Should insurers dictate autonomous driving behavior?

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Who is responsible when an autonomous car crashes?

That’s a difficult question to answer. Is it the owner? The company who built the car or its autonomous hardware? The people who programmed the car to make decisions? It’s a complex issue, and one that gives legislators — and the general public — pause.

The MIT Technology Review presents a potential solution in its article titled, “One way to get self-driving cars on the road faster: let insurers control them.”

The article points to an autonomous vehicle trial by Oxbotica, an Oxford University spinoff. Oxbotica has partnered with insurer XL Catlin to gather and share data gathered by three autonomous Ford Fusions operating around Oxford. Oxford professor and Oxbotica cofounder Paul Newman says that providing the insurer with the data collected to adjust the cars’ behavior. “The autonomy system has insurance built into it that allows it to control risk over a fleet,” said Newman. With insurers — who are, by profession, experts at assessing risk — in charge, lawmakers might be more confident in allowing testing on public roads.

It’s an interesting idea, but not a bulletproof one. Read more from MIT Technology Review, and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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The Truth About Progressive Insurance.mp4

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A GBTV employee has a nightmarish experience with Progressive. The Blaze: GBTV’s Matt Fisher Describes Progressive Insurance Nightmare After Sister’s Death… Peter B. Lewis. Founder & CEO of Progressive insurance is a Socialists & close friend of George Soros. He is a major contributor to America Coming Together, & the ACLU. GBTV – MRC TV: The 4th Hr: Truth about Progressive insurance…

How to make choosing the safest car for your family easy

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It’s true that vehicles get a little bit safer, cumulatively, with every passing year. Each time a car, truck, SUV, or van is redesigned, the automaker can optimize it to ace the safety ratings and incorporate new features that car buyers value to help protect their families and others on the road, like pedestrians and bicyclists. But new cars are subject to more comprehensive safety testing than ever, and there’s a gradient of available safety out there.

There are two organizations that test vehicles for crashworthiness in the U.S.: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a government agency that’s part of the Department of Transportation; and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a nonprofit founded and funded by a group of car insurance companies. The way they test cars is not the same, so considering both agencies’ ratings is important.

Without getting into the nitty gritty, IIHS tests are a little tougher to pass because they incorporate “offset” crash tests. Imagine hitting a wall square on – the force is spread out over the entire front of the car, deforming the “crumple zone” to help absorb all that energy. Most car crashes aren’t in a lab, and few involve hitting a wall square on. So some IIHS tests involve a car crashing into an object with less of the front end of the vehicle involved – between 40 and 25 percent, meaning there’s a lot less ability to absorb the impact energy.

To get the highest IIHS rating, headlight performance is also considered. Good headlights won’t keep you from getting hurt in a crash, but they might prevent the crash in the first place. NHTSA does not consider headlight performance.

That doesn’t make NHTSA ratings irrelevant, or IIHS ratings better. They’re simply different, revealing different things about the car. The safest car is one that performs well on all the tests. Getting top ratings from both, which would be 5 stars from NHTSA and a “Top Safety Pick” rating from IIHS, is a pretty good indication that the vehicle is going to be safe in a wide variety of crashes.

You could visit NHTSA and IIHS and start making a spreadsheet of all the safety ratings of the cars you’re interested in to figure all this out, or you could do something much easier: Visit Autoblog’s Car Finder tool and explore the “Top Safety Rating” filter. First of all, using that filter eliminates any vehicle that doesn’t get top safety ratings across the board from both crash test outfits.

You can apply a few further subfilters to check for specific safety features, like Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Monitoring. And don’t forget you can stack filters from other categories as well, like “Hauling Capacity”, or general category filters like price, size, style, and transmission type.

We did this because we know you have better things to do that pour through ratings and make lists … but that’s exactly what we like to do, so there you go. Synergy!

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Florida Auto Insurance – Car Insurance Quotes Florida

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7 Most Stunning Holiday Light Displays Across the Country

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With Thanksgiving in the rear view and December coming up FAST, now’s the perfect time to get into the holiday spirit! And what better way to do so than checking out some breathtaking light exhibitions? Here are some of the most dazzling displays of decorations across the United States.

Menorah Lighting in San Francisco, CA
Dec 2 – 9

The City by the Bay (and home to our headquarters!) was the first in the U.S. to create a public menorah lighting and celebration in 1975. Although now more than 500 cities around the world have followed suit, the Bill Graham Menorah Lighting remains the “Mama Menorah” festivity of them all. Check out the giant menorah in Union Square each night of Hanukkah. The first lighting will feature food, live music, and kids craft activities along with the ceremonial lighting.

Sweet Lights in Hershey, PA
Now – Jan. 1

Spend some time this December at the “Sweetest Place on Earth”: Hersheypark in Hershey, PA. Be dazzled by the 4 million lights illuminating the park this season, have breakfast with Santa, or take in Hershey Sweet Lights, a 2-mile drive with more than 600 lit-up, animated displays. (Bonus: you don’t even have to leave the comfort of the warm, cozy car!)

ZooLights in Washington, DC
Now – Jan. 1

Holiday decorations at zoos are common all over the country, but our nation’s capital takes the tradition to another level. The ZooLights at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are a spectacle for adults and children alike. With more than 500,000 lights (they’re even environmentally-friendly LEDs!), 2 laser shows, and a reindeer games fun zone, this special event is not to be missed. Best of all, it’s free to visitors.

Christmas Around the World in Chicago, IL
Now – Jan. 6

For a unique cultural holiday event, explore the annual Christmas Around the World exhibit at the Windy City’s Museum of Science and Industry. The museum’s tradition of putting up a Christmas tree began in 1942 and has now evolved into decorating more than 50 trees to represent holiday customs from around the globe.

Honolulu City Lights in Honolulu, HI
Dec. 1 – Jan 1 

It may not be a white Christmas, but it’s hard to go wrong any day with blue skies, palm trees, and beautiful beaches. Change up the holiday routine this year and check out Honolulu City Lights. Opening night events include multiple tree lightings, an electric light parade, live music, and more. Don’t forget to commemorate your visit with an ornament tribute to King Kamehameha — dressed as a ukulele-playing Santa, of course!

Christmas Town and Glittering Lights in Las Vegas, NV
Now – Jan 6 

Expect nothing but over-the-top from a city that lights up all year round. Las Vegas sparkles through December, with almost every casino offering a special holiday display. Cowabunga Bay Water Park transforms into Las Vegas Christmas Town, where visitors can take a ride on the Polar Express and even play Yuletide laser tag. Don’t forget to visit Glittering Lights, a stunning drive-through display at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Winterfest of Lights in Ocean City, MD 
Now – Dec 31

Ocean City, Maryland may be known as a beach destination, but this festive summer hotspot will be lit up this holiday season. The town will be celebrating the Winterfest of Lights all December long with events such as a Jingle Bell 5K, a holiday artisan fair, the Winterfest Express train, capping the month of fun with a New Year’s Eve fireworks show.

Travel hacks | Destinations

about Hannah

Hannah Fairbanks is a freelance writer living in San Francisco with her husband and 2 daughters. When she’s not writing, you might find her reading, packing bento box lunches for her kids, and making sure she gets in at least 10,000 Fitbit steps a day.

U.S. auto tariffs could raise insurance rates, drive up auto thefts

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WASHINGTON — A threat by the U.S. government to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported auto parts could hit consumers in unexpected ways: higher repair costs, insurance premiums and even the theft of more cars for their parts, the industry said.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has launched an investigation into whether auto imports pose a national security threat and threatened to slap the tariffs on cars from the European Union and elsewhere.

A coalition of auto insurance groups said in previously unreported comments that hiking tariffs on imported auto parts by 25 percent could increase costs by 2.7 percent, or $3.4 billion annually, for personal auto insurance premiums.

The U.S. Commerce Department is holding its one-day hearing about the matter on Thursday.

Consumers will bear virtually all the higher repair costs, said the American Insurance Association, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and Property Casualty Insurers Association of America in comments jointly submitted to the Commerce Department.

“The imposition of tariffs could likely lead to the filing of hundreds, if not thousands, of requests for rate increases by insurers with insurance regulators across all 50 states,” the groups said.

Insurers said they might not be able to quickly get replacement parts for policyholders, “resulting in delays and increased costs.”

“Motor vehicle theft rates could well rise, as many stolen vehicles are sold for their parts,” the groups added.

A Commerce Department spokesman did not comment Wednesday on the industry statements, but said the agency would send a report to the White House after “collecting all the facts, and completing a careful analysis.”

“While we aim to complete the investigation and report to the President within a couple months, no proposal for action has yet been made,” the department said.

In separate comments to the Commerce Department, the Auto Care Association, which represents 150,000 manufacturers, distributors and sellers of motor vehicle parts and related goods, that its economic study estimated that the cost of car ownership would increase by more than $700 per year per household should the tariffs be imposed.

Top executives of Michelin North America, Cooper Tire & Rubber, Sumitomo Rubber Industries said in a joint letter to the Commerce Department that rising costs for auto parts makes consumers “wait longer before making a new car purchase or maintaining the safety of their vehicle.”

“We are concerned that consumers waiting longer to replace their tires will result in increased traffic accidents and fatalities,” they said.

Kristin Dziczek, an economist at the Center for Automotive Research, said the tariffs will boost maintenance costs, since many parts regularly used for vehicles largely made overseas like air filters and water pumps.

“The costs of maintaining a car is going to go up as is fixing or insuring it,” Dziczek said. “But those costs are not going to go up as much as buying a new car” with added tariff costs.

Separately, a coalition of seven auto industry trade groups representing nearly every major automaker, auto dealers and parts companies said in a letter to Trump on Tuesday that the tariffs will be a “massive tax” on consumers, leading to “increasing vehicle service and repair costs that may result in consumers delaying critical vehicle maintenance.”

Reporting by David Shepardson

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