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Now that the LAPD is downsizing, do you need a dashcam yourself?

As part of an effort to address budget challenges, the Los Angeles Police Department is downsizing. According to reports, this is part of a "broad reorganization aimed at preserving patrol and community engagement functions."

What may not be preserved is the LAPD's traditional role in responding to traffic crashes. Under the reorganization plan, people who suffer minor injuries in crashes, including hit-and-runs, should file an online police report.

Drowsy driving is all too common among truckers

When people don't get enough sleep, it can negatively affect their ability to drive. Unfortunately, some of the people who drive the most -- commercial truckers -- are among the most prone to drowsy driving. The reason has to do with the rules they follow regarding rest and sleep time.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that some 100,000 crashes every year are caused by people who fell asleep while driving. That could translate to 1,500 deaths and 40,000 injuries. Truckers aren't responsible for all those wrecks, but there is reason to believe that they are more likely than the average driver to be sleep-deprived.

Chevy and Buick sedans, GM SUVs recalled for serious safety issue

It can be hard to keep track of all the safety recalls involving vehicles these days. Yet every safety recall is extremely important, as many involve issues that could cause a crash. In a very real way, safety recalls can be a matter of life and death.

Recently, Chevrolet and Buick recalled some sedans and GM recalled some SUVs because of a risk of fire and power loss. This is due to a faulty part that allows an oil leak. Luckily, there have not yet been any reports of crashes or injuries.

What can be done about drug-impaired drivers?

The United States is in the midst of two sociological issues that have made drugged driving more common. First is the decriminalization of marijuana in the majority of states. Second is the opioid crisis. What are governments doing to control the problem?

First of all, it's crucial to consider personal responsibility. While smoking marijuana may no longer be illegal in many states, driving while high is illegal in California and every other state. Likewise, while it make not be a person's individual responsibility when they become addicted to opioids, that does not relieve them of the responsibility to avoid driving while they are impaired.

What strategies are governments using to fight distracted driving?

If you have been hit by a distracted driver, you may be extremely frustrated. By now, everyone should know that texting, cell phone use and other activities while driving are very dangerous.

Activities are distracting when they do one of three main things:

  • Take your eyes off the road
  • Take your hands off the wheel
  • Take your mind off of driving

Tesla ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ still not safely autonomous

Tesla has had its Autopilot system in place for several years. Unfortunately, it is not an “autopilot,” per se. According to Tesla’s own manuals, drivers should never take their attention from the road, even when using the Autopilot. While the Autopilot can handle many driving situations, a fully attentive driver must have their hands on the wheel and be prepared to take over at any moment.

We discussed Tesla’s Autopilot, GM’s Super Cruise, and several other semi-automated driving systems in July. We warned that drivers should not assume these systems can be used hands-free. We have not reached full automation.

'Falling back' could increase car accident rates

Driving when you're feeling "a little off" can be dangerous. People still do it, though.

Sometimes, it is harder to avoid than other times. For example, when we "spring forward" for daylight savings time and "fall back" for the return to standard time, it can affect everything from our appetite to our driving ability.

Riding e-scooters on the sidewalk? That could be risky

Where is the best place to ride an electronic scooter? The sidewalk or the roadway?

The first thing you should check before renting an e-scooter is the local rule on where to ride. It may be illegal to ride these on the sidewalk in some cities, while in others it may be the expectation.

Every safety recall is important. Have you had yours repaired?

Last year, there were 966 safety recalls involving automobiles or their parts in the U.S. Those recalls affected over 53 million vehicles and equipment items. Yet "recall fatigue" and other issues sometimes prevent car owners from getting the necessary repairs or replacements, even though they're free.

Have you gotten to all your safety recalls? Perhaps you received notice of one of these major recalls:

  • Takata air bags -- This was the largest recall in U.S. history, with tens of millions of air bags recalled from a wide variety of vehicles. The air bags can sometimes explode when deployed, sending shrapnel through the passenger compartment. You should get a free replacement air bag installed.
  • Harbor Freight jack stands -- Over 1.7 million jack stands were recalled because they could collapse, injuring those around or beneath a vehicle.
  • Denso fuel pumps -- Over 2.1 million fuel pumps were recalled because they can fail, resulting in a stalled engine which could cause a crash.

NHTSA introduces new crash test dummy: A 3-year-old

When you tuck your child into a car safety seat, you expect it to provide significant protection in a crash. Unfortunately, in the past, the tests for how crashes would affect small children were of limited value because the crash test dummy was too large.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently introduced a new crash test dummy in an effort to address the problem. The dummy, which represents a 3-year-old child, was specifically designed for the testing of child car seats in side-impact crashes.

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