Tesla has begun updating automatic-braking software in its vehicles produced within the past six months. Consumer Reports, however, had already reduced its ratings for the Model X and Model S over the lack of a functional sensor-based emergency-braking feature.
PCI's Robert Gordon said the number of fatal vehicular crashes has risen 14% since 2014, the highest rate of increase in decades, while pedestrian deaths are up 22% and severe accidents are up 12.2%. "It is not surprising that the percent of accidents involving phone distractions has increased, but we believe the real increase is far more than the official statistics," Gordon told a National Transportation Safety Board panel on Wednesday.
Drought and wildfires in parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Colorado have left farms and ranch land damaged, with the fires killing six people and more than 20,000 cattle and pigs, officials say. The wildfires' damage to fences is estimated to be about $55 million in the four states.
Business groups are encouraging the Florida Senate, which has less than two weeks left in its session, to OK a House-approved bill that would make changes to assignment of benefits. "Skyrocketing litigation costs are a major problem, and if we go another legislative session without a solution, this type of abuse will only get worse and insurance costs could continue to rise," said Logan McFaddin of PCI.
A Colorado Senate committee on Wednesday voted against a House-approved measure that would have created state-sponsored individual retirement accounts for employees of small companies. "We feel there is some strong competition that is going to be presented here, with government directly competing against private industry," Kevin Ross of NAIFA-Colorado said at a committee hearing this month.
Only 13% of money placed in individual retirement accounts each year comes from individual contributions, while the rest comes primarily from retirement-plan rollovers, according to a report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. In addition, just 14% of households make IRA contributions, and most of those are higher-income dual-earner households, the report says.
A California Senate panel on Wednesday voted in favor a bill that would establish government-sponsored health care coverage for everyone in the state. The measure, which faces tall odds against it, has generated opposition from health insurers, employers and business groups.
An amendment to Republican health care legislation proposes letting states seek waivers to opt out of the Affordable Care Act's community rating requirements, but they would have to have a high-risk pool available for consumers with pre-existing conditions, according to legislative text circulated by House Republicans. States could also seek waivers to opt out of essential health benefits requirements, and states applying for waivers would only need to meet one of numerous possible criteria, such as increasing choice of plans or reducing premiums.
Testing of drivers in deadly crashes in 2015 showed that 43% had used a drug, whether legal or illegal, and 37% were above the legal threshold for blood alcohol content, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. Marijuana use was detected in more than one-third of the drivers found to have used drugs, while testing found amphetamine use in 9%.
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