Monthly Archives: April 2013

Dangerous Wildfire Season Predicted for California

LOS ANGELES — Californians can expect a dangerous summer wildfire season due to a dry winter that has left the normally green hills of spring parched and tinder-dry, authorities warned.


State fire crews have responded to more than 680 wildfires since the beginning of the year — some 200 more than average for the period. They included several 300- and 400-acre blazes around the state.

Local fire crews also have been busy. Last weekend, a fire in the foothills above Monrovia, northeast of Los Angeles, prompted the evacuation of about 200 homes. A wind-whipped, 170-acre wildfire earlier this month burned two houses and threatened 160 others in rural Ventura County.

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California bills would add restrictions on teen drivers

California lawmakers moved Monday to further restrict teenage drivers, including approval of one measure to require that newly licensed 18- and 19-year-olds follow rules that now apply to younger motorists.

Two bills approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee piggyback on current restrictions on drivers under 18, such as requiring a driver’s education course, 50 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel training and a year-long provisional stage in which they cannot drive with passengers under 20 or be on the road after 11 p.m.

• Assembly Bill 724 by Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, would apply to drivers who get licensed for the first time at age 18 or 19. It would require 18- and
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Top 10 Driving Distractions Involved in Fatal Car Crashes

Of the more than 65,000 people killed in car crashes over the past two years, one in 10 were in crashes where at least one of the drivers was distracted. That’s according to police report data analyzed by Erie Insurance in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off your primary task of driving safely,” said Doug Smith, senior vice president of personal lines at Erie Insurance. “We looked at what law enforcement officers across
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Hot Wheels Classics: Thefts of 1957 Chevrolets

DES PLAINES, Ill. – The ’57 Chevy is instantly recognized by auto enthusiasts the world over and equally cherished by discriminating auto thieves as well. Last August, none other than television therapist Dr. Phil McGraw had to be consoled after learning that his ‘57 Chevy, valued at $100,000 was stolen from a repair shop in Burbank, Calif. It was one of 42 thefts of ’57 Chevys reported to law enforcement in 2012.

Long the national leader in overall vehicle thefts, it was not surprising that Dr. Phil’s ’57 Chevy was among California’s theft statistics in 2012. Indeed, California posted the most ’57 Chevy thefts (1958-2012) with 6,700. It was followed by
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Good News: Progress Reported in Teen Passenger Safety

A new report on teen driver safety by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm shows encouraging trends among teen passengers.

From 2008 to 2011, risky behaviors of teen passengers (ages 15 to 19 years) declined: the number of teen passengers killed in crashes not wearing seat belts decreased 23 percent; the number of teen passengers driven by a peer who had been drinking declined 14 percent; and 30 percent fewer teen passengers were killed in crashes involving a teen driver.

Overall, the report measured a 47 percent decline in teen driver-related fatalities over the past six years.

Still, as recent high-profile multi-fatality crashes with teen drivers illustrate, crashes remain the
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California’s Flood Future: Recommendations for Managing California’s Flood Risk

CA Dept. of Water Resources and US Army Corps of Engineers have released the report, “California’s Flood Future: Recommendations for Managing California’s Flood Risk,” outlines seven recommendations to improve public safety, foster environmental stewardship and support economic stability, says “$580 billion in assets are exposed to flood risk throughout the state, and 7 million Californians live in a floodplain.”

Read the report here.