Amtrak Rail Cars in Fatal Washington Crash Had Safety Waiver

The passenger rail cars on an Amtrak train that derailed near Seattle, Wash. last December, killing three people, were allowed by federal regulators to stay in service even though they didn’t meet current crash-protection standards, federal investigators said Tuesday.

The Talgo Inc. cars had to be specially modified to make them sturdier in a collision, but they still didn’t meet crash standards adopted in 1999 by the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration, according to newly released documents from the National Transportation Safety Board.

California Wildfire Insurance Policy Notification Bill Signed

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation to requires insurance companies to let homeowners know whether their policies are sufficient to rebuild or replace their homes after a disaster.

Assembly Bill 1799, by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Marin County, addresses consumer protection and underinsurance issues uncovered by the devastating 2017 wildfire season.

Western wildfires spread apace with drought, rising temperatures

It seems like news of disastrous wildfires never ends. Last winter, we watched as wildfires raged in Santa Barbara County, California. Once contained, the fires then led to catastrophic mudslides that killed 20 people around Montecito, California.

The recent Western wildfires that have been burning in Colorado and California are attributed to multiple factors, including a heat wave and climate change.

California Orders Work Comp Insurers to Report Federal Income Tax Savings

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has issued an order directing every insurer licensed to write workers’ compensation insurance in the state must report their federal income tax savings annually through a rate filing in light of the new tax law.

The recent revision to the Federal Tax Schedule for 2018 reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. That means that nationally insurers will now be able to retain even more of policyholder premiums as profit.

Sausalito, Calif., Survey: Residents Want More Wildfire Safeguards

(TNS) - More can be done in Sausalito to protect residents against fire, according to a survey of residents.

The survey was taken in recent weeks with the start of fire season and in the wake of last year’s North Bay fires and more local conflagrations, including one that burned along Highway 101 on the Waldo Grade last October.

Much of Sausalito is on tree-lined hills, and fire danger is a worry.

“The survey was designed to assess the level of concern in our community,” Chris Tubbs, chief of the Southern Marin Fire Protection District, told the City Council last week as he presented the survey. “There is a high level concern about the threat among residents. They think we should be doing more.”

Law enforcement agencies have a new partner: Amazon

Amazon has made its entry into the surveillance business with a facial recognition system, Rekognition. The product is geared towards law enforcement use, and has already been used in select police departments around the country.

The AI-based program can track, identify and analyze people in real-time. It is powerful enough to identify up to 100 people in a single image and scan the information quickly against databases.

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