Aging headlights pose risk for motorists and pedestrians, AAA says

By Fredrick Kunkle | The Washington Post

New research from AAA suggests that a lot of motorists are driving at night with aging headlights that barely illuminate the road, increasing the risk of collisions, including potentially deadly ones with pedestrians.

In laboratory testing on two popular vehicles that were about 11 years old, AAA found that about 22 percent of the light generated by the bulb reaches the roadway from a headlight that has deteriorated.

That’s because over time, sunlight damages the plastic coatings of most headlights, turning them a frosty or yellowish tint that also becomes opaque. The organization said drivers should consider replacing older headlights with original manufacturer parts and urged motorists to add headlights to the list of routine maintenance that people expend on changing oil and tires.

“There’s a whole lot going on with headlight safety,” John Townsend, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in an interview. “What we’re saying is that many people don’t know that their headlights could be problematic.”

AAA researchers conducted the tests using a 2007 Nissan Altima and a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu with ages close to the average age – 11.6 years – of most vehicles on the road today, Townsend said.

The research comes as the federal safety officials and others have called for more attention to vehicle standards for headlights and their role in preventing deadly crashes with pedestrians. An estimated 6,000 pedestrians died last year in motor vehicle crashes, despite initiatives by cities such as Washington, Los Angeles and New York to reduce traffic fatalities.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said in a report issued last month that slightly more than half of all 2018-model vehicles met its adequacy standards in illuminating the roadway and limiting glare for oncoming drivers, but it noted that the better systems came as optional features or packages that boosted …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


California woman drowns at dangerous Kauai spot Queen’s Bath

LIHUE, Hawaii — Rescuers over the weekend called off their search for a California woman swept out to sea from a picturesque but dangerous spot on Kauai’s north shore.

The Garden Island newspaper reported 23-year-old Yayun Cheng was the seventh drowning victim in Kauai this year.

Cheng was attempting to climb rocks near an area known as Queen’s Bath shortly before noon on Wednesday, when a wave came up and swept her out to sea.

She was last seen unresponsive in the water.

Firefighters, lifeguards, police and the U.S. Coast Guard all participated in the three-day search. They suspended their search on Saturday. Volunteers with the Life’s Bridges grief counseling service are helping Cheng’s family.

There is no lifeguard station on the remote and rocky shoreline of Queen’s Bath.

The surf is most dangerous from November through March, but officials urge caution year-round because the slippery lava rock beach is hazardous.

The ocean can be relatively calm at the spot, with sea turtles wandering peacefully amid tide pools filled with clear water.

But rough waves also sweep people away. A sign with skull and crossbones at the entrance to the beach keeps a tally of the number of people who have drowned there.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


Accused of rape, former frat president gets no jail time after plea deal

By Eli Rosenberg | The Washington Post

A former fraternity president at Baylor University who had been accused of rape will not serve any jail time nor be forced to register as a sex offender after a judge accepted the plea deal he had been offered by Texas prosecutors, according to news reports.

Jacob Anderson, 23, had been charged with four counts of sexual assault after he was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman at a party thrown by Phi Delta Theta, the fraternity chapter he was president of, in 2016, at the school in Waco, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

But earlier this year, the McLennan County district attorney’s office offered him a plea deal that quickly became the subject of bitter outcry from both the victim and her family, as well as many others paying attention to the case.

The district attorney’s office dismissed the four counts of sexual assault in exchange for a lesser charge of unlawful restraint, according to news reports. And they recommended that Anderson serve three years of deferred adjudication probation — meaning the charge could eventually be dismissed if he doesn’t violate the terms of his probation — be fined $400, and go to counseling in lieu of jail time, according to news reports.

The case’s closure Monday was punctuated by sobs from the victim, who had asked the judge to reject the plea offer and set a trial date so she could testify in court, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.

In a victim impact statement she read later, she called out the assistant district attorney on the case, Hilary LaBorde, and McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, neither of whom attended the hearing, the Tribune-Herald reported.

“If I had the courage to come back to Waco and face my rapist and testify, you could at least have had …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


Study: Social media surpasses newspapers as news source

NEW YORK (AP) — A survey says Americans today are more likely to get news from social media web sites than newspapers.

The Pew Research Center said Monday that 20 percent of Americans cited social media as a frequent news source, compared to 16 percent that credited newspapers. It’s the first time since Pew has found sites like Facebook and Twitter outpacing newspapers.

Pew has been asking about news consumption, with a slight change in wording, since 1991. That year, 56 percent of Americans said newspapers when asked where they had gotten their news yesterday.

The survey also found that 81 percent of people aged 65 and over often get news from television, compared to only 16 percent of people aged 18 to 29.

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…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


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