New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a radio show that he would like to post the pictures and names of drivers who run red lights and commit other traffic offences in the city. Bloomberg said it should "shame" traffic offenders in order to dissuade people from breaking laws. The city had proposed setting up 40 speed-monitoring cameras to levy fines on violators, but the bill was overturned by legislators in Albany, the state's capital. State approval is required for New York City to introduce new methods of dishing out traffic fines. New York City does have cameras at many intersections in order to catch people who run red lights or use bus lanes.
Pulitzer Prize winning US critic Dan Neil challenged Tesla electric car chief Elon Musk to a bet: $1000 that Musk wouldn't meet the July 1 production deadline for the Model S sedan.
But, as one US observer said, you don't bet against the guy who owns the casino. Musk took the bet and said he'd pay Neil $1 million if the Model S didn't come in on time. It did. (See P13). Neil paid the $1000 to the humanitarian group Doctors without Borders. He said: "I lost, and happily so. As a proponent of electric mobility, I have said many times that I wanted to lose the bet ... As a critic, I'll reserve judgment on the Model S until I get a chance to drive it."
Insurer tries signs
American insurance company Allstate has added "Watch for Motorcycles" signs at intersections in more than 30 cities this year after studying which road markers may be most effective at helping prevent accidents. One of the signs is in Baltimore, notable because the average age of motorcyclists killed in accidents there in 2010 was 37, the youngest of any major city and five years below the US average. Overall, almost half of US motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. Motorcycle fatalities have risen in the last couple years in the US despite a record low road toll. An increase in alcohol-related crashes and untrained riders (higher fuel prices got more people out of their cars) are given as the main reasons for the spike in deaths.
Long lines, short tempers, small staff and big demand make for a hellish experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles in the US. But Tennessee is looking to technology for relief. The state's 26 DMV offices have installed 76 Apple iPads for drivers renewing licences. Each iPad has apps installed that let drivers get their renewed licences within minutes. They can also change their addresses and will be able to schedule road-test appointments.
Surviving's reward enough
The Mongol Rally charity event starts in Europe and ends in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Unlike most rallies, there is no defined route or support staff. Participants must simply survive long enough to make it to the finish line in one piece - either in a vehicle with an engine displacing no more than 1.2 litres or an emergency services vehicle such as an ambulance or fire truck. At the end of the rally, the surviving vehicles are either auctioned or donated to cash-strapped local organisations. Around 300 teams will attempt the continental crossing, each supporting their own charities along the way. Go to the Mongol Rally site.
Car sites' reverse psychology
Internet auction sites eBay Motors and AutoNation are finding new ways to sell cars online. They teamed up for the first time in the US in March when they tried selling vehicles for half price. Now they are back in a promotion that sees the price for certain vehicles drop every hour until they're sold. Vehicles were posted with an initial Buy Now price that dropped by $500 every hour until they were sold.
Collection fit for a prince
The late Prince Rainier III of Monaco amassed a collection of classic, rare and collectible automobiles, among them a 1939 Simca 5, 1980 Citroen CX2400, and 1928 Hispano Suiza. Now his son, Prince Albert II, is putting 38 of the cars up for auction. One of the standout examples is a rare 1973 Camaro export model with 43,000km on the clock. At the high end is a 1924 Panhard & Levassor X47 limo with a Weymann body, expected to fetch around $70,000.
The Chinese-Japanese firm that bought Swedish carmaker Saab failed to secure the rights to the name Saab and its logo. National Electric Vehicle Sweden acquired Saab's physical assets, but not the moniker. Truckmaker Scania and defence company Saab AB own the name and logo rights. The parties are in talks.