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Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 3:16 PM
Updated: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 3:16 PM
DETROIT — A new report on recalls of potentially deadly Takata air bag inflators shows that automakers have replaced only 43 percent of the faulty parts even though recalls have been under way for more than 15 years.
The report, issued Friday by an independent monitor who is keeping tabs on the recalls, also shows that auto companies are only about halfway toward a Dec. 31 goal of 100 percent replacement of older and more dangerous inflators.
The slow completion rate comes even though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began coordinating the recalls and phasing them in two years ago. Before that, the automakers were obtaining parts and distributing them on their own. Normally automakers fix 75 percent of vehicles within 18 months after the recall is announced.
The report brought criticism from a U.S. senator in Florida, whose state has seen three deaths caused by the problem and where automakers have fixed 41.7 percent of the 3 million affected inflators.
Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion and fill air bags quickly in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to high humidity and temperatures and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister designed to contain the explosion. That can hurl hot shrapnel into unsuspecting drivers and passengers. At least 19 people have been killed worldwide and more than 180 injured.
The problem touched off the largest series of automotive recalls in U.S. history, with 19 car and truck makers having to recall up to 69 million inflators in 42 million vehicles. It also brought a criminal conviction and fine against Takata and forced the Japanese company into bankruptcy protection.
The report by independent monitor John Buretta says that as of Sept. 15, automakers have recalled 43.1 million inflators. Of those, only 18.5 million have been replaced, even though Takata recalls date to 2001.
In his report, Buretta concludes that there is "much room for improvement" in the Takata recalls. But he says that manufacturers are starting to make meaningful progress toward "developing sound strategic approaches."
The automakers, he writes, are using different communications methods to reach owners such as door-to-door canvassing. They also are offering mobile repair and trying to use third parties such as independent repair facilities to speed up the process.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, blamed the slow pace on a lack of leadership at NHTSA, which has been without its top administrator since the end of the Obama administration in January. "We still don't have any leadership at NHTSA to ensure this stuff actually gets done by the automakers," he said in a statement. "Until the agency gets a permanent administrator this recall is going to continue to drag on while the injury and death toll mounts."
NHTSA said in a statement that the Takata recalls are unprecedented in size and complexity and have resulted in groundbreaking lessons that will help automakers reach their repair goals. The agency said it is monitoring the automakers' progress and working to expand best practices to boost completion rates. The agency also has the authority to fine automakers that don't make recall repairs in a timely manner.
"NHTSA will rely on its broad array of enforcement authorities and will take further action as appropriate," the statement said.
Completion rates vary wildly by automaker, according to a separate document posted by NHTSA. Tesla was best at 78.6 percent, followed by Honda at 64.8 percent. Mercedes-Benz was the worst at 2.3 percent, followed by Karma at 9.9 percent.
Automakers initially were slowed by a lack of replacement inflators as Takata and other manufacturers ramped up manufacturing. But for many such as Honda, Takata's largest customer, ample parts are now available.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 4:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 7:38 PM
GOSHEN TWP., Champaign County — UPDATE @ 7:20 p.m.: A 61-year-old Kenton woman was killed in the two-vehicle collision involving a private ambulance and a full-size pickup truck in Goshen Twp., the Champaign County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
Debra Lock was a front-seat passenger in the Med Care ambulance sheriff's investigators said failed to yield the right of way when it entered the intersection of U.S. 36 East and Parkview Road. The accident was reported at 3:22 p.m.
Matthew Wallen, 21, of St. Paris, was driving the truck that struck the medic unit.
Jeremy Fetters, 23, of Plain City, was the ambulance driver. Also in the ambulance were Mark Stith, 23, of Marion, and Christopher Bopp, 51, also of Kenton.
Wallen, Fetters, Stith and Bopp were all taken to Miami Valley Hospital in two CareFlight helicopters. Their conditions were not available Wednesday night.
Lock died at the scene. She was removed by Champaign County Coroner Josh Richards.
OTHER LOCAL NEWS: CJ alerts parents to KKK-style hood brought to school
Mechanicsburg Fire Lt. Matt Bebout said the sheriff's office is continuing to investigate where the medic unit may have been going or coming from at the time of the accident. The sheriff's office also is looking into whether the medic unit's lights and sirens were activated.
The accident investigation is continuing, according to the sheriff’s office.
OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Driver sentenced to maximum term in fatal crash
A Pioneer Electric crew was on scene Wednesday evening to repair a utility pole the medic unit also struck in the collision.
Both roadways were shut down for a time because of the investigation.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 4:23 PM
After weeks of negotiations, Congress unveiled a $1.3 trillion funding measure for the federal government on Wednesday night, adding billions in new spending for both the Pentagon and domestic spending programs, adding in a pair of bills dealing with school safety and gun violence, but including no deals on some politically difficult issues like the future of illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”
The 2,232 pages of bill text were quietly posted by GOP leaders after yet another day of closed door negotiations, which included a trip down to the White House by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
“No bill of this size is perfect,” Ryan said in a written statement, as he touted the extra money in the plan for the U.S. military.
