By Jeff Sanford
Toronto, Ontario ---- This week’s edition of Fun looks at a fraudster caught in the act of staging a collision, the Exotic Driver’s Club comes to Winnipeg, reports that GM has also been accused of rigging emissions tests and much, much more!
- According to a story in Today’s Trucking, “It’s been a bad month for truck-plane collisions. This past , an Aeromexico Boeing 737 ran into an airport services truck while landing at Los Angeles International Airport after a flight from Mexico City. Two weeks ago, a small private airplane landing at the Fremont, Ohio, airport clipped a tractor trailer.”
- A story in the Toronto Star finds that, “Toronto police are calling on municipal politicians to urge the province to make it tougher to get an accessible parking pass — a move prompted by a 25 percent spike in tickets for parking permit abuse in 2016.” Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders, “... initially spearheaded the call in a letter to the police board in February, suggesting that an independent physician do the assessment for an accessible parking pass instead of having someone go to their own doctor.” This would make the system similar to the one in New York City, according to the story. “The chief has also recommended that future permits include the pass holder's photo, and that the province crack down on those who don't return their temporary passes,” according to the report. The story goes on to say that the “abuse of accessible parking is a growing concern ... The city issued 16,104 tickets connected to parking permit abuse last year, up from 12,877 in 2015.”
- There’s nothing funny about staged collisions, but there is definitely something funny about criminals being caught on tape. Check out the video at the Daily Mail.
- A new business in Winnipeg will allow locals access to high-end vehicles. The Exotic Driver’s Club is, “... now giving Winnipeg drivers an opportunity to rent and drive exotic cars, all for 71 percent less than the cost to own one of these supercars ... Monthly memberships can range between $595 and $1,495 per month, and will allow drivers to drive between 16-40 days in a year, depending on the cars they choose and the level of their membership,” according to a story in the Winnipeg Sun. The new business is said to be the “third exotic car rental in Canada, joining Toronto and Vancouver.” According to the report, “The car club is offering eight cars for rental. The list includes an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Audi R8 Supercar, BMW I8, Ferrari F430 Coupe, Lamborghini Gallardo Coupe, Maserati Granturismo S Coupe, Nissan GT-R Coupe, and Tesla Model S Sedan.”
- The Globe & Mail reported this week that General Motors has been accused in a lawsuit of, “... rigging hundreds of thousands of diesel trucks with devices similar to those used by Volkswagen AG, to ensure they pass required emissions tests ... The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court in Detroit on behalf of people who own or lease more than 705,000 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks fitted with 'Duramax' engines from 2011 to 2016 model years ... It said GM used at least three 'defeat devices' to ensure that the trucks would meet federal and state emission standards, even if they generated more pollution in real-world driving.” This is the scandal that refuses to wind up and only seems to be getting larger. The list of companies that have now been accused of rigging diesel engines to fool regulatory tests includes VW, Mercedes-Benz (Daimler AG), Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot and Renault.
- A study published in the journal Nature finds that “emissions from diesel vehicles may be more than 50 percent higher than regulators thought...Researchers combed through emissions data from diesel cars, trucks, and buses sold in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the 28 EU member states, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and the US. That covers about 80 percent of the diesel vehicles sold globally. Scientists recorded the data while the vehicles were on the road, using technology like sensors that attach to tailpipes … Combining that with regional driving trends, cars sold, and basic scientific knowledge of how pollution exposure harms health, they concluded that diesel emission caused an extra 38,000 early deaths in 2015 compared to previous estimates.”
- Tesla suffered more bad publicity this week when a report from a labour group was released. A worker safety advocacy group, “... found injury rates at the plant were well above the industry average in 2014 and 2015, according to its independent review of work-related injuries and illnesses at Tesla’s Fremont, California plant. Worksafe, which analyzed reports filed with the US Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, found similarly high injury rates in 2016 at the plant ... Injury rates were 31 percent higher than the US industry average in 2015, with a total recordable incidence rate of 8.8 per 100 workers compared with 6.7 per 100.” A Tesla spokesperson was forced to agree the rates are high. “We may have had some challenges in the past as we were learning how to become a car company, but what matters is the future and with the changes we’ve made, we now have the lowest injury rate in the industry by far,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying. The report has “emergized” a union drive at the plant.
- A hailstorm that hammered Denver earlier this month is the “costliest ever” for the state. According to a story in the Denver Post, the 2016 storm, “...caused $1.4 billion in damages, with an estimated 200,000 combined auto and homeowners insurance claims to be file...The hailstorm that pounded west metro Denver with golf ball- and baseball-sized stones on May 8 will rank as the most expensive catastrophe in state history, according to estimates from the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association...The insurance industry trade group estimates that more than 150,000 auto insurance claims and more than 50,000 homeowners insurance claims will be filed, resulting in $1.4 billion in insured losses.”
- Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) has raised auto insurance rates for the province’ various light vehicles. Effective May 21, the insurer chose to raise its rates to match the Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) damage rate group table. These changes will be the first in Saskatchewan since 2014. An official statement says the rate increases will be revenue-neutral and will not generate any extra money for SGI.
- The Ontario Provincial Police have unveiled a new technology they claim will help them catch speeding vehicles ... by shooting high-tech projectiles at them. According to a CBC story, “A small number of OPP vehicles are now equipped with a 'GPS projecting launching system' ... The projectiles are roughly the size of soup cans and are fired from the front grille of police vehicles ... it hits the mark, the projectile will attach to the targeted vehicle. At that point, police say a GPS signal will be sent back to an OPP communications centre, allowing the vehicle can be tracked remotely and avoiding the need for a risky high-speed chase ... Specially-trained officers are able to aim and fire the projectiles using an on-board control panel.”