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News Roundup: Death by Selfie, Hacked Hybrids and Burning Buses

A hacking risk for an electric car’s companion app, a revolutionary patent for airline seating and telling selfie statistics—this week in travel news.

Selfie deaths more common than shark attacks this year

Matador Network reports that, in the past year, selfie deaths outnumbered deaths from shark attacks.

Selfie deaths: 12
Shark attack fatalities: 8

Whether or not this statistic is surprising is up for debate. What’s certain is that the first person to die from a shark attack while taking a selfie will live on in legend.

CNN reports that India, the world leader in selfie-related deaths, has started enforcing “no-selfie zones” in high risk areas to curb fatalities. 40% of selfie deaths in the past three years have occurred in India. 

Nissan disables Leaf app amid hacking risk

BBC News reports Nissan has suspended app service to its line of electric cars after hacking concerns were raised. The companion app allows drivers to control heating and A/C and view trip details. A flaw in the software doesn’t require the user to verify his or her identity; it only requires a vehicle ID number. This hypothetically allows a third party to remotely access recent trip information and run down a car’s battery. The issue was first flagged a month ago, but Nissan took no action until recently after details were posted online. Nissans electric vans are also effected.

Megabus explosion

Lucas Peterson of the New York Times’ Frugal Traveler column witnessed firsthand a fire on a Megabus en route from Chicago to Milwaukee. Lucas live tweeted the whole ordeal. Many passengers lost hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of valuables in the blaze.

Megabus policy states that it is liable to reimburse only up to $250 worth of damage or loss on luggage. This is a good reminder to keep all valuables and important documents on your person whenever possible when traveling. And maybe consider some form of baggage or traveler’s insurance. You never know what might happen.

Republic files for bankruptcy 

Travel Skills, a travel news and tips blog, reports that Republic Airways has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Republic Airways is the holding company for regional carriers United Express, Delta Connection and American Eagle. Republic stated on their website that operations would continue as normal throughout court proceedings, so customers don’t need to worry. 

Airbus patents bench seat design

In response to seat shrinkage and waistline growth, Airbus has patented a design that could render obsolete the individual airline seat. The new designs is a bench with reconfigurable seat belts that can be moved to accommodate obese passengers and small children.

CNN reports on the increasing issues facing airlines and a growing number of obese passengers. Passengers have been required to buy a second seat, been denied boarding and even have been the subject of a lawsuit against Etihad. Hopefully this new design will clear up these and other issues, but one wonders if passengers will be charged by the inch with these new seats.

Uber driver arrested after shooting spree

Jason Brian Dalton was arrested after three separate shootings in Kalamazoo, Michigan that left six dead and two critically injured. Dalton was a driver with Uber, and allegedly picked up and dropped off passengers between shootings. None of the victims had been passengers. The attacks appear to have been random.

BBC News reports that Uber had performed a standard background check and found no criminal record—police have since confirmed this. Dalton will likely face multiple counts of first degree and attempted murder.

 





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