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Safety

The Takeaway

Questions Surround BP's Safety Record

Friday, June 04, 2010

The BP oil leak on the Deepwater Horizon has passed the six-week mark and continues to gush oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  Many are now asking how the company continually received permission to drill with 760 safety violations.

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Transportation Nation

The Secretary's Cause Knows No Bounds

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

(United Nations - Collin Campbell, Transportation Nation) - Distracted driving is a top priority at the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Which isn't saying much some days.  Secretary Ray LaHood talks about it a lot.  The department is funding researching into how cops can write more tickets for talking and texting while driving.  LaHood often appears in public with people from Focus Driven, a non-profit that he helped create to raise awareness.

But the secretary's push faces a world moving the other way.  Cell phones have maps and GPS, automakers do things like put Twitter in the dashboard, and minivans are becoming wireless hot spots.  According to LaHood, the world now has 4.6 billion cell phone subscriptions and 600 million cars.  The math adds up to drivers who must resist many distractions.  And, even in the U.S., most cities, states and cops have yet to pass or enforce laws and regulations to back new behavior.

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The Takeaway

Is Raw Milk Safe?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Over the past three years, the popularity of unpasteurized milk – or raw milk, as it’s sometimes called – has grown across the country. Advocates say heat-treating milk destroys enzymes and nutrients, while detractors say it's necessary to keep people from getting sick. Battles over how milk is sold and regulated have exploded. 

Ten states, including Maine, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, have made it legal to sell unpasteurized milk in stores. Meanwhile, other states are fighting to make it easier to purchase. In Wisconsin, Governor Jim Doyle indicated last month that he’ll sign a bill – already passed by the senate and assembly - legalizing and regulating the sale of raw milk between farmers and consumers. In Massachusetts, raw milk supporters this week protested the fact that they ONLY have this right. They’d like to be able to buy milk from more places than the state’s 27 regulated farms. And in many states like New Jersey, raw milk supporters secretly run unpasteurized milk across state lines.

If you’re not part of the milk wars, you might be wondering: Why are people fighting so hard to drink milk that’s not pasteurized? And is it safe?

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Transportation Nation

New York’s Subway Tunnels: Not Ready for the Briefcase Bomb?

Friday, April 23, 2010

(New York - Matthew Schuerman, WNYC) -- In the wake of a well-publicized double-stabbing in a Greenwich Village subway station last month, many hands were wrung about the woeful lack of security cameras in subways.

Turns out that New York's attempts to install security devices in subways have been fraught with questions from the beginning.

In the weeks after the London Underground bombing five years ago, New York City officials repeatedly hammered the region’s transit agency for being unprepared for a similar terrorist attack. Six weeks alter, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority responded with a massive $215 million dollar contract to Lockheed Martin.

But almost immediately, watchdogs and oversight officials began to wonder aloud whether Lockheed could deliver on a high-profile promise: installing cameras that could detect unattended bags on subway platforms.

Fast forward to 2010: Large portions of the contract have failed to deliver what was promised. MTA and Lockheed are fighting in court. And the zooming technology? Didn’t work, because it didn’t take into account the hundreds of people who would be passing in front of, behind, and next to that briefcase.

WNYC's Matthew Schuerman traces the history of the contract, from its original promise until today.

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WQXR News

Oil Rig Explosion Off the Coast of Louisiana

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An explosion and fire at an oil drilling platform last night off the coast of Louisiana has left at least 11 and as many as 15 people missing. The rig was about 52 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana.

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Transportation Nation

Shannon Trice Will Stop You, Distracted Drivers

Thursday, April 08, 2010

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(Syracuse, NY - Transportation Nation) On the window sill next to Captain Shannon Trice's desk, there's a toy cop car. Instead of the badge of the Syracuse Police Department, where he's worked for the last 20 years, it has the logo of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Trice is a traffic nerd.  He's worked on a bunch of federal-state-local programs, reads the studies.  The toy car is one of a few awards he's won for traffic safety programs.  He's a modest man, but you can almost get him to brag about how many tickets he's written as part of New York State's "Click It or Ticket" program -- something he does for an hour now and then just to get out of the office.  He has served long enough to see the difference his work has made.

But Trice and the Syracuse PD are now taking on a new challenge.

