(NewsUSA) - They've reached what you could call the braking point.
Fueled by anger over Uber and other ride-booking services' own warnings that their drivers may pose a "risk," critics are calling for a "Passenger Bill of Rights" that would serve as a stop-gap until lawmakers act to officially crack down on the app-based industry's most egregious safety issues.
"By using the services," Uber states, "you acknowledge that you may be exposed to situations involving third-party providers" -- meaning, their drivers -- "that are potentially unsafe, offensive, harmful to minors, or otherwise objectionable, and that use of third-party providers arranged or scheduled using the services is at your own risk."
And from Lyft, another top industry player: "Users understand and accept that Lyft has no control over the identity or actions of the riders and drivers. . . Drivers and riders use the services at their own risk."
The Bill of Rights intentionally includes all "ground transportation," not just app-based services like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and Whisk. That jibes with the stance of the non-profit National Limousine Association, which suggested the guidelines as part of its "Ride Responsibly" campaign, that "everyone be held to the same standards."
"As the global voice of the private driver transportation industry," said Gary Buffo, the NLA's president, "we feel it is our obligation to promote a safer and more accountable system for passengers and operators."
Among the rights passengers would be entitled to:
* Proof of commercial-for-hire licensing and certifications.
* A safe and courteous driver covered by commercial vehicle insurance (which ride-booking drivers may or may not have).
* A fully vetted and trained driver who's undergone official criminal background checks and pre-hire drug testing.
* Air-conditioning on request.
* Fully functioning seat belts.
* A quoted fare and final charge that match the agreed upon amount.
* Assurance that the vehicle has undergone regular inspections and is certified as being safe.
With a new Harris Poll showing a whopping 91 percent of Americans believe there should be mandatory rules and regulations for ride-hailing drivers, the NLA also stepped up pressure on lawmakers by setting up a website (www.rideresponsibly.org) to provide a forum for public debate on the issue.
TOP ARTISTS, WESTERN EVENTS MAKES FOR FUN 4 DAYS AT SYCAMORE SPRINGS RANCH
LOCUST GROVE, Okla. â€“ A beautiful spring leads to incredible nighttime views in picturesque eastern Oklahoma.
Thereâ€™s no better setting for star gazing than in the rolling hills near this historic community. The stars get a little brighter during Cord McCoyâ€™s Western Days, set for Thursday, April 16-Sunday, April 19, at Sycamore Springs Ranch just south of Locust Grove.
â€śWhen I came up with the idea for Western Days, I wanted to attract people to the lifestyle we live every day and show everyone all the things that go into a true Western festival,â€ť said McCoy, a champion rodeo cowboy who, with brother Jet, was a three-time fan favorite on â€śThe Amazing Race,â€ť a CBS-TV reality series. â€śWhat weâ€™ve come up with is so much more.
â€śWeâ€™re going to have great country Western artists the first three nights, including legendary Red Stegall, David Frizzell and the Jason Roberts Band. Iâ€™m excited about that, because itâ€™s a great way to conclude a full day.â€ť
Western Days is loaded with plenty of opportunities for festival-goers. In addition to the plethora of events going on at the various arenas on the sprawling Sycamore Springs Ranch, a nightly rodeo will be part of each dayâ€™s festivities. In fact, the event will conclude at 6 p.m. Sunday with the Cord McCoy Bull Riding Challenge, which will feature a $10,000 bounty bull and Frank Newsome Freestyle Bullfights.
â€śWe want to make every day exciting,â€ť McCoy said. â€śThatâ€™s why weâ€™re having the concerts and why we want to feature rodeo every evening.â€ť
This is the perfect venue for cowboys of all types â€“ from those who have lived their lives horseback to those who have just dreamed about it. Thatâ€™s why there are numerous festivities taking place throughout each day: Western events and competitions, chuck wagon feasts and a daily exotic trail ride across the beautiful Sycamore Springs Ranch.
A Western trade show will be a major part of each dayâ€™s activities. The opening day will feature a Western showdown, ranch sorting practice, the Ultimate Western Challenge and Dick Pieper Horsemanship, appealing to all levels of cowboys.
Fridayâ€™s festivities will include those and a cattle dog demonstration, the ranch sorting competition, a team roping championship, a steer roping contest and a miniature rodeo tour. Added on Saturday will be the Silver Select Horse Sale and a barrel racing challenge, while Sunday will include the Western Worship Service and a ranch rodeo.
â€śI was raised around all this and love it, but I wanted it to be more,â€ť McCoy said. â€śIâ€™ve traveled around the world three times, and I wanted to appeal to every person that has ever watched a Western or ever thought about being a cowboy.
â€śI want the guy who wears a suit every day to come and enjoy and trade out his business shoes for cowboy boots for a few days. I think this is something heâ€™ll enjoy, too.â€ť
(NewsUSA) - Spring is in the air, which means it's not only time to start deep cleaning your home, but ensuring it's protected against damage caused by Old Man Winter.
For homeowners who have gone through especially harsh weather (a shout-out to the Northeast and New England seems to be in order), the spring thaw that occurs from record-breaking snowfall can result in irreparable water damage if not taken care of properly.
For roofs, it's important to check for ice damming. This happens when snow on the upper portion of your roof melts and freezes on the lower half, creating a wall-like formation around the gutter. Water then becomes trapped behind the ice dam and can leak into your home. In addition, water-stained ceilings, drywall and damp areas in the basement, cracks in concrete floors and musty, wet odors can also mean trouble and should be checked.
To help find these sometimes-hard-to-see signs, you might want to consider investing in a thermal camera. This pocket-size device plugs into smartphones and puts technology that was once unaffordable into consumers' hands.
It works like this: all objects radiate heat or "infrared light" that can be seen by true thermal cameras even in the absence of visible light. While this technology has primarily been used by law enforcement and the military, one company has brought the cost down to an affordable price for the everyday consumer.
Seek Thermal, a California-based technology company, has created a thermal camera that works with a free app to turn invisible heat energy into an image that can be seen from your phone or tablet. This, the company says, allows homeowners to easily expose and record water damage, so something can be done about it before having to make costly repairs.
For one Boston custom home builder, the Seek Thermal camera has made a difference in how he approaches his business.
"With the Seek camera we're able to isolate the exposure without cutting holes in the sheetrock," says Chris Rapczynski, president of Sleeping Dog Properties. "Now, with the thermal imaging camera, we're able to quickly walk in, assess whether the water has infiltrated a wall cavity, and all of that can be done in minutes.
"Having a thermal imaging camera bridges the gap between applying some effort and having certainty the effort that's been applied is the fix," says Rapczynski. "And the clients just want the fix."
For more information, visit www.thermal.com.