About Safety of Self-Driving Cars

Google recently announced their self-driving cars have been in 11 crashes ever? Like… ever. But, I’ve never been in a car accident so does that make me better than them? Last time, the Associated Press reported Google’s self-driving cars were involved in 11 minor crashes in six years. Is that a lot? Not according to … Continue reading “About Safety of Self-Driving Cars”

Google recently announced their self-driving cars have been in 11 crashes ever? Like… ever. But, I’ve never been in a car accident so does that make me better than them? Last time, the Associated Press reported Google’s self-driving cars were involved in 11 minor crashes in six years. Is that a lot?

Not according to Google. They count it as a win that their cars have driven 1 million automated miles of testing in the six years they’ve been at it, and have only had these few fender benders. By comparison, the human population crashes about 0.3 times for every 100,000 miles, (161,000 km) per driver according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Wait a second… So really, Google’s stats aren’t that much better at 0.6 per 100,000! So why are they spending so much money to develop a self-driving car that doesn’t seem safer? Because many non-fatal crashes go unreported, so it’s very likely that point three crashes per 100,000 miles isn’t even accurate. On top of that, 94 percent of all crashes ever are caused by human failure. We are the absolute worst at driving. Cell phone bans don’t reduce crashes, drunk driving prohibitions, speed limits, and the like don’t stop drivers crashing; instead fatalities are still in the tens of thousands every year.

In fact, for example according Discovery News, the reason there were collisions with the self-driving cars at all was because of driver error! Sources say the car has been rear-ended mostly, but it’s also been sideswiped and hit by a car that ran a red light or stop sign. Since the crash specifics are secret, we can’t be certain, but Google says the car was never at fault, and eight of those crashes were on city streets. If you buy their spin, then yes – the cars probably are safer! And private cars are just the tip of the iceberg.

We’re also gonna be seeing autonomous vehicles in the commercial space. Earlier this month, auto manufacturer Daimler unveiled its self-driving semi-truck. The “Inspiration Truck” can drive itself on the highway, and only needs a human operator in cities. On top of that, they can network on the road and drive in a caravan, getting improved gas mileage as a crew by taking advantage of the slipstream of the truck in front of them. Basically, only the truck in front has to fully cut through the air, the rest “draft” and get a mileage boost.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates commercial freight logged 3.3 trillion ton-miles in 2012, and trucks represented 38 percent of that — or 1.3 trillion miles. That’s a lot of ground to cover for the Inspiration Truck or other similar commercial trucks. Aside from Google and Daimler, Audi and Nissan have also developed self-driving cars. Tesla announced the Model S will have autonomous features within a few months.

So the future is pretty much here. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranks self-driving vehicles, and both the Google cars and the Inspiration Truck as “Level 3” autonomous vehicles; unlike an airplane on autopilot. They can travel autonomously, but quote “The driver is expected to be available for occasional control… sufficiently comfortable transition time.” So the car can’t just toss it to the driver when someone jumps in front… but then who is at fault? If “driver” wasn’t actually driving, and Google programmed the thing; what happens?

At this point, no one knows. California, Nevada, Michigan, Florida, and Washington, D.C are the only places that license for self-driving cars, so far, and there are only 48 autonomous vehicles registered in California; 23 of those are Google’s. In the end these laws are still so new, and the technology isn’t entirely proven. Driving a million autonomous miles is small compared to the trillions travelled by truck drivers in the U.S. alone.

Insurance Quotes in a Digital Age

Insurance is great. Yes, it can be a hassle to find. Sorting out the pricing and policies can be complicated. So what if the whole thing could be made as easy as pushing a button? The great news is that it almost has.

What Makes it Frustrating

Making the monthly payment on a premium can be frustrating, but it’s easy. Once you file a claim, you realize how much that monthly payment was worth it. Finding the right policy, on the other hand, can be a challenge. There are policies for your home, condo, apartment, motorcycle, car, and health. Also, there are many different companies. Getting insurance quotes from each carrier can take much more time than you have available. Once people find coverage, they rarely re-evaluate it to see if it is still the best option available.

Technological Evolutions

Luckily, the Internet has revolutionized insurance quotes. Trained agents can help you identify what your priorities are and which policy best meets your individual needs. Filling out a simple form online can generate quotes from several major carriers at once. Many agencies are also now able to incorporate smaller, more specialized carriers into their networks as well. The ability to organize and sort through so much information so quickly has made getting insurance quotes almost push-button simple.

Working Closely with an Agent

Getting a variety of insurance quotes is just the first step. The most affordable policy may not be the one that best meets your needs. Understanding the often complex policy language can be a daunting task. At this point, it is essential to get a trained agent involved. Like many service professionals today, agents are highly trained and strictly regulated. They are a personal part of their clients’ lives because they are helping to protect the most valuable aspects of a client’s life: their health, home, and family. You should be able to work closely with an agent who knows you and understands your priorities.

Your agent can sit down with you and evaluate each of the quotes individually. Together, you can structure a comprehensive package that addresses your coverage needs and financial commitments. The package may consist of the best policies from several carriers or a single umbrella. The use of digital technology allows for highly personalized packages of coverage. With access to so many quotes and coverage options at your fingertips, what you decide to do is up to you.

Obviously finding a safe level of coverage is not something you want to put off until you need it. The task of obtaining insurance quotes and sorting through coverage packages used to prevent people from shopping for insurance. New technology and highly trained agents have simplified the process. Highly personalized packages can provide better coverage and save you money. If you haven’t looked at your insurance lately, now is a great time.

Credit Repair Services: Do You Really Need It?

Repairing credit can be compared to losing weight, there is no quick-fix! Just as it takes time to get rid of your fat, the same goes for the negative items on your credit report. Any attempt to repair your credit quickly is more likely to backfire, than to produce any positive result. The best thing that you can do in order to rebuild your credit is to be responsible in managing it over a period of six months at the least.

You need to be responsible in managing your credit, but what if there are errors and inaccuracies in your credit report that render it negative? The worst thing about such inaccuracies is that you are at a serious disadvantage, usually through no fault of yours. Unfortunately, a study by U.S Public Interest Research revealed that 70 percent of all credit reports contain serious errors.

Fixing these errors involves a detailed legal process which consists of sending dispute letters to creditors and credit bureaus, sending reminders, studying the documentary evidence provided by creditors and bureaus, and more. Like most people, you might not have the required time and expertise to follow through on all of these processes efficiently. This is where credit repair services can help you out. Now it’s important to understand that it will not be possible to improve your credit score in a few weeks. As previously stated, this is not possible even if the negative items in your credit report are due to error.

Time taken for Credit Repair
Creditors and credit bureaus are required by law to produce original documentation in order to prove the negative items that are present on your credit report. They cannot take more than 30-45 days to do so. However, drafting and sending dispute letters may take some time as well. Some people think that it is possible for any consumer to get his or her credit score corrected without any professional help, which is true but hardly practicable.

Anyone whose credit report contains errors can try to draft their own dispute letters and send them to the concerned parties, but it is time-consuming and it takes a lot of mental effort. Unless you are ready to take this duty as seriously as you take any other professional commitment, do not even try! Hiring a reliable provider for credit repair services, which would be a company that has more than a decade of experience helping thousands of customers with unfairly negative credit reports, can help you correct your credit score without too much fuss.

Credit report repair services are particularly useful when:

— The negative items on your credit report are due to accounting, reporting or any other error committed by creditors, credit bureaus or collection agencies. Genuine errors can be struck off from the reports smoothly when you go through the proper procedures.

— The credit repair service providers are good at identifying errors that cannot be verified. By law, if any item in the report cannot be backed up by documentary evidence, it needs to be removed. This loophole can be used by credit repair companies to improve your score.

— Some lenders are willing to negotiate with credit repair representatives of their consumers. If your lender allows it, this can help you raise your credit score.

Considering A PayDay Loan? READ THIS FIRST!

Payday loans can be a lifesaver if it’s truly used for an emergency – only you can decide what’s truly an emergency. Most times something comes up; we freak out and instead of thinking things through and finding other alternatives we quickly react and put ourselves in a worst position than we initially started out; hence the existence of payday loans and car title loans and every other high interest loans available to those with less than stellar credit.

To borrow a payday loan is simple; you typically pay $20 per $100 borrowed or more. The appeal is all you need is a job, proof of employment and a check with a future date stamped on it – easy, right? No hassle, and most importantly no credit check. I’d rather you avoid them completely but if you must please choose one that is with the Community Financial Services Association; an association that provides guidelines that protect the consumer.

The most negative thing about a payday loan are the interest rates/fees! It comes to about 400% interest on a loan! That’s absurd. But if you need your car fixed; furnace repaired, water heater replaced – it suddenly doesn’t seem that bad. The key thing to remember is not to borrow more than you need. The payday loan clerk is a salesman; just because he/she states you can borrow up to $1000 does not mean you should accept it. Borrow only what you need!!! And if they offer you the monthly payment plan don’t fall for it; remember their job is to sell so that THEY can make more money. Pay if off all at once and avoid the pitfall of the monthly payments that make them more money and cause a financial strain on your budget.

So; what if you ignored everything that I’ve just said and borrow more than you can pay back by the next pay period? Well if they’re a member with the CFSA, all you need to do is tell them you can’t make the payment by the due date. As a member of the CFSA, they’ll need to stop all collection activity and give you 4 additional pay periods to pay back the loan in full. Oh, and they can’t charge you any additional fees during this period either. This must be done before the due date; or at least before close of business on the day before the loan is due; preferably in person; and it can only be done once on the same loan. It’s called an Extended Payment Plan. If they deny you or state they don’t offer this; call CFSA directly at 888-572-9329.

Now I must admit the collection activity from payday loan companies are THE WORST! They call your job; threaten automatic wage garnishments, threaten to sue you or file a police report for bank fraud to send you to jail (based on the post-dated check you wrote them); the list goes on and on – and its illegal. State laws govern the collection activities of original creditors; and fortunately most state laws closely follow the laws of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act so all you need to do is look up your state’s laws on payday loans collection activities and rules. The list is usually found on your state’s Attorney General’s website; your state’s Consumer Affairs website will have some valuable information as well.

Don’t Invalidate Fire Insurance

We have all had a dishwasher that puttered out or a washing machine that sat idle with clothes floating in a well of water. Fixing creaky old appliances can be costly, and it often seems there is no way of avoiding such expenses. However, many owners and renters have found a solution: purchasing a condo warranty.

Unlike insurance-which covers natural disasters, calamities, and theft-a warranty is a service contract that, among other things, covers major appliances for members of a condominium. These warranties are specifically designed to work within the existing support structure and services provided by your association, so you only pay for the protection you need. Here are four ways a condo warranty can benefit you.

Covers Major Home Appliances and Systems

While the definitions of major systems and appliances may vary from policy to policy, a condo warranty will typically cover HVAC, plumbing, electrical, hot water heaters, garbage disposals, dishwashers, stoves and ovens, washers and dryers, and garage doors. Refrigerators are often covered when they are in the property at the time of purchase. This can be even more beneficial in the event that a retailer or chain goes out of business and/or any coverage you have on the product lapses.

Enhances Market Value

Condo warranties are, in general, cost-saving tools when it comes to maintenance. However, they can also be an enhanced benefit in a competitive seller’s market because they increase a unit’s marketability. According to the National Home Warranty Association, units on the market that covered by warranties tend to sell about 50 percent faster than homes that are not.

Protects from Potential Post-Sale Legal Disputes

Warranties generally protect the condo’s seller from post-sale legal disputes. They allow for the purchaser to invest with confidence, as they are given more security than what is offered by a statute of limitations, which, in most cases, only lasts four years. On the flip side, sellers can avoid legal disputes based on faulty or dysfunctional appliances and systems because they are covered. Of course, reviewing the fine print for specifics is always highly encouraged before purchasing a property.

Provides Peace of Mind

Out of the nine most crucial appliances in the home, at least one is expected to break down at some point in its 13-year average lifespan. A new buyer is assured some peace of mind in knowing that if something goes awry with any of the condo’s major appliances or systems, they will likely be covered by the warranty.