Best of Our Blogs: Report blasts Airbnb; Deadly days for teen driving


A national hotel trade association on Wednesday said Miami has become a hub for “illegal lodging businesses” as a result of the rise of online room-sharing and rental services like Airbnb.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association released a report last week that found property owners who listed their units for rent more than 360 days per year accounted for more than $47 million, or nearly 40 percent, of Airbnb’s revenue in the Miami area.

Airbnb is one of a handful of lodging booking sites that have been targeted by Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon.

In 2014, Gannon filed suit against Air BNB Inc., HomeAway Inc., TripAdvisor LLC and CouchSurfing International Inc. The suit alleged the companies failed to register as rental dealers and did not collect or remit the required taxes for short-term rentals they booked of private homes.

— Jennifer Sorentrue, Malled!

“100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers begin; texting linked to crashes

What’s the biggest cause of vehicle crashes involving teen drivers? It’s distractions, finds an updated study released Wednesday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

It’s pretty easy to guess what those distractions are. The top three are talking or attending to other passengers in the vehicle; talking, texting or operating a cell phone, and looking at something inside the vehicle.

Crashes for teen drivers increase significantly during the summer because teens are driving more.

Over the past five years, more than 5,000 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the “100 Deadliest Days,” the period starting at Memorial Day when teen crash deaths historically climb.

During the “100 Deadliest Days,” an average of 1,022 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers. The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 16-19 increased by 16 percent per day compared to the other days of the year.

This year’s follow-up report from the foundation is part of the most comprehensive eight-year research project ever conducted into crash videos of teen drivers.

The report uncovered a disturbing trend, In the moments leading up to a crash, teens were more likely to be texting or looking down at the phone than talking on it.

Texting creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted, research by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found.

— Susan Salisbury, Protecting Your Pocket


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