Issue 12(42) / December 2010

Nissan Versa gets the lowest safety score in the US.
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Nissan Versa gets the lowest safety score in the US

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator David Strickland unveiled recently an enhanced 5-Star Safety Ratings System for new vehicles and released the safety ratings for the first model year 2011 vehicles tested under the program.
Nissan Versa gets the lowest safety score in the US

The upgraded ratings system will now evaluate side pole crash testing and crash prevention-technologies. And, for the first time, it will use female crash test dummies to simulate crash scenarios involving women, not just men.

“More stars equal safer cars,” said Secretary LaHood. “With our upgraded Five-Star Safety Ratings System, we’re raising the bar on safety. Through new tests, better crash data, and higher standards, we are making the safety ratings tougher and more meaningful for consumers.” Vehicle safety ratings range from 1 to 5 stars, with 1 star being the lowest and 5 stars the highest. Because so many vehicles had reached the highest rating under the old rating criteria, and because the new standards are much more rigorous, not all previously rated 5-star vehicles will remain at 5 stars. The new 5-Star Safety Ratings System evaluates the safety of passenger cars, SUVs, vans and pickup trucks in three broad areas – frontal crash, side crash, and rollover resistance. For model year 2011, NHTSA will rate 24 passenger cars, 20 sport utility vehicles, two vans and nine pickups under the new ratings system. “We want consumers to embrace these new safety technologies as a way to make vehicles safer,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland. “We believe electronic stability control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning offer significant safety benefits and consumers should consider them when buying a new car.”

One of the most significant changes to the ratings program for consumers is the addition of an Overall Vehicle Score for each vehicle tested. The Overall Vehicle Score combines the results of a frontal crash test, side crash tests and rollover resistance tests and compares those results to the average risk of injury and potential for vehicle rollover of other vehicles.

NHTSA recommends consumers consider vehicles with crash avoidance technologies that meet the 5-Star Safety Ratings minimum performance tests, such as forward collision warning (FCW), lane departure warning (LDW), and electronic stability control (ESC). All of the 2011 model year vehicles currently rated have ESC as standard, except for the Nissan Versa, in which it is optional.

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More information, including the full list of newly-rated vehicles is available at the official website for the Federal government’s 5-Star Safety Ratings Program, www.safercar.gov. At Safercar.gov, consumers can also find comprehensive information about safe driving, vehicle defects, safety recalls, and passenger safety.

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Agent charged with stealing insurance payments

The owner of a Hudson, N.H., insurance company, whose relative admitted to stealing $140,000 in workers’ compensation premium payments last summer, is accused of taking $72,000 for insurance from seven businesses that he allegedly never purchased policies for.

Stephen Drohan, 47, was indicted on 14 felony theft counts and one forgery count for allegedly stealing from the companies, mostly in the trucking industry, since 2008, according to a report in the Nashua Telegraph, citing court records.

Drohan, who operated SJD Insurance Agency from his home, is accused of stealing from CCN Enterprises of Merrimack, N.H.; Otis Garnett Trucking of Mont Vernon, N.H.; Kruger Excavation and Trucking of Pembroke, N.H.; Rangley Enterprises of Kingston, N.H.; Crisp Contracting of Nashua; Z.M. Zahn and Sons of Milford, N.H.; and J&A&E Transport, whose address was unknown, according to the report.

The forgery charge stems from Drohan’s alleged forging of a company official’s signature on insurance documents.

The newspaper also reported, citing public documents, that Stephen Drohan is related to Scott Drohan, 47, who pleaded guilty last summer to taking $140,000 in workers’ compensation premiums from a local firm. He admitted to misappropriating the funds through Juskel Services, his Hudson, N.H.-based payroll company, by failing to pay taxes and insurance premiums for Burke Rehold, a Billrica, Mass.-based trucking firm, according to the newspaper. He faces up to 27 months in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for Jan. 27, 2011.

Scott Drohan, out on bail awaiting his sentencing date, also is accused in Massachusetts of taking money for jobs he never completed through another company, Scott Drohan Tile & Construction, the newspaper said.

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