From the L.A. Times
Commerce Secretary John Bryson found unconscious after hit-and-run crashes
U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson was involved in two hit-and-run accidents in the San Gabriel Valley on Satruday before being found unconscious inside his Lexus vehicle by police, authorities said.
Bryson was treated at the scene by Los Angeles County firefighters. Authorities said drugs or alcohol do not appear to have played a role in the crash.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and San Gabriel Police Department said in a joint statement that Bryson was cooperative wad detectives. He was cited for felony hit and run but was not booked into jail because he had been admitted to the hospital. His condition was not known.
"The investigation is in its preliminary stages," the statement said.
Bryson was driving a Lexus in the 400 block of South San Gabriel Boulevard shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday, when he allegedly rear-ended a Buick as it was waiting for a train to pass, according to the statement,
After briefly stopping to talk to the three men inside the Buick, Bryson left the location in the Lexus and then struck the Buick a second time, authorities said. The men followed Bryson's car and called 911 to ask for police assistance.
Bryson continued to drive his Lexus into Rosemead, which is patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. There, he allegedly crashed into a second vehicle near the intersection of San Gabriel Boulevard and Hellman Avenue.
There authorities found him alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his car.
According to his official biography, Bryson was chairman of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison for 18 years until 2008.
"Throughout a distinguished career in which he's led nonprofits, government agencies and large companies, he's been a fierce proponent of alternative energy," President Obama said in announcing Bryson's nomination last year.
"As CEO, he created a competitive power subsidiary, the Mission Group, which expanded across the U.S. and was a global leader in the privatization of power plants and electric systems in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines and several European countries," according to the biography. "Bryson has also served as a director on several public, educational and nonprofit boards, including The Boeing Company and The Walt Disney Company. He has also served as an adviser and a director of entrepreneurial and start-up companies including Coda Automotive, Inc. and BrightSource Energy. He was a senior adviser to the global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR)."
Earlier in his career, Bryson was an environmental lawyer and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
He could not immediately be reached for comment.
From the Washington Times
Safety measure lets cars talk to each other to avoid crashes
U.S. will launch real-world test of 3,000 vehicles
by Joan Lowy
As a safety demonstration, it was a heart-stopper: A Ford Taurus was seconds away from cruising through an intersection when suddenly a row of red lights pulsed on the lower windshield and a warning blared that another car was approaching fast on the cross street.
Braking quickly, the driver stopped just as the second car, previously unseen behind a large parked truck, barreled through a red light and across the Ford's path.
The display at a recent transportation conference was a peek into the future of automotive safety: cars that talk to each other and warn drivers of impending collisions. Later this summer, the government is launching a yearlong, real-world test involving nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and buses using volunteer drivers in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The vehicles will be equipped to continuously communicate over wireless networks, exchanging information on location, direction and speed 10 times a second with other similarly equipped cars within about 1,000 feet. A computer analyzes the information and issues danger warnings to drivers, often before they can see the other vehicle.
On roadways today, the Taurus in the demonstration likely would have been “T-boned” - slammed in the side by the other car. There were more than 7,800 fatal intersection accidents on U.S. roadways in 2010.
Called vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V, more advanced versions of the systems can take control of a car to prevent an accident by applying brakes when the driver reacts too slowly to a warning.
V2V “is our next evolutionary step … to make sure the crash never happens in the first place, which is, frankly, the best safety scenario we can all hope for,” said David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
V2V technology holds the potential to help in most crashes that aren't alcohol or drug related, Mr. Strickland said. But a lot will depend on how drivers respond to the warnings, and that's one reason for the Ann Arbor test. Overall, more than 32,000 people were killed in traffic accidents last year.
In addition to warning of cars running red lights or stop signs, “connected cars” can let drivers know if they don't have time to make a left turn because of oncoming traffic. When driving on a two-lane road, the systems warn when passing is unsafe because of oncoming cars even vehicles around a curve that the driver can't see yet.
It's also possible for connected cars to exchange information with traffic lights, signs and roadways if states and communities decide to equip their transportation infrastructure with similar technology. The information would be relayed to traffic management centers, tipping them off to congestion, accidents or obstructions. If cars are reported to be swerving in one spot on a roadway, for example, that could indicate a large pothole or obstruction. The constant stream of vehicle-to-infrastructure, or V2I, information could give traffic managers a better picture of traffic flows than they have today, enabling better timing of traffic signals to keep cars moving, for example. Correspondingly, cars could receive warnings on traffic tie-ups ahead and rerouting directions.
In a line of heavy traffic, the systems issue an alert if a car several vehicles ahead brakes hard even before the vehicle directly in front brakes. And the systems alert drivers when they're at risk of rear-ending a slower-moving car.
NHTSA has been working on the technology for the past decade along with eight automakers: Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen.
“We think this is really the future of transportation safety, and it's going to make a huge difference in the way we live our lives,” said Scott Belcher, president of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, which promotes technology solutions to transportation problems.