Cars aren’t what they used to be

Article December 12, 2002
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Amazing rescue

When British college student Sophia Underhill lost control of her car last month and overturned it on the highway, she was sure she had killed 4-year-old Bercy who was thrown from the vehicle.

Police found Bercy lying motionless 15 ft from the car. He was immediately delivered to paramedics where he was promptly submerged in water and miraculously revived.

Authorities agreed afterward that it was a good thing Bercy is a goldfish or else that water submersion technique might not have worked so well.

Must-see DVD

Police are used to dealing with drivers who think they can multi-task behind the wheel. But a man in New York found a new way to endanger himself and others: “Chocolate Foam.”

Unfortunately that’s not a new flavored shaving cream. Police in Schenectady spotted 35-year-old Andre Gainey in a Mercedes Benz stopped at a traffic light watching an adult movie. Police noticed the DVD playing on screens built into the back of the headrests which could easily be seen by anyone behind Gainey’s car. When police confronted Gainey, they also spotted another screen in the passenger-side visor which Gainey had tilted toward him so he wouldn’t miss any of the action while driving.

A spokesperson for the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles said he thought the case was the first of its kind in New York. Authorities vowed to review the movie as many times as it took in order to decide how severe Gainey’s punishment should be.

Volvos from Venus

When it comes to attracting women, it’s not all about looks or muscle. Women dig the gull-wing doors.
At least that’s what Volvo is hoping. Last month the company unveiled the YCC (Your Concept Car) at the Geneva International Motor Show. This gas-electric hybrid car is the first ever designed by women for women.

Some wonder, however, if the new features are accommodating or patronizing.

For example, the YCC offers computerized assistance with parallel parking, headrest grooves to facilitate ponytails and extra storage for shopping bags.

The YCC also features gull-wing doors for graceful exits, seat covers that are removable for washing or redesigning and a hood that is unusually low for better visibility.

All that and it’s not even pink.

Volvo officials say they have no plans to mass-produce the YCC. They say they are simply interested in finding out which of the YCC’s features are most popular and integrating those into their production cars.

Friendly wager

Porterdale, Ga., isn’t a large town. In fact, the police department has fewer than 10 officers on staff. So City Court Judge C. David Strickland was really puzzled when the court docket listed 240 traffic tickets for the month of January, more than double the monthly average of 100.

The judge’s suspicions were confirmed when he overheard a conversation between two officers discussing their bet as to who could write the most traffic tickets in one month.

The mayor’s office investigated and found that the dynamic duo had written a total of 146 tickets in January. The mayor said he felt that number was “staggering” considering the officers only worked 16 hours per week. He said many of the tickets were found to be “petty in nature” and most were thrown out of court.

The officers said they were just “doing their jobs” and hoped they could keep their positions on the force. Fortunately, they weren’t betting on that, too.

Hail to the boom

Sticks and stones will break your bones, but hail can damage cars.

As a result, the Nissan plant in Jackson, Miss., has installed a hail-protecting generator that fires sonic booms into the air to break up hail before it reaches the ground.

The generator automatically detects when weather conditions are favorable to hail and fires sonic waves into the atmosphere which disrupt the formation of hailstones within a 1 mile radius. The sonic waves continue every five seconds until weather conditions change.

Sounds great, unless you’re a neighbor. Folks eight miles away from the plant said the repetitive booming made them wonder if Nissan was hosting Rap-apalooza.

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