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The Takeaway

Considering Mine Safety After W. Va. Blast

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Monday night's explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia, left 25 confirmed dead and four more miners missing underground. Rescue operations were stalled yesterday because conditions were deemed too dangerous. The mine is owned by Massey Energy Company, which was immediately criticized for allowing egregious and numerous safety violations. Massey's CEO, Don Blankenship, responded in an interview with the Metronews radio network in West Virginia, saying, “violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process. There are violations at every coal mine in America.”

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The Takeaway

Transportation Sec. Levies Heavy Fine on Toyota Corp.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

In a statement released yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he intends to levy a $16.4 million fine, the largest allowed by law, against embattled, multinational Toyota Motor Company.  

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Transportation Nation

The Phantom Token Booth: Life Without New York's Station Agents

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An MTA station agent helps a subway rider read the service map.  (Photo: Stephen Nessen)

(New York - WNYC)  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority here is letting go of 450 station agents this spring because of its budget crisis. There are many New Yorkers who wonder what these people were supposed to be doing anyway, considering that they stopped selling tokens years ago and ticket vending machines were installed instead.

An unstaffed booth, like many more to come.  (Photo: Stephen Nessen)

An unstaffed booth, like many more to come. (Photo: Stephen Nessen)

But they are invaluable for parents who want to take their strollers through service gates, for tourists who need directions, and for subway riders who don’t want to use their credit cards in machines.

The people that station agents now serve are outliers who need a human touch in an increasingly mechanized transit system. But in a city of 8 million, it turns out there are a lot of outliers. They are slowly learning to adapt—but they aren’t happy about it. WNYC brings us a report from Matthew Schuerman and a photo essay from Stephen Nessen.

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WQXR News

Dozens of Toyota Cases May Become One

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Federal judges will consider bundling some 100 Class A lawsuits against Toyota into one case.

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WQXR News

Toyota to Announce Results of Prius Case

Monday, March 15, 2010

Toyota Motor Corporation is expected to announce preliminary findings of its investigation today into the sudden, high-speed acceleration of a Toyota Prius last week in San Diego, California.

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Transportation Nation

New Front for Distracted Driving: Drivers Shaving Bikini Line

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The definition of distracted driving is expanding under the Obama Administration -- they're fighting talking and texting while driving, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has asked for a ban on just about everything behind the wheel.  Here's the secretary recently reciting his list, which includes combing you hair, putting make-up on and yes, shaving:

meganbarnesOn Tuesday, March 2, Megan Mariah Barnes (right) helped LaHood's cause.  The 37-year old Florida woman crashed while "shaving her bikini area," according to the Key West Citizen. She was traveling 45 MPH -- within the speed limit -- but hit a car traveling about 5 MPH. The three people in the car Barnes hit were treated for minor injuries.

Even worse -- the day before the wreck, Barnes was convicted of DUI and driving with a suspended license., reports the Citizen. She faces a year in jail for Tuesday's collision.  So far, no word from Secretary LaHood on the incident. -- Collin Campbell

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WQXR News

Cuomo Strikes Deal with Toyota on Recall

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

As Congress investigates the faulty brake problem with some Toyota vehicles, the Japanese carmaker has pledged to help inconvenienced New Yorkers.

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The Takeaway

When is Expired Food Safe to Eat?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

As more of us are being forced to stretch our food dollars further, the question on some of our minds is: Can I eat that old can of soup in the back of the cupboard? Or more generally: Can I eat expired food?

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WQXR News

Akio Toyoda Says Toyota Has Grown Too Fast

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Toyota's CEO Akio Toyoda faced more than four hours of questioning today at a House committee investigating the recall of more than 6 million vehicles in the U.S. 

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WQXR News

Akio Toyoda Plans US Trip for Safety Hearing

Friday, February 19, 2010

The hearing is scheduled for next week. Earlier this week, Akio Toyoda had not planned to attend the hearing about his car company's safety.

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WQXR News

Toyota Considers Corolla Recall

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The carmaker hasn't figured out what's causing the problematic power-steering in Corollas yet.

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WQXR News

Honda Recalls 437,000 Cars

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The recall is due to air bags that can inflate with too much pressure, causing the inflator to rupture and injure or kill the driver.

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WQXR News

Toyota Recalls Hybrids in U.S. and Europe

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The recall is official: Toyota is recalling about 437,000 Prius and other hybrids worldwide for brake problems.

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WQXR News

5 Dead After Connecticut Plant Explosion

Monday, February 08, 2010

Officials say it's unclear whether everyone is accounted for in Sunday's fatal explosion.

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