Archive for the ‘automotive’ Category

That legally blind driver who killed a pedestrian will now be facing felony charges. Previously, the DA was only going to charge him with a misdemeanor (which would result in little or no jail time). Concerns by the public for the DA to enforce the law seems to have worked:

[District Attorney] O’Malley says there are just too many aggravating factors for the charge to remain a misdemeanor. First and foremost, she says, he is legally blind. “There was also some half eaten food in the car.”

She added that our inquiry prompted her office to take a second look at the case. “When the press comes and speaks back to us, about what they’re seeing, that we listen very closely, because your eyes and ears are very keen, as I hope law enforcement and my office are.”

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A driver with an expired license, who is legally blind, hits and kills a pedestrian in a crosswalk. And prosecutors only charged him with a misdemeanor:

An Oakland man who said he is legally blind has been arrested and charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in connection with a crash in Berkeley that killed a 98-year-old man, authorities said Thursday. Robert Jack Gilchrist, 56, was also charged by Alameda County prosecutors with driving without a valid license at the time of the April crash that killed Joseph Luft.

About 12:20 p.m. on April 4, Luft was on his daily walk and heading east in a crosswalk on Bancroft Way when he was hit by Gilchrist’s car as it traveled north on Sacramento Street, authorities said. The impact knocked Luft 40 feet, police said. Luft was conscious and able to speak with responding officers, but died at a hospital that evening.

If  the DMV already determined he can’t safely drive, then the penalty needs to be a felony. This was no accident.

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You would think by now he would have been fired, or at least had his city-owned vehicle taken away:

On April 30, 2004, Robert Rawls allegedly injured two Rutgers University employees who were crossing in a crosswalk at the intersection of George and Liberty Streets. One woman leaped out of the way and averted injury. Another had her pelvis broken in three places, while a third person sufferred full body contusions, according to a source.

That accident happened just over ten years before Rawls struck three children in a crosswalk located just twelve blocks away on Tuesday afternoon.

Over those ten years, Rawls was involved in another thirteen car accidents, not including the tragedy on Tuesday.

Now, Rawls finds himself and his driving record under increased scrutiny after two days of massive protests in response to the accident. NBC New York’s Brian Thompson reported earlier this evening that Rawls has been in nineteen accidents in 38 years of driving, according to the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission.

The news comes in the wake of the recent accident, where three children on their way home from school were struck by Rawls’ city-owned 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe. He was on-duty at the time. Just six weeks prior to the tragic accident that seriously injured two 14-year-old girls and a 6-year-old boy, Rawls was involved in another accident. Rawls was also behind the wheel during an accident in 2013, two accidents in 2012, and three each in 2008 and 2009.

The victims who were struck Tuesday were hospitalized with serious injuries, one that has some parallels with accounts of the April 2004 incident. But that accident occurred when Rawls was off-duty, said the source. He was promoted to the Fire Director position two years later.

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Stop her before she kills again!

The elderly woman who killed three people when she accidentally backed into a crowd of people leaving a Manatee County church will not be allowed to drive for at least one year.

In court on Wednesday morning, Doreen Landstra, 79, pleaded no contest. She had her driver’s license suspended for a year and was fined $1,000 and paid $106 in court fees. If Landstra wants to renew her license in a year, she will have to go to driving school and meet other Department of Motor Vehicle requirements.

The crash happened Feb. 2 in the Sugar Creek Country Club 55-and-over mobile home community off Belinda Circle and Clubhouse Drive in East Bradenton. Witnesses said Landstra appeared to think she put her large Chevrolet sport utility vehicle in “drive,” but instead she shifted into reverse and backed through the clubhouse parking lot, hitting seven people.

Wasn’t the first time either:

In 2011, the Brandenton Herald reported that Landstra once drove an SUV into the lobby of a McDonald’s in Michigan after she hit the gas instead of the brake.

In that case, she was required to retake her driver’s exam.

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Big Parking In Little Italy

Behold! San Diego’s new 10-story parking edifice:


This lot, near the Amtrak station and right at a light rail stop, is some very desirable real estate. How visionary of San Diego to utilize the lot for a giant parking garage:

The vision for the Waterfront Park at the County Administration Center led to the creation of the new garage. While visitors to the County building can use its new underground parking, employees needed a place close by to park. And the Little Italy structure allows the neighborhood to accommodate more visitors as well.

“It encourages people to visit this culturally rich and progressive community, a community with some of the best restaurants, hotels, stores, open markets and public events in the downtown area,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts.

General obligation bonds will be used to pay for the $24 million project.

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It cost taxpayers almost $10 billion to rescue General Motors. And another $2 billion to rescue Chrysler:

According to a report today from the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, “In return for a total of $49.5 billion in loans to GM, Treasury received $6.7 billion in debt in GM (which was subsequently repaid), in addition to $2.1 billion in preferred stock and a 61% common equity stake.” Treasury has divested its preferred stock and most of its common stock. “Because the common stock sales have all taken place below Treasury’s break-even price,” the report says, “Treasury has so far booked a loss of $9.7 billion on the sales.”

My criticism isn’t so much that they were bailed out, but that taxpayers lost so much money on the deal. Why didn’t the US Government get more equity? GM’s market cap today is $51 billion.

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EV Obsession

In 2012, there were 13 million bicycles sold in the US. If kids bikes are included, the number was 18.7 million. By comparison, the total number of electric vehicles sold was less than 52,000. In fact, there are more bikes than cars (of all kinds) sold in the US.

I point this out, because some states have an obsession with promoting EV sales:

In an effort to spur lackluster sales of electric cars, California, New York and six other states said on Thursday that they would work jointly to adopt a range of measures, including encouraging more charging stations and changing building codes, to make it easier to own an electric car.

The goal, they said, was to achieve sales of at least 3.3 million vehicles that did not have any emissions by 2025.

The states, which represent more than a quarter of the national car market, said they would seek to develop charging stations that all took the same form of payment, simplify rules for installing chargers and set building codes and other regulations to require the stations at workplaces, multifamily residences and at other places.

They said they would also promote hydrogen fueling stations.

Not saying EV’s are necessarily a bad thing. But people already own zero-polluting vehicles: bicycles. States should prioritize bike infrastructure over hydrogen infrastructure.

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