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The Gridlock Guy- Doug Turnbull

  • So much attention is paid to, well, the lack of attention drivers are paying behind the wheel and the havoc that carelessness causes. But what about the wheels themselves? Those deserve equal notice. Bridgestone Tires flew some other media and me out to test some of their new tires at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth last week. We tested three different types of tires on four different courses to compare Bridgestone’s new lines for passenger, truck, and high performance tires in varying conditions. NFL Pro Bowlers DeAngelo Williams and Vince Wilfork (with his two Super Bowl rings) ran the same tests the day before. “I’m thinking, ‘It’s the car and not the tires’,” Williams said about ride performance, after driving both slicked-down sporty courses and rugged off-road terrain. He noted all the enhancements people make to vehicles’ bodies, engines, brakes, and shocks to make their rides better. After the test, he understood the importance of good rubber. “In this case, the car had to keep up with the tires.” Wilfork, after teasing Williams’ cautious driving, likened having good tires to having the proper football cleats for playing in rain and snow — they are essential. Wilfork’s many games with the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., give him authority on the issue. But what can normal drivers do in everyday conditions to maximize fuel mileage, decrease the chance for flats, and prolong the life of their tires? “The most important thing about tires is inflation pressure. The tire can’t function without the proper inflation pressure — they can’t give you the life that you want,” Keith Willcome, project engineer for Bridgestone Americas, explained. Automakers list the recommended PSI for a vehicle’s tires on the info sticker inside the driver’s side door. He said that the PSI on tires’ sidewalls is the maximum pressure for that tire, not the optimum one for the vehicle model. “Check them once a week — when you get gas is a good time to do that.” Keep a simple pressure gauge in the car at all times and out in the open as a reminder. Under-inflated tires can overheat and damage the side walls and they get lousy gas mileage. Willcome also said that while checking the pressure, drivers can also visually inspect tires for other signs of trouble. “Look at your tire and make sure you don’t see any cuts, scrapes, bulges, bumps, cracks forming.” Then there’s the penny trick, he said, which at the very least can show when a tire tread is legally on its last legs. “Basically you take a penny and stick Lincoln’s head upside down in the tread. If you see all of Lincoln’s head, then your tire is worn out.” A tread depth of less than 2/32 of an inch on normal vehicles is illegal and very dangerous to that car and others around it. Georgia law also says buses and tractor trailers must have 4/32 of an inch of tread depth. Proper tread depth allows tires to grip the road and handle rain and snow properly. Willcome said a driver should know best when tires are amiss. “If you’re going to have a tire problem, oftentimes that will be preceded by some kind of vibration.” Willcome continued, “You drive it every day, you know how it feels, so pay attention to how it feels. If something changes, you need to evaluate that — maybe take it to a mechanic, take it to your local tire professional. Let them take a look at it and make sure it’s good.” Regular alignments and rotations, which you can also tell you might need when the car is vibrating, help keep tire wear even and prolong tire duration. Having mechanics regularly up close with your tires means they are more likely to notice irregularities. Drivers themselves do not have to be experts. “Even if you don’t understand what’s going on, so you know when you need service — if there’s something going on with a tire, a belt, anything on your car, you just want to be aware.” Then Willcome really sold the point: “Just like distracted driving is bad, driving without awareness of your vehicle is not a good thing. Just pay attention and make sure your vehicle is up to snuff.”
