1. If you own a Ram pickup truck, or a Dodge or Chrysler SUV, your vehicle might have defective steering! Fear not. Under a government deal that Fiat Chrysler just struck with regulators (including a record $105 million fine), the company has to buy back your vehicle. So get on that right now!
2. Speaking of defective cars, rental car companies can rent you one that’s defective and under recall (as we’ve noted many times before but check out this week’s disturbing Today Show piece.) If you go to this website with the car’s VIN number, you can check if it's been recalled. And then – ask for another car!
3. Speaking of the Today Show and cars, this morning the program featured a segment about your rights in a traffic stop. Apparently you do have to turn over license, registration and insurance information. You do have to get out of the car if asked. You don’t have to let police search your car without cause. On the other hand, if you are “driving while black,” a whole set of other terrible things can happen. Here’s an interesting App, to provide those "targeted for traffic stops [with] helpful information and tools to improve traffic stop experiences, safety, accountability and justice.”
4. Meanwhile, if you find yourself in need of a hospital this summer (hopefully not due to a car crash or excessive police force), Consumer Reports’ new hospital ratings might provide some guidance – at least if you have any choice of hospital! But also know that you’ll have a hard time finding out whether your hospital has enough nurses, a major safety indicator. Indeed, a new report “by New Yorkers for Patient & Family Empowerment found Syracuse's Upstate University Hospital is the only major hospital in the state that posts nurse-to-patient ratios for its various units on its website.” I’m sure New York isn't unusual.
5. Nurses don’t get the respect they should. Nor do Uber drivers. (See our earlier piece.) During your next Uber ride this summer, ask they driver if he or she receives any benefits from the $50 billion company they work for. Hint: they don’t. No benefits, no days off. No wonder protests against Uber continue worldwide.
6. And whether you prefer Uber or taxis, if you find yourself in New York City, don’t let either of them take you to New York’s LaGuardia Airport – at least until 2021 when the new $4 billion makeover is complete. It’s a mess over there. Find another airport.
7. Switching topics – be careful what you - and your dog - put in your mouth(s).
8. Who knows how many will be flocking to Winsted Connecticut for the September 26 opening of the American Museum of Tort Law. Better buy your bus ticket now!
9. And if you are looking for a good read, we can’t recommend enough this page-turner: Watchdogs and Whistleblowers: A Reference Guide to Consumer Activism. It's an $89 book but here you can read the most important chapter – the one about the role (and history) of consumer activism fighting “tort reform.”
10. Can’t think of anything else. So just have fun. We’ll be back before you know it.