
The company understands the needs of students who are juggling academics, sports, work gigs, and life. OurBus offers express bus service to major cities on the East and West coasts, and Florida, including “pop-up” routes during Spring and Winter breaks.
The company brings flexibility and creativity to developing bus routes in partnership with current and future customers, via crowdsourcing.
OurBus currently offers bus service serving students in:
Binghamton, New York
Fort Myers, Florida
Ithaca, New York
New York City
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Syracuse, New York
West Chester, Pennsylvania
By using crowdsourcing to bring efficient bus service to leisure travelers, students, and families on a budget, OurBus is bucking the traditional bus service model, which utilizes a point to point network concept, recognizing that travelers need reliable and efficient transportation that’s close to their home, with less transfers, and less time in the car.
On OurBus, riders can be as productive or as relaxed as they want to be, with all buses equipped with free wi-fi, individual charging ports, bottled water, and bathrooms.
The company is now offering the OurBus Select Membership program, targeting students, frequent travelers, and families on a budget. Members will receive 50 percent off of 10 tickets, for $49.99.
It’s easy to book tickets and suggest new service, by downloading the free OurBus app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. OurBus customers have the ability to:
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