  • This last week-plus has been filled with remembrances of the I-85 bridge collapse one year ago. Tens of thousands of people had to alter their commutes on a dime, jamming the side roads in northeast Atlanta, but also increasing MARTA ridership. The I-85 closure awakened many to the conveniences — and then the necessity — of Atlanta’s decades-old mass transit service. The closure could have lasted for months, but GDOT commandeered a rebuild that opened I-85 by mid-May. MARTA stats show more rail usage during the closure in April, peaking at nearly 6 million mid-month. But then it gradually tapered down to the time of the bridge’s re-opening in May, and bottomed out at 5.4 million during the summer travel season in July. Bus trips decreased during the bridge’s closure, since the roads were so jammed. Interestingly enough, the most-traveled time for MARTA in 2017 was the end of October — far-removed from the I-85 closure. MARTA rail ridership is down to 4.9 million, as of February, lower than any number in 2017 before, during, or after the I-85 closure. “That decline in overall ridership is seen in systems nationwide,” MARTA’s Senior Communications Director, Stephany Fisher, told the AJC. “There are several factors driving this trend, including lower gas prices, more affordable car prices and good financing rates. More on-demand transportation options are available, such as Uber and Lyft, and while more people are moving back into cities, they are depending less on public transportation.” Armed with new CEO Jeffrey Parker (no relation to previous agency head Keith Parker), MARTA is working to revamp main bus line routes and its Emergency Operations Center, so they can better handle situations that interrupt rail service, Fisher said. The State Legislature’s passing of the transportation bill adds more push to mass transit expansion in Metro Atlanta. GA Commute Options is an agency that works to decrease people driving alone in cars, thus improving traffic and air quality. Their Senior Marketing Administrator, Joel Wascher, said they went in to hurry-up mode when I-85 shut down. “We certainly saw a spike in program participation and registration, not only in that month, but the following months as well,” Wascher said of the incentive-based programs they offer to acquaint commuters with mass transit, carpooling, walking, biking, and telecommuting. Like MARTA, GA Commute Options saw spikes a year ago, but also fluctuations in their programs outside of the bridge collapse, Wascher said. “A lot of our incentives are temporary. It’s hard to say we kept all those users.” One program success story is that of Suzanne Breedlove, who, with her husband, David, had driven every day from Newnan to Georgia Tech, dropped him off, then slogged up to her job in Buckhead. Then I-85 literally crashed and burned and she knew they had to try something different. The Breedloves decided to drive from Newnan to the College Park MARTA Station, take the train to Midtown, and then have her ride it the rest of the way to Buckhead. She couldn’t believe the results: their collective commute decreased an hour to an hour and a half each day. “It just cut our travel time tremendously. It went to where we could get in in about an hour and a half now, on a not-so-good day and about an hour and 15 [minutes] normally,” Breedlove said. And they had the added benefit of stress-free quality time together, so they stayed with MARTA after I-85 re-opened. “We were able to ride up there together, so we were able to talk and catch up, I guess — what’s going on in the week and that kind of thing. It really ended up working out better for us.” The Breedloves are saving money on gas and wear and tear on their vehicle. And they are saving even more, because both of their employers subsidise their MARTA cards. Wascher said that is the biggest growth he has seen at GA Commute Options. “I think one of the lasting factors has been the way that employers have thought about working with their employees on commuting options.” Wascher said they offer consultation for companies that not only want to leverage deals on MARTA costs for their employees, but also for teleworking. GA Commute Options offers worksite advisors that share best practices with companies’ HR staffs or managers on how to implement teleworking. With technology evolving at a breakneck pace, teleworking programs are on the rise, which will hopefully cut the number of vehicles on the roads. So the verdict on Atlanta commuting habits after the I-85 collapse is mixed. Some people have stayed with mass transit and many went straight back to the pavement. But the forced need of a traffic plan has leveraged changes on macro levels. Georgia has passed more measures that could expand transit, and employers are more keen than ever to improving their workers’ commutes.
  • Emily Bowman stood up both eagerly and gingerly, holding her cane, and walked to the stage. Her mom, Deb, followed behind just in case Emily needed some help up the stairs. Deb, Emily and Emily’s dad Dale had been sitting for over an hour waiting for Emily’s moment in the sun. On Monday, Feb. 5, Cherokee County female high school athletes celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day with an annual ceremony honoring a current athlete, team, and alumnus from each Cherokee high school. Bowman played basketball at Woodstock high, graduated in 2011, and then went to Kennesaw State University. But everything literally came crashing to a halt on Feb. 13, 2013. While visiting friends in Athens, Emily was walking alongside a road and got struck by a drunk driver, who fled the scene. She suffered severe brain injuries, prompting multiple surgeries and years of therapy. At one point, doctors removed a piece of her skull to relieve brain swelling. The swelling was causing big swings in her bio rhythms. She almost didn’t make it. “We’re just one of the lucky ones, we got to keep her,” her father, who is also WSB Traffic Trooper Dale Bowman said. She eventually moved back home, had to use a wheelchair and was unable to talk. But in the years since, she has learned to walk, talk and read again. Her eventual goal is regained independence. “To persevere means to never give up on doing something, despite the difficulty or the delay in achieving success,” Bowman said from the podium, in her slow and deliberate cadence. As she accepted her honor, the crowd of several hundred teenage girls gave her loud applause and a standing ovation. After