'Messages From Mom' on freeway signs aim to curb distracted driving

Published: Sunday, April 09, 2017 @ 1:36 AM

Drivers, beware: Mom's watching.

According to KTVL, Oregon's freeway signs are lighting up with mom-inspired advice under a state Department of Transportation campaign to put the brakes on distracted driving.

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The project, dubbed "Messages From Mom," includes missives such as, "Drop the phone because I said so, that's why" and "Put the phone away, I'm going to count to 3."

Drivers traveling on Interstate 5 in the southern part of the state will see the messages through the end of the month.

Read more here.

>> Click here to watch the news report from KTVL


Plane carrying 4 disappears over Bermuda Triangle; debris found

Published: Thursday, May 18, 2017 @ 1:50 AM

Bermuda Triangle (stock photo).
Lightguard/Getty Images

Members of the Coast Guard have located debris they believe belongs to a plane that was carrying a New Hampshire man and three others, including two children.

>> Watch the news report here

Nathan Ulrich from Lee, New Hampshire, was listed as the pilot for the plane, which was flying from Puerto Rico to Titusville, Florida, on Monday morning when it disappeared.

A businesswoman from New York, Jennifer Blumin, and her two young sons were passengers on the plane. Blumin was listed as the owner of the plane.

Ulrich is an engineer and the co-founder of a company that makes adult scooters. His ex-wife, actor Rae Dawn Chong, tweeted about what was happening Tuesday.

Ulrich's father, Gael, issued the following statement to WFXT:

"We were devastated and shocked to learn that Nathan, Jennifer and her children have been missing since leaving from Puerto Rico on Monday. Nathan is our beloved son, brother and uncle and we wish for resolution as the Coast Guard search continues. Our prayers and thoughts are with the Blumin family and James Ramsey in this difficult time.

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"We appreciate the respect for our privacy as we deal with the situation together with our family and prefer no further press contact. We appreciate the kind wishes and thoughts of those who have reached out to us."

The Coast Guard said it believes the debris is from the missing plane flown by Ulrich.

"Some of the helicopters that found the debris field yesterday, they were able to recover some components from the debris that we sent to the aircraft mechanic who confirmed they are from the same type of airplane as the missing airplane," Eric Woodall from the USCG said.


Family kicked off Delta flight over seating snafu

Published: Thursday, May 04, 2017 @ 12:20 PM
Updated: Friday, May 05, 2017 @ 11:02 AM

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A Southern California family was kicked off a Delta flight over a dispute about a child's seat.

The Schears were attempting to travel from Maui to Los Angeles on April 23. They boarded the late-night flight with a 1-year-old child and a 2-year-old child. The couple booked their 18-year-old son on an earlier flight so that their 2-year-old son, Grayson, could be placed in his car seat in that paid seat, according to KABC.

However, the ticket still bore the name of their teenage son, Mason. Delta forbids name changes on tickets, and it’s unclear if the Schears informed Delta about the situation before boarding. When the flight attendant told the Schears that they would have to give up that seat, because Mason was a no-show, a lengthy verbal dispute ensued. Brian Schear remained adamant that he paid for the seat, regardless of who it was for. 

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The flight attendant told the Schears that if they did not abide by Delta's decision, it was a federal offense and that they could go to jail and their kids could be put in foster care.

Airport police can be seen standing by the Schears during the incident, which was captured on video.

>>Watch the video of the full encounter (warning: some profanity)

After further discussion with the flight crew, the flight attendant said that Grayson cannot be in a car seat at all during the flight, but must be held in a parent's arms the entire time, per FAA rules. However, this appears to contradict the FAA guidelines and Delta's own policy, which encourages parents to "purchase a seat on the aircraft and use an approved child safety seat." 

Brian Schear told the flight attendant that Grayson had been in his car seat for the flight to Maui, which was also on Delta, and there had been no issue. He also asked the flight attendant why wasn't his family stopped at the gate, since they had two car seats and two children with them when they boarded.

The flight attendant told the Schears that the plane would not take off until they gave up the seat. After Brian Schear offered to hold Grayson on his lap for the entire flight, a crew member told the family that they were all being removed from the flight or the entire aircraft would be deplaned. 

When Brian Schear asked what he's supposed to do with two young children at midnight, with no hotel booked and no more flights until morning, the flight attendant told him, "At this point, you guys are on your own."

The Schears left the flight, secured a hotel and paid for airfare home on United, which cost $2,000, according to KABC. He said that four standby passengers were placed in their seats as they left the flight, but in a statement from Delta to KABC, the airline claimed the flight was not overbooked. The airline said it was "sorry for what this family experienced" and told Reuters that it had contacted the Schears to refund the family’s travel expenses and provide additional compensation.

Uber reveals list of weirdest things left in cars, most forgetful cities

Published: Thursday, March 30, 2017 @ 5:44 PM

The Uber app on a driver's phone that connects him with people seeking rides. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)
Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post

People Uber everywhere and often leave things behind, so the ride-share company decided to launch the The Uber Lost & Found Index on Wednesday. 

It details everything from the most common items lost to the most unique ones. It even cites the most forgetful cities and, yes, Florida made the list. 

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The most common left-behind objects are phones, glasses, wallets and sunglasses, but there were also some bizarre items left behind.

>> Man sues Uber for $45M after app's glitch leads to divorce

Uber said people forgot a lobster, a smoke machine, a bulletproof vest, an elf cut-out, a Taser, a vacuum, a grill set and 42 other bizarre objects. 

The company also ranked the most forgetful cities in North America. At the top of the list is Los Angeles, followed by New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston, Toronto and, rounding out the top 10, Dallas.

For reference, it created a video to give users a how-to guide to retrieve items lost in an Uber:

Surge of aging drivers poses new challenge on the road

Published: Friday, November 04, 2016 @ 1:02 PM
Updated: Friday, November 04, 2016 @ 1:02 PM

            (Cox Media Group Washington News Bureau)

Encouraging older loved ones to give up their car keys can be one of the most difficult discussions for families.

With aging baby boomers, data show that those conversations will be happening more frequently in the coming years. By the year 2030, more than 50 million eligible drivers will be over 65.

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The nation's aging driving population brought together the government's top auto-safety experts Thursday in Washington for a meeting by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Advocates and government officials were looking to find the best ways to educate people on the challenges that older drivers face, including understanding if their keys need to be taken away.

"It's a very difficult decision, and a lot of people don't want to make that decision," said Harris Blackwood, of the Georgia governor's Office of Highway Safety. "We want to make sure that those on the road are safe, have cognizant abilities and are not endangering themselves or others."

Blackwood said many states face difficulties in expanding transportation options for non-drivers outside urban areas.

"The big concern is making sure they have an alternative form of transportation, and in Georgia, unfortunately, we don't have (many) intrastate transportation alternatives," Blackwood said. "It's not a Georgia problem, it's an everywhere problem."

Auto group AAA says older drivers are among the safest on the roads. Data shows that they wear seat belts and usually do not speed, but they remain second only to teenagers in the number of fatal crashes each years.

Jonathan Adkins at the governor's Highway Safety Association said intersection crashes are a major issue for older drivers. He said the solution could be found in embracing new technology, including ride-sharing options like Uber and Lyft, or eventually autonomous driving vehicles.

"Driving is freedom, especially for generations in the past," Adkins said. "Technology can provide a lot of the solutions and help us get around and do it safely."

The meeting of auto safety experts was held at the Department of Transportation as part of a discussion on the future of transportation.