“But this legislation addresses important priorities and makes us stronger at home and abroad,” Ryan added.
Among the items included in the Omnibus funding bill:
+ The bipartisan “Fix NICS” bill, which would press states and federal agencies to funnel more information into the instant background check system for gun buyers.
+ The “STOP School Violence Act,” which would send grant money to local governments to help schools better recognize possible violent threats in schools and their communities.
+ A series of corrections to the recent tax cut law.
Even before the text of the bill was unveiled, a number of Republicans were not pleased, arguing the GOP has done little to merit the support of voters back home, saying it will mean more spending and a bigger government.
“That is not in any way close to what the election was about,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who argued the President should veto the bill.
Also causing some irritation was the fact that the bill was negotiated with little input from most lawmakers, and sprung on them just hours before the House and Senate were due to head out of town on a two week Easter break.
“There is not a single member of Congress who can physically read it, unless they are a speed reader,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).
One of the many provisions in the bill included a $174,000 payment to the estate of the late Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who died earlier this week.
Those type of payments are typical when a lawmaker dies while in office.
GOP leaders hope to vote on the Omnibus in the House on Thursday, as lawmakers are ready to go home for a two-week break for Easter.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 5:25 PM
— Facebook is under fire following this week’s revelation that data company Cambridge Analytica acquired data from millions of Facebook users without their knowledge. The news prompted a #DeleteFacebook social media campaign urging users to say goodbye to the platform once and for all.
But leaving Facebook isn’t that simple. Luckily, you don’t have to delete the platform altogether to ensure your data is safe.
Here are seven tips to lock down your privacy without leaving social media entirely:
Download your Facebook data to see exactly what they know about you.
If you’re concerned about the information you have out there, Facebook allows users to download a copy of their own data, including archived posts, messages and advertisements you’ve clicked on, according to Digital Trends.
How: General Account Settings --> Download a copy of your Facebook data --> Start My Archive.
Check the third-party apps connected to your account.
Under General Account Settings, click on the Apps page to see a list of apps you’ve connected to your Facebook account. If you see an app you’re wary of, hover over it and delete it immediately.
Opt out of Facebook API sharing altogether.
On the same page as the Apps, scroll down until you see Apps, Websites and Plugins. Hit Edit to Disable Platform. This will sign you out of all websites, apps and other services connected to your Facebook account.
Log out of Facebook when you’re not using it.
It’s a simple rule, but how often do you actually log out? According to Tom’s Guide, if you leave your Facebook logged in on your computer, it can still track your movements and share your information with advertisers and other parties.
Adjust your ad settings or delete interests to prevent ad targeting.
Under General Account Settings, scroll down to the Ads page and click on Your Interests. On this page, Facebook uses the selection of interests across a variety of categories, including entertainment, news, hobbies and more to determine what ads you’ll see. You can hover over a selection to delete an interest, or, you can scroll down to Ad Settings.
Under Ad Settings, you have the option of adjusting:
- Ads based on your use of websites and apps (Can you see online interest-based ads from Facebook?)
- Ads on apps and websites off of the Facebook Companies (Can your Facebook ad preferences be used to show you ads on devices such as computers, mobile devices and connected TVs?)
- Ads with your social actions (Who can see your social actions paired with ads?)
Limit who can see your posts, friends list and more under privacy settings.
Under General Account Settings, click Privacy. There, you can limit who sees your future posts, your friends list or who can look you up using the email used on Facebook. You can also click on Timeline and Tagging Settings to adjust preferences for who can post on your timeline, see what posts are on your timeline and more.
Turn off location services.
Turn off location data to limit Facebook’s access and ensure your own physical safety. You can do so by going to General Account Settings --> Location. Check your location services preferences on your smartphone as well.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 8:12 PM
ATLANTA — A fired Atlanta Hawks employee is suing the organization, alleging it discriminated against white employees and terminated her when she complained.
In a lawsuit filed Friday, Margo Kline says Hawks external affairs director David Lee, who is black, promoted a culture of discrimination against white people, especially white women. Kline, who is white, worked in the NBA team’s corporate social responsibility department as a community development coordinator for five years.
Kline alleges that Lee was dismissive and exclusionary toward white employees and would often make jokes about “white culture,” hiring and promoting black employees — who Kline said were less qualified — over white people, according to the lawsuit.
Kline said the organization ignored her complaints and instead unfairly scrutinized her work and impeded her ability to do her job, often gossiping and ridiculing her. The lawsuit also alleges white coworkers were told not to speak with Kline or they could lose their job.
The Hawks fired Kline in March 2017, three weeks after a final written warning regarding her conduct and performance, according to the lawsuit. Kline, who said she had never been written up before, claims she repeatedly asked for ways she could improve but was ignored.
Kline filed an employment discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who gave her a notice of her right to sue in December.
She is asking for punitive damages and a trial jury.