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Monday, March 18, 2013

Insurance fraud alert

I found this article at MSN Autos. Aparently, some potentially suicidal people are hard up for gambling money in Nevada.
Certain idiots in Las Vegas have recently taken a page out of the Russian book of insurance fraud, preying on 18-wheelers to cause rear-end collisions.

There have been as many as 100 suspected staged accidents in the past 12 to 28 months, according to a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Twenty-five of those have involved the big tractor-trailers. Makes you scratch your head, huh?
While a big rig doesn’t sound like something anyone can necessarily “prey” upon, the trick is actually pretty simple: Pull in front of the truck quickly, and -- before it can create the space it needs to brake safely in case of an emergency -- jam on the brakes.
In addition to carrying loads of goods across the country, these big trucks also carry loads of insurance coverage. And we don’t need to explain why an 80,000-pound behemoth lacks the physical ability to stop as quickly as a sedan. After the criminals have been rear-ended, they claim injury and collect the cash – if Joe Trucker doesn’t decide to hop on down with a tire iron and “make things right” himself, that is.
However, these criminals have taken things a step further by filling the fraudulent cars with one of two kinds of passengers – the willing and the unknowing. In either case, the point is to create multiple claims and, thus, more money. Willing participants -- we’ll call them meth-heads for short -- receive a cut of the insurance money and have often been identified at more than one accident scene. The unknowing – well, they’re often immigrant workers who are picked up and told they’re being driven to a job site.
While the police are concerned about insurance fraud, they’re thinking what you’re thinking: Let’s not get anyone killed out there. Trooper Loy Hixson of the Nevada Highway Patrol said that many of the participants have no idea what they’re doing.
“In some cases, we are coming across the same people at different accident scenes," he said in a statement. "They use different cars and different names, but we collect every bit of information, and that’s a red flag that these are willing participants being paid to participate.
There’s huge potential for additional injuries here, including causing more accidents behind or in front of the truck. And what if the truck driver swerved or flipped? A line of stabbed brakes behind the tractor-trailer could be devastating.

But we digress. This stuff has been happening in Russia for some time, and the simplest solution, short of turning into a total badass, is to buy dash cams and keep them running at all times. If you’re the fleet insurer, or even the fleet owner, just make these little $100 digital insurance policies mandatory, and -- poof! – problem solved.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Blast from the past

I though that this would be an interesting view of the past and how much easier it is to work with things now. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Movie quotes

Insults and threats from some of the greatest movies.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The price of disrespect

I saw this and just had to post it here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

For those who truely support national security

This video makes me question whether these wars that we are involved in are really about national security at all, or is the real reason corporate profits? Do we have any real objectives? If there is no defineable objective, why are American lives and money being wasted in useless and pointless wars?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Drivers seem more aggressive

Is it me, or does it seem that over the years that the incorporation of systems like anti-lock braking and electronic skid control has made drivers more aggressive?

I read on Wikipedia in an article about anti-lock brakes where a study on risk compensation theory was done in Munich, Germany. In this particular case, half of the city cabs were equipped with antilock brakes and the others conventional brakes. The drivers of the ABS equipped cars were shown to drive faster, follower closer, and brake later than they would otherwise. The conclusion is that the drivers of the ABS equipped cars were becoming more reliant on the technology to keep them out of trouble.

I wonder what would drivers that have become dependent on these technologies would do when these systems fail, as they do from time to time. According to this piece,  all ESC manufacturers emphasize that the system is not a performance enhancement nor a replacement for safe driving practices, but rather a safety technology to assist the driver in recovering from dangerous situations. ESC does not increase traction, so it does not enable faster cornering (although it can facilitate better-controlled cornering). More generally, ESC works within inherent limits of the vehicle's handling and available traction between the tires and road. A reckless maneuver can still exceed these limits, resulting in loss of control. For example, in a severe hydroplaning scenario, the wheels that ESC would use to correct a skid may not even initially be in contact with the road, reducing its effectiveness.

Yet, in all the years that I have been driving, I have seen drivers who think that having these technologies such as front wheel drive will keep them out of trouble so they become more aggressive. The tendency has been for them to try to intimidate others with older vehicles into getting out of their way.

What got me thinking about this was a letter that was written to the Holland Sentinel last winter. The lady who wrote this letter complained about people tailgating her and trying to get her to go faster. Some of the comments written about her letter assumed that she was being tailgated for driving in the left lane of a four lane road, even though it was not specified that that was the case. However, there were some follow up letters written that I think were quite nice. The writers of these letters explained not everyone has the option of staying in in bad weather. Grocery shopping still needs to be done. Children still need to be taken places. And some people like myself still have to get to work.

Aggressive drivers just make things worse.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winter is here

Yes, as happens every year, Winter is almost here. Like death and taxes, it is unavoidable. I have already posted about the drivers who seem to forget how to drive in winter every year. What I would like to discuss are the inane questions that always seem to come up.

One question that I hear every year is will this ever end? To that I would like to answer that yes it will end. Winter begins and ends every year.

Another question is when will this end? To that I would like to answer that winter begins when it begins and ends when it ends. We live in Michigan. Like it or not, winter and driving in the snow is a fact of life.

You can add to this the people who seem to think that their cars that handle and brake so well in good weather can do the same when the weather is really sloppy and you have a recipe for disaster.