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The U.S. government issued an urgent plea to more than 4.7 million people to get the air bags in their cars fixed, amid concern that a defect in the devices can possibly kill or injure the driver or passengers.
The inflator mechanisms in the air bags can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are deployed in crashes. Safety advocates say at least four people have died from the problem and there have been multiple injuries.
Multiple automakers have recalled vehicles in the U.S. over the past two years to repair air bag inflators made by Takata Corp., a Tokyo-based supplier of seat belts, air bags, steering wheels and other auto parts. In a statement Monday, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration warned owners of those cars to act right away.
The agency has been investigating the problem since June, and has cited reports of six inflators rupturing, causing three injuries.
Worldwide, automakers have recalled about 12 million vehicles because of the problem.
The warning covers cars made by Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, General Motors and Ford. Passenger or driver air bags or both could have the faulty inflators. Safety advocates say the problem could affect more than 20 million vehicles in the U.S.
The rare action by federal regulators comes three weeks after a Sept. 29 crash near Orlando, Florida, that claimed the life of a 46-year-old woman. In that crash, Hien Thi Tran suffered severe neck wounds that could have been caused by metal fragments flying out of the air bag on her 2001 Honda Accord. Her Accord was among the models being recalled.
One police agency concluded that the air bags caused her wounds, while another is still investigating. NHTSA is seeking information in the case.
Toyota on Monday issued a recall covering passenger air bags in 247,000 older model vehicles including the Lexus SC, Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia and Tundra. Like many earlier recalls, Toyota's covers vehicles in South Florida, along the Gulf Coast, in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa — all areas that have high absolute humidity.
Toyota said it's working with Takata to pinpoint the cause of the rupture and to gauge the influence of high absolute humidity, which is a measurement of water vapor in the air.
Toyota could expand the recall to more areas pending further testing, according to spokesman John Hanson. Toyota says it knows of no crashes or injuries in the recalled cars.
NHTSA urged people to check if their car has been recalled.
Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, estimated there are 20 million to 25 million cars in the U.S. alone that are equipped with the faulty air bags.
In the Florida case, Tran turned left in front of another vehicle and the front ends collided. Her air bag inflated. The original report on the death said the seat belt could not have cut the right side of her neck. Also, there was no broken glass and no other apparent cause of the neck wounds.
Initially the case was turned over to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, whose homicide investigators determined that the air bag caused Tran's neck injuries, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Because the death appears to be traffic-related, the matter was sent back to the Florida Highway Patrol, which has not finished its investigation.
The Highway Patrol will call in an air bag expert to help make the determination, said Sgt. Kim Montes. The car's steering wheel and spokes were not damaged and appeared to be a normal air bag deployment, she said. Investigators also will look for evidence of metal fragments in the car and try to determine what caused Tran's neck wounds, Montes said.
Last week, two U.S. senators questioned why the safety agency is limiting the recall to certain regions.
They cited the May 27, 2009, death of 18-year-old Ashley Parham of Oklahoma City as proof the problem can occur in areas where humidity isn't so prevalent. Parham was driving a 2001 Honda Accord across a high school parking lot in Midwest City, Oklahoma, when it hit another car. The air bag inflated and sent shards of metal into her neck, causing her death.
Takata said Monday it supports Toyota's recall decision and will continue to support NHTSA and its customers with replacement parts and technical analysis.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:58:51 -0700
This weekend the eyes of world will be on San Francisco as the Giants host two - possibly three games of the World Series.
"The first Giants home game on StubHub the get in price is around $500," said Cameron Papp of StubHub.
But that price is just for standing room only. If you want to sit down get ready to pay a lot more. "From $500 to around $10,000 and those are for luxury suite tickets lower box tickets," said Papp. Thankfully the fees are included in the price.
But with big games, comes scams. StubHub says it's aware of this and the company has a partnership with Major League Baseball.
So if you buy your ticket with StubHub, Papp says it is the real deal. "A seller couldn't potentially take a ticket and put it on StubHub and print it out and sell it somewhere else. Because once it’s sold on StubHub that barcode is then canceled," says Papp.
Meanwhile, hotels in the area are getting booked up with Giants fans. "Friday morning the phones were off the hook. The reservation department kept getting bombarded with phone calls," said Tina Keramari of San Francisco's Chancellor Hotel.
A quick look online showed hotel prices upwards of $300 per night this weekend. KTVU also checked out AirBNB prices that ranged from $60 to more than $4,000 a night.
If you want to be adventurous you can get a tent and camping gear for $65 a night. If that's not your style, on the opposite end you can get a house that sleeps 40 for $4,332 a night.
Either way you go, it's best to act on your sleeping arrangements fast.
"Always call ahead of time. I would never wait for the day of to see what's going on." said Keramari.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:15:26 -0700
With all the credit card hacking at major retailers and banks, Apple launched its new Apple Pay system at an opportune time.
Some may, or may not, want to use it. If you have the new iPhone 6, Apple Pay is simplicity itself at 220,000 store and online retailers from Walgreens to Walt Disney World. "An entirely new way to pay for things in stores and in apps," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO.
To use Apple Pay you place your phone near the terminal and hold your finger on the button for print identification and you're done. It bills one of as many as eight cards you scan into the phone. The store or restaurant gets only a payment code, never your card number, security number, pin number, address or other ID theft information.
"I'm very interested in using it because I think it's gonna give me more security with my credit cards," said Greg an iPhone user who didn't want to give his last name.
If your iPhone is lost or stolen there's no security worry because none of the critical financial information is stored on the phone anyway.
But, technology analyst Larry Magid says in the cat and mouse game of cyber security, Apple Pay is not guaranteed as bulletproof. "All financial transactions are vulnerable.
“If you use cash, you can have it stolen, if you use a credit card we know that there are many cases where it's been hacked and, of course, it is possible to hack technology like Apple Pay," says Larry Magid, cnet.com Tech Analyst.
In an odd sort of way, Google is probably hoping that Apple Pay works because its own application, Google Wallet, has not been all that successful and since they both use the same technology, if this succeeds, they may too.
“By publicizing it and getting people excited about it, there are gonna be folks that have Android phones that are gonna want to try Google wallet so they can be on a par with their Apple brethren," says tech analyst Magid.
The Apple Pay app became available Monday only for the iPhone 6 and millions have already downloaded it.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:51:27 -0700 News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories