Lakeshore News, News Around the World

Office Email Takes Up a Chunk of Your Day

A survey of office workers finds they typically spend around two hours each day dealing with their inbox. However, around half of this time is wasted by accidentally re-reading messages, needlessly checking for updates and sending emails to colleagues when it is easier to speak to them face-to-face. As a result, around five hours per week — or a staggering 230 hours a year — of productivity is lost.

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AAA: Don’t Be Left Grounded Without a REAL ID

Adult Travelers will need a REAL ID or Passport for Domestic Flights by October 1, 2020

As consumers make travel plans for 2020, AAA is reminding them about another consideration: as of Oct. 1, 2020, they will likely need to present a different form of identification to board a domestic flight. Beginning in October 2020, the accepted forms of identification for boarding domestic flights or for entering most federal facilities will be a current passport, passport card, military ID, or REAL ID-compliant state driver’s license. The standard Illinois driver’s license is not REAL ID-compliant and cannot be used to board a commercial flight as of October 2020.

The Illinois Secretary of State, Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicle Services and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation are offering residents the option of either continuing to renew their standard driver’s license/ID card OR obtaining a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identity card. The REAL ID applicant must appear in person at their local DMV office and bring several DMV-accepted documents that verify their identity, U.S. legal residence or citizenship status, and current address. REAL ID-compliant identification is marked by a star on the top of the card. Travelers who are not sure if their ID is compliant should look for a star on their ID or check with their state driver’s license agency.

This new requirement stems from the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, which was passed as a Department of Homeland Security measure. It established new standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards to improve security by making them more tamper-proof.

“AAA is urging travelers to prepare for this upcoming change,” said Molly Hart, spokesperson for AAA.  “As the October 2020 deadline draws nearer, it may become more difficult for consumers to obtain their REAL ID, passport, or passport card in a timely manner.”

For those who plan to fly domestically and don’t have to renew their driver’s license before October 2020, AAA suggests they should get or renew a passport or passport card if they don’t already have a current one. Passport applications and renewal forms are available online and AAA branches offer passport photo services for both members and non-members.

Those who already have passports that were issued no earlier than 15 years ago can usually renew them by mail. However, first-time applicants, those who have lost their passports, or those with expired passports issued more than 15 years ago must apply in person with a completed application, documents and document copies verifying their identity and U.S. citizenship, and a passport-compliant photo.

Some other points to keep in mind:

  • A REAL ID is not required for children under the age of 18. The Transportation Security Administration does not require identification for minors boarding domestic flights (a passport is required for both minors and adults for international flights). However, airlines may have identification requirements for minors such as a certified copy of a birth certificate to verify their age in certain situations when the fare is free or discounted.
  • A passport is not a substitute for a driver’s license. You still need a valid driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle.
  • For more information about REAL ID visit the Illinois Secretary of State, Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, or Wisconsin Department of Transportation. For more information about passports, visit the U.S. State Department website.

 

Lakeshore News, News Around the World

AAA Warns Pedestrian Detection Systems Don’t Work When Needed Most

Study finds safety systems fail at night when the majority of pedestrian vehicle fatalities occur

New research from AAA reveals that automatic emergency braking systems with pedestrian detection perform inconsistently, and proved to be completely ineffective at night. An alarming result, considering 75% of pedestrian fatalities occur after dark. The systems were also challenged by real-world situations, like a vehicle turning right into the path of an adult. AAA’s testing found that in this simulated scenario, the systems did not react at all, colliding with the adult pedestrian target every time. For the safety of everyone on the road, AAA supports the continued development of pedestrian detection systems, specifically when it comes to improving functionality at night and in circumstances where drivers are most likely to encounter pedestrians.

On average, nearly 6,000 pedestrians lose their lives each year, accounting for 16% of all traffic deaths, a percentage that has steadily grown since 2010.

“Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise, proving how important the safety impact of these systems could be when further developed,” said Molly Hart, spokesperson for AAA. “But, our research found that current systems are far from perfect and still require an engaged driver behind the wheel.”

While time of day and location are contributing factors to pedestrian fatalities, vehicle speed also plays a major role. Previous research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that pedestrians are at greater risk for severe injury or death the faster a car is traveling at the time of impact. For example, a pedestrian hit by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph has an 18% risk of severe injury or death. Increase that by just 10 mph to 30 mph and the risk more than doubles to 47%. AAA’s latest study found that speed impacted system performance as well, with results varying between testing performed at 20 mph and 30 mph.

In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA evaluated the performance of four midsize sedans equipped with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection to determine the effectiveness of these systems. Testing was conducted on a closed course using simulated pedestrian targets for the following scenarios:

  • An adult crossing in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph and 30 mph during the day and at 25 mph at night.
  • A child darting out from between two parked cars in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph and 30 mph.
  • A vehicle turning right onto an adjacent road with an adult crossing at the same time.
  • Two adults standing along the side of the road with their backs to traffic, with a vehicle approaching at 20 mph and 30 mph.

Overall, the systems performed best in the instance of the adult crossing in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph during the day. In this case, the systems avoided a collision 40% of the time. But, at the higher speed of 30 mph, most systems failed to avoid a collision with the simulated pedestrian target. The other scenarios proved to be more challenging for the systems:

  • When encountering a child darting from between two cars, with the vehicle traveling at 20 mph, a collision occurred 89% of the time.
  • Immediately following a right hand turn, all of the test vehicles collided with the adult pedestrian.
  • When approaching two adults standing alongside the road, with the vehicle traveling at 20 mph, a collision occurred 80% of the time.
  • In general, the systems were ineffective in all scenarios where the vehicle was traveling at 30 mph.
  • At night, none of the systems detected or reacted to the adult pedestrian.

“The rise in pedestrian deaths is a major concern and automakers are on the right path with the intent of these systems,” continued Hart. “Our goal with this testing is to identify where the gaps exist to help educate consumers and share these findings with manufacturers to work to improve their functionality.”

New vehicle technology can alert drivers and assist in lessening the likelihood or severity of a crash – whether with another vehicle or even more importantly, a pedestrian. But, until these systems are proven to perform consistently – especially pedestrian detection systems – during the day and at night and in a range of situations, AAA recommends drivers always:

  • Be alert of their immediate surroundings. Do not rely on pedestrian detection systems to prevent a crash. This technology should only serve as a backup and not a replacement for an engaged driver.
  • Read the owner’s manual to understand what safety systems the vehicle is equipped with. Before leaving the lot, ask the dealer to explain how these systems work, including what safety system alerts sound and look like and what triggers their activation.
  • Use extra caution when driving at night since this is the riskiest time for pedestrians and where the systems struggled the most. Previous AAA research found that headlights, even in new condition, do not provide the amount of light needed for drivers to appropriately react to something or someone in the roadway.

It is a driver’s responsibility to yield to pedestrians, but those traveling by foot should be diligent as well. Pedestrians should use caution by staying on sidewalks and using crosswalks as often as possible. Always obey traffic signals, look both ways before crossing the street and do not walk and text.