August 2012 Archives

August 30, 2012

Your Vehicle Is In Danger of Being Hacked by Computer Viruses

Computers and electronic communication systems that are installed in today's modern vehicles have the hazard of being hacked. Intel's McAfee, one of the best known software companies that fight PC viruses, is currently working to protect these computer and communication systems so that viruses can not affect your modern vehicle.

Automakers have failed to adequately protect these systems, leaving them vulnerable to hacks by attackers looking to steal cars, eavesdrop on personal conversations and even harm passengers by causing vehicles to crash automatically.

According to the SAE International, no violent attacks using computer viruses have been reported to date.

These viruses, worms and Trojans can be delivered to your automobile through onboard diagnostics systems, wireless connections and even tainted CDs played on radio systems.

The concern for automobile computers and electronic communication systems being hacked came from research conducted by a group of computer scientists from the University of California and the University of Washington, who published two research papers, in May and August of 2011, showing that computer viruses can infect cars and cause them to crash, harming both the driver and passengers. This group of computer scientists figured out how to attack vehicles by putting viruses onto compact discs. When victims try to listen to the CD, the vehicle is infected through the car radio and can make its way across the network and other vehicle systems. One of their examples is an attack called "Self Destruct". This is when a 60 second timer pops up on a car's digital dashboard and starts counting down. When it reaches zero the virus can immediately shut off the vehicle's lights, lock its doors, turn the engine off and release or slam on the brakes.

Therefore; the SAE's Vehicle Electrical System Security Committee, a committee of more than 40 industry experts, is working hard to develop specifications which would reduce the risk of vehicles being infected with viruses.

August 23, 2012

New Laws Implemented for Scooter and Moped Riders in Maryland

As of October 1, 2012 all Scooter and Moped Riders will have to follow new laws being implemented in the state of Maryland. The new law going into effect will require all motor scooters and mopeds to be titled and insured, and all operators and passengers of scooters and mopeds must wear helmets and eye protection at all times.

Since the new law requires all scooters and mopeds to be insured, they must be insured with at least the minimum vehicle liability insurance for the state of Maryland. Riders must also, at all times, carry their proof of insurance whenever operating their scooters and/or mopeds.

Further titling information will be available through the Motor Vehicle Administrations (MVA) website starting October 1, 2012.

Maryland law enforcement officers have received training regarding the new laws going into effect and therefore, Scooter and Moped drivers should expect to be stopped and/or issued citations and/or warnings if they violate the new law, as of October 1, 2012.

For more information, please visit the mva website at http://www.mva.maryland.gov/

August 15, 2012

Fire Deaths are At a Record Low in Maryland

Fire Deaths are down 21% compared to 2011, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office. Only 22 people have died in fires so far this year. 28 people died during the same time last year.
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16 out of the 22 people that died so far in 2012, died in 13 separate home fires. Four out of those 16 deaths occurred in three fires where there weren't any smoke alarms, and three of the deaths occurred in two fires where the smoke alarms weren't operating correctly or at all.

Therefore, starting October 1, 2012, a law will be implemented in Maryland where sprinkler systems will be required in all new single family homes. Reports have shown that there have been no fire deaths, in new townhomes, where sprinkler systems were installed, since 1992.

It has been proven that having both smoke alarms and sprinkler systems in a home increase the survival rate by as much as 80%. Therefore; there must be a smoke alarm on every level of your home and in each sleeping area. The alarms should be regularly tested and their batteries should be replaced yearly.

August 7, 2012

Automobile Fatalities on the Rise in Virginia

In the first three months of 2012 traffic deaths in the state of Virginia have jumped by 13.5 percent, compared to last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). So far this year, there have been 403 reported automobile accident related fatalities. The reason for the higher number of deaths this year is because a lot of the automobile accidents involved multiple fatalities per accident.

The number of traffic deaths nationwide has also increased. According the to the NHTSA there have been an estimated 7,630 automobile related deaths in the first three months of 2012, making it the second largest year-to-year quarterly increase in fatalities since the NHTSA started recording traffic fatalities in the mid 1970's.

The fact that we had a mild winter also has something to do with the increase in motor vehicle accident fatalities. That is because the milder the weather the more people go outdoors and drive. Severe weather keeps people off the roads, but milder weather conditions make people want to travel more.
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According to the Federal Highway Administration, vehicle miles traveled in January, February and March of 2012 increased by about 9.7 billion miles, 1.4 percent more than 2011. That means that the more miles traveled, the higher the risk of being involved in an automobile accident, therefore; drivers need to be more careful and practice safer driving, which include, but at not limited to, making sure one is buckled up, giving oneself plenty of time to get to your destination and never drive while impaired by alcohol, drugs and/or when tired.