Driver, 94, pleads guilty in death of neighbour

A 94-year-old Winnipeg man has pleaded guilty to killing his elderly neighbour by accidentally driving his car over him.

Edward Hudek admitted earlier this week to a Highway Traffic Act charge of backing a vehicle without due care. He was given a $1,000 fine and two-year driving prohibition.

Frederick Albert Tippen, 86, died in April 2010 after being struck by Hudek’s rented Suzuki SX4 in the parking lot of a St. Vital seniors residence.

Hudek, who has no prior criminal or driving record, told police he heard “knocking at the side of his car” as he reversed out of a stall. He then got out, saw nothing but went inside the Dakota House assisted living facility and told a staff member he might have “bumped into somebody.”

Police and paramedics arrived to find Tippen trapped underneath the vehicle, which had to be lifted to free him. The unconscious man was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead.

“This is a tragic, isolated incident in his life,” defence lawyer Martin Glazer told court.

Hudek surrendered his licence following the tragedy and has not driven since. He also wrote a letter of apology to Tippen’s family.

Glazer said his client was unfamiliar with the rental car and may not have seen Tippen in his blind spot while backing out.

The case has raised questions about how society handles a growing number of aging motorists. The ranks of seniors behind the wheel are expanding as baby boomers age, according to Manitoba Public Insurance.

In 1994, there were more than 80,000 Manitobans 65 and older with a valid driver’s licence, MPI said. In 2010, about 103,600 — 14 per cent — of the nearly 740,000 licensed drivers provincewide were 65 or older. It’s estimated 21 per cent of drivers in Manitoba will be over 65 by 2025.

Therefore driver testing for people who reach the age of 80 should be mandatory every 18 months.  If these people can’t pass the test they can start taking cabs if they live in the city.  If they live in rural areas they can move into an old folks complex.  Friends and support staff will be there to help with the shopping, errands and appointments.

And it is not just the other drivers on the road that can be traumatized by bad senior citizen drivers, passengers are often affected as well.

Shopping can be provided by friends or companies that provide such services.  Making it less hazardous in the parking lots.

Property damage, injuries and tying up the police could all be reduced if people in their later golden years had to take the mandatory drivers test.

Australian Cattle Hauling Road Trains

A road train or land train is a trucking vehicle of a type used in remote areas of Argentina, Australia, Mexico, the United States, and Canada to move freight efficiently. The term road train is most often used in Australia. In the United States, the terms triplesturnpike doubles, and Rocky Mountain doubles are commonly used for longer combination vehicles (LCVs). A road train has a relatively normal tractor unit, but instead of towing one trailer or semi-trailer, it pulls two or more of them.

Australia has the largest and heaviest road-legal vehicles in the world, with some configurations topping out at close to 200 tonnes (197 long tons; 220 short tons). The majority are between 80 and 120 t (79 and 118 long tons; 88 and 132 short tons).

Double (two-trailer) road train combinations are allowed in most areas of Australia, and within the environs (albeit limited) of Adelaide, South Australia and Perth, Western Australia. A double road train should not be confused with a B-double, which is allowed access to most of the country and in all major cities.

Here is one rolling through a flooded road

cattle1

Triple (three-trailer) road trains operate in western New South Wales, western Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, with the last three states also allowing AB-quads (B double with two additional trailers coupled behind). Darwin is the only capital city in the world where triples and quads are allowed to within 1 km (0.62 mi) of the central business district (CBD). Tasmania and Victoria do not allow the operation of road trains on any of their roads. Victoria had previously allowed double road trains to operate around Mildura for the vintage grape harvest.

Strict regulations regarding licensing, registration, weights, and experience apply to all operators of road trains throughout Australia.

Road trains are used for transporting all manner of materials: common examples are livestock, fuel, mineral ores, and general freight. Their cost-effective transport has played a significant part in the economic development of remote areas; some communities are totally reliant on regular service.

The multiple dog-trailers are unhooked, the dollys removed and then connected individually to multiple trucks at “assembly” yards when the road train gets close to populated areas.

When the flat-top trailers of a road train need to be transported empty, it is common practice to stack them. This is commonly referred to as “doubled-up” or “doubling-up”. See illustration. Sometimes, if many trailers are required to be moved at one time, they will be triple-stacked, or “tripled-up”.

Higher Mass Limits (HML) Schemes are now piloting in all jurisdictions in Australia, allowing trucks to carry additional weight.

cattle

Road trains arrives at Helen Springs Cattle Station, north of Tennant Creek NT.

cattle2

The cattle are loaded onto the road train for their journey to Longreach QLD.

cattle3

The Road Train then leaves on its long trip.

Interesting statistics.    
*There are 17 trucks with 3 trailers and 2 decks per trailer; that’s 102 decks of cattle.

*Approximately 28 cattle per deck; A total of 2,856 head of cattle. 
*The cattle will weigh approximately 500kg each (1102.3 lbs.) 
*The sale price for cattle at Longreach is approx. 165c/kg (75c/lb.) 
*Each animal will therefore be sold at $825. 
*Total revenue from this analysis is $2.356.200 
*TYRES; Each truck has 2 front and 8 rear tyres, first trailer has 12 tyres and is dollied to the truck.

*2nd & 3rd trailers have 8 tyres at the front and 12 at the rear, that’s 20 tyres each. 
*Each truck has 62 tyres, that’s a total of 1.054 on the road. A lot of tyres!!!

cattle4
cattle5
cattle6

Australian cattle at stockyards in Rockhampton, Queensland.

acow1
acow2

Egypt’s Suez Canal blocked by huge container ship

A giant container ship the length of four football pitches has become wedged across Egypt’s Suez Canal, blocking one of the world’s busiest trade routes.

Dozens of vessels are stuck, waiting for rescue boats to free the 400m-long (1,312ft) ship, which was knocked off course by strong winds.

Egypt has reopened the canal’s older channel to divert some traffic until the grounded ship can move again.

The blockage sent oil prices climbing on international markets.

About 12% of global trade passes through the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.

The Ever Given, registered in Panama and operated by the shipping company Evergreen, was bound for the port city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands from China and was passing northwards through the canal on its way to the Mediterranean.

The 200,000 tonne ship, built in 2018 and operated by Taiwanese transport company Evergreen Marine, ran aground and became lodged sideways across the waterway at about 07:40 local time (05:40 GMT) on Tuesday.

At 400m long and 59m wide, the ship has blocked the path of other vessels which are now trapped in lines in both directions.

The company that manages the container ship, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), has denied earlier reports that the ship had already been partially refloated.

When crossing railroad tracks, look both ways and scamper across fast

BBC

At least 37 people have died after being hit by an express train while crossing the tracks at a remote train station in the Indian state of Bihar, local officials say.

The passengers, mostly Hindu pilgrims, had just alighted from a local train at Dhamara Ghat station and were on their way to a temple in Saharsa district.

An angry crowd is said to have beaten the driver and set two coaches on fire.

Rescue operations are under way and police reinforcements have been sent.

Senior state police officer SK Bhardwaj said it was difficult to say how many people had died as many bodies had been dismembered.

 

atrain1

 

The incident took place at 08:40 India time [03:10 GMT]. The pilgrims were hit by the Rajya Rani Express travelling on the opposite track.

Railway officials said the express train was travelling at high speed as it was not expected to stop at Dhamara Ghat station.

But after the accident, it stopped a few hundred metres away. An angry mob then pulled out the driver and severely assaulted him.

More police have been sent to the area but the region is extremely remote and inaccessible by road.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed grief over the incident and ordered district officials to the scene.

India’s state-owned railway network is vast – it operates 9,000 passenger trains and carries some 18 million passengers every day.

A government-appointed safety panel in its report last year said about 15,000 people were killed each year crossing train tracks in what officials describe as “unlawful trespassing”.

Autonomous Race Car Crashes Before It Starts

A future filled with autonomous vehicles got a temporary setback this week when a self-driving race car drove directly into a wall before crossing the start line. The spectacular fail took place during the live broadcast of the Roborace autonomous-vehicle race series. Swiss-based Acronis SIT Autonomous fielded the directionally-challenged car, which sustained significant damage in the wall crash. The team was not immediately able to determine the cause of the vehicular mishap.