Oct 16, 2008
It sounds like perennial teen misbehavior, but car surfing is a new concern for health authorities, who took a look at the thrill-seeking activity in a report published today.
Between 1990 and this year, epidemiologists turned up 99 news reports of car surfing, in which people ride on the roof, hood, trunk or elsewhere on the exterior of an automobile. Some 58 of those cases were fatal.
That count probably doesn't capture every car surf, says John Halpin, a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's Injury Center. "In absolute terms that is a low number. We've likely missed cases," Halpin says. "But even if it's low in numbers, because it has such devastating consequences even at low speeds, we thought it was such a serious public health issue."
Oct 16, 2008 | 1
Chrysler, Ford and GM are busy using up the $25-billion jump-start they received last month and their economic outlook is far from rosy. But it is the upstarts—in specific, electric car company Tesla Motors—facing the roughest road because they don't have the track record for access to cheap cash.
As the credit markets have seized up, Tesla has been forced to restructure and has entered a "critical phase" financially, according to a company blog post. Tesla will be abandoning Detroit and digging in at its new corporate HQ in San Jose as well as laying off an unspecified number of its 250 employees. Its primary financial backer, Elon Musk—whose SpaceX rocket finally took flight, successfully putting a payload into orbit—will also return to the helm of the company, shifting current CEO Ze'ev Drori to the board of directors. He had been in the job for a little less than a year.
Oct 6, 2008 | 2
Parents worried about teens' safety (not to mention the safety of everyone else on the road) when they take the new car for a spin will soon be able to control how fast the kids drive and how loudly they crank up the tunes. They will also be able to remotely nag their young drivers to wear their seatbelts, all thanks to a new technology called MyKey that Ford Motor Company plans to introduce as standard equipment on its 2010 Focus coupe and, down the road, in its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models.
MyKey has a transponder chip that, once plugged into the ignition, allows car owners to program their car's computer. This includes setting the car's maximum speed limit as high as 80 miles per hour, and to issue warning chimes when the car's speed reaches 45, 55 or 65 miles per hour. Although a driver can still do a lot of damage at 80 miles per hour, and it exceeds most speed limits, this speed does allow for more maneuverability during highway driving (particularly if a driver needs to pass the car ahead). The MyKey can also program the car to chime a six-second seatbelt reminder every minute for five minutes and, after that, to mute the car stereo until the driver buckles up. Plus, MyKey can program the stereo to keep it down to no more than 40 percent of full volume.
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