How Safe Is Your Window Glazing?

When it comes to windows, glass is glass, right? Wrong. Several different types of window glass have been used over the years and, as a general rule, the older the glass the more dangerous it’s likely to be if it breaks on contact.

The real culprit is annealed glass, the most basic type of flat glass which is made via a slow cooling process. The trouble with it is that when annealed glass breaks, it tends to break into large shards, like knives, which can cause serious injury.

In one recent incident, a Boston youngster whose arm went through a glass pane lost a third of his blood in three minutes and required 100 stitches to save him.

By contrast, toughened or laminated glass types are not only more resistant to breakage but also, if they shatter, they do so in a way that is less likely to cause serious injury.

These days, all code-compliant buildings have to use the safer glasses but homes built before 1970, when state and federal laws were changed, may still have annealed glass.

If you have an older home, consider getting a glazing expert to check your window type. If it’s annealed, replace it or get it coated with safety film.

How To Identify Odometer Fraud

How sure can you be that the odometer mileage shown on that car you’re thinking of buying is an accurate record of how far the vehicle has actually traveled? The shocking truth is that one in ten autos on our roads today have been “clocked” – had their odometer rolled back. That means almost half a million cars are sold with false mileage readings every year. The crime is such a worry that the Department of Transport actually has a special department to deal with it – the Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation (OFI).

The law is blunt and simple on this issue: It’s illegal to disconnect, alter, or reset an odometer with the intention of changing the mileage. If an owner is aware that their mileage is incorrect, they must say so in writing when they transfer title (except if the auto is more than 10 years old).

So, what can you do to check if the number is accurate on a vehicle you’re considering purchasing? Here are five key actions:

  • Compare the figure in the car’s title transfer document to the actual odometer reading. 
  • Check any service and repair records, which all should carry an odometer reading. Look for discrepancies over time. 
  • In older cars with mechanical odometers, be wary if the numbers are not properly aligned. 
  • Get a CARFAX report on the vehicle’s history. A dealer may provide one for free, but the $40 cost is low anyway compared with what’s a risk if you’re scammed. 
  • Check the general condition of the car, especially tires, to see if it matches what you’d expect for the mileage. Worn tires on a car showing less than 20,000 miles is a dead giveaway.

If you discover you’re a victim of odometer fraud, you may be entitled to at least $1,500 compensation, and perhaps substantially more, via a civil lawsuit. Consult an attorney. A person convicted of odometer fraud faces the possibility of a prison term of up to 8 years and/or a substantial fine. If you believe you’ve been the victim of this crime, contact OFI on 202-366-4761 or email them at odometerfraud@dot.gov You can also learn more about mileage rollbacks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at http://www.nhtsa.gov/Odometer-Fraud.

Test Yourself on Federal Flag Code

June 14 is Flag Day, which, in turn is part of National Flag Week. But what do you know about its purpose and the rules for displaying flags?

The date commemorates the day in 1777 when Congress replaced the British symbols of the Grand Union flag with the stars and stripes – 13, one for each state at that time. The annual commemoration of the American Flag actually began in 1916.

The Federal Flag Code, which is Title 4 of the United States Code includes the following rules for displaying the flag: 

  • It can be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated; otherwise only from sunrise to sunset. 
  • The flag should not touch anything beneath it and never used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. 
  • It shouldn’t be draped over a vehicle, train or boat. 
  • The flag should not be displayed with the union component down, except as a signal of dire distress. 
  • It should not be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding or carrying anything.

Like to know more? You can download a full, 17-page document with all the rules here: http://tinyurl.com/flag-guide