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English: Fireworks on the Fourth of July

English: Fireworks on the Fourth of July (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve been celebrating our independence from Great Britain with fireworks since the first anniversary of the signing of the declaration declaring it. While many of us in Orange County will enjoy professional pyrotechnic displays near the beach this 4th of July, others may be wondering where they can set off some of their own-“safe and sane,” of course-fireworks. Below is a list of cities where they’re legal.

Orange County Cities that Permit State-Approved Fireworks

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LYFT

LYFT (Photo credit: Tribute/ Homenaje)

Those who’ve used ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft know they can be faster and more convenient and sometimes offer friendlier drivers than taxi services. Recent cases of assault in California, however, have concerned riders and policymakers, resulting in calls for stricter state regulation.

Current Regulations for Transportation Network Companies

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Pile of Cash

Pile of Cash (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

Los Angeles residents can follow Twitter handle @HiddenCash this weekend to find clues to where cash-stuffed envelopes will be hidden in the area. Followers in San Francisco and San Jose used the hints to locate envelopes filled with between $20 and $100 bills. The man behind them explained to the San Francisco Chronicle that after obtaining a large sum of money from a real estate deal he decided to conduct the ‘social experiment for good’ as a fun way to use his earnings. He plans on continuing the experiment, as well as taking it to more cities, reported the Los Angeles Times.

What do you think? Will you be following @HiddenCash this weekend?

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Teen Driver

Teen Driver (Photo credit: State Farm)

Every year, 1.24 million people are killed and more than 50 million are injured in traffic accidents across the world. Fifty-nine percent of those deaths are suffered by young adults between the ages of 15 and 44 years. Here in the United States, collisions are the leading cause of death for people aged 5 to 24. In an effort to honor young traffic safety advocates and to empower them to spearhead education projects, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has joined the National Organizations for Youth Safety in sponsoring Global Youth Traffic Safety Month.

Some Facts About Crashes Involving Young Drivers

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cinco de Mayo

cinco de Mayo (Photo credit: deborah is lola)

As with other holidays throughout the year when we gather at parties and festivals to celebrate with friends and family, we must put safety first on Cinco de Mayo by not taking the wheel if we’ve been drinking. To help remind us not to drink and drive, the Orange County “Avoid the 38” DUI Task Force will be conducting DUI saturation patrols over the weekend in several OC cities.

“Cinco de Mayo has unfortunately become one of the most dangerous days of the year, all because of drunk driving,” said Deputy Shane Stewart of the Orange County Sheriff Department’s Traffic Bureau.

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Crash test dummy in a 2010 Hyundai Tucson GLS ...

Crash test dummy in a 2010 Hyundai Tucson GLS at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Vehicle Research Center. Category:Hyundai_Tucson_LM Category:Crash tests Category:Crash test dummies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amid the controversy over General Motors’ decade-long delay to recall 2.6 million vehicles for faulty ignition switches linked to 13 crash deaths-now the subject of a federal investigation-the company has placed much emphasis on differentiating the new GM from the old. GM CEO Mary Barra’s claims that the new company is better than the old one received some support this week with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s release of its Top Safety Picks for 2014: while, overall, midsize SUVs disappointed in the small overlap crash test, the Chevrolet Equinox and its twin, the GMC Terrain, earned a good rating, making them eligible for the IIHS’ highest award, Top Safety Pick Plus.

After research indicated that about a quarter of all serious trauma is suffered in frontal collisions in which the front corner of the vehicle strikes a fixed object, such as a telephone pole or a tree, the IIHS began subjecting vehicles to the small overlap crash test in 2012. During the test, which is more difficult than either the head-on crash tests conducted by the government or the IIHS’ longstanding overlap test, 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end on the driver’s side hits a rigid barrier at 40 mph. It can be harder for a vehicle to manage the energy of an impact when its front-end crush zone is bypassed and, consequently, its occupant compartment could collapse.

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Person using cell phone while driving.

Person using cell phone while driving. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next time you’re thinking of taking that text message or phone call while driving, you should consider the consequences: a $161 fine or, much worse, causing a serious or fatal accident. Is it worth it? Absolutely not, and local law enforcement will be out in full force to remind drivers of this throughout the month of April.

Texting or Talking While Driving-It’s Not Worth It!

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Bicycle commuter

Bicycle commuter (Photo credit: MoBikeFed)

Living in Southern California, we enjoy some of the best weather in the country throughout the year. Cities here, however, tend to be spread out, preventing many of us from taking full advantage of the perennial sunshine by walking or biking to work or school, but that may be changing.

Researchers working for the California Department of Transportation asked about 110,000 people in more than 42,000 households to record details about every trip they took during a random day and found that the number of people walking, biking, or taking public transit doubled to 22 percent from 2001 to 2012. This corresponded with a 12 percent drop in the rate of people relying on cars to get around and reflected a national trend, reported the Los Angeles Times.

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Green beer on St. Patrick's Day

Green beer on St. Patrick’s Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of us associate St. Patrick’s Day more with green beer and leprechauns than the conversion of an atheist into a Catholic in Ireland over a thousand years ago, which is understandable. While some still celebrate in church, people generally tend to head to local bars, consuming nearly 3 million pints of Guinness and copious amounts of whisky. With the holiday falling on a Monday this year, many are likely to go out and imbibe over the weekend, and law enforcement will be ready and waiting for them at the end of the night.

DUI Checkpoints and Saturation Patrols

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English: Google driverless car operating on a ...

English: Google driverless car operating on a testing path (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Long held as symbols of American individualism-allowing us to display our personal style while at the same time giving us the autonomy to go anywhere-cars are also the last bastions of privacy in an overly connected society. While cruising California’s two-lane blacktops, or Orange County’s multi-lane freeways, we can play our music as loud as we want and sing along without bothering anyone. Predicted to be commercially available by the end of the decade, the driverless car threatens to take this experience away from us. The extent to which this could happen is currently being considered by the Department of Motor Vehicles as it drafts rules to regulate the cars.

Two of the DMV’s main questions in coming up with the legislation are whether or not a driver must be behind the wheel of the cars, which rely on sensors and computers to operate them, and car manufacturers should be allowed to “mine data from onboard computers to make product pitches based on where the car goes or set insurance rates based on how it is driven,” reported USA Today. Previously, we wrote about how BMW engineers are researching how to use data collected about drivers to enable its cars to make personalized shopping suggestions for them, like where to find the best coffee while on a road trip or the type of T.V. set the driver had been researching at the lowest price and closest proximity.

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