Our Northwest

Beaver State is safest for drivers

Friday, January 24, 2014by  Jon Osterberg

Oregon is the safest state in the country for drivers, and Washington ranks right behind, according to a new report.
   Oregon and Illinois tied for having the most basic highway-safety laws, 12, and Washington has 11. The laws mandate things like drunk driving, seatbelts, texting behind the wheel, and child safety seats.
   The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety noted four laws that Washington lacks, all involving tougher teen-driver restrictions.
   Besides Oregon and Washington, California also ranks among the 10 safest states, while Idaho earns a middle ranking. Montana has what the Advocates call a “dangerous lack of basic safety laws.”
Subcompact crash tests: None of the 2013-14 subcompact cars subjected to recent crash tests fared well.
   The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested 11 cars, and the highest rating was merely “acceptable,” earned by the Chevy Spark. No vehicles earned a “good” rating.
   Six of the cars earned a “poor” rating, including the popular Nissan Versa. Four earned “marginal” ratings.
   Other “poor” ratings went to the Honda Fit, Fiat 500, Hyundai Accent, Mitsubishi Mirage, and Toyota Prius C.

Evel Knievel re-enacted: Daredevils will attempt to jump Idaho’s Snake River Canyon in September, a stunt that failed famously for Evel Knievel in 1974.
   Hollywood stuntman Eddie Braun will attempt a rocket-powered jump Sept. 1. One week later, Texas motorcycle stuntman Ed Beckley will do the same from the opposite side of the river, where Knievel launched 40 years ago.
   Knievel’s much-publicized stunt went awry when his rocket-cycle’s parachute deployed prematurely, dumping him in the bottom of the 500-foot-deep canyon before a live closed-circuit TV audience. He survived with minor injuries.

More Sherman: In case the news media hasn’t beaten Seahawk Richard Sherman’s angry post-game outburst to death, Sen. John McCain has now weighed in.
   In a Phoenix radio interview reported by USA Today, McCain said, “Everybody is such a (Peyton) Manning fan and that loudmouth from Seattle sort of epitomizes the Seattle team to me.”
   Meanwhile, an audio recording has surfaced that confirms Sherman’s version of his post-interception encounter with 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. Sherman approaches Crabtree, extends his hand, and is heard to say, “Hell of a game! Hell of a game!” Crabtree then shoves Sherman’s facemask away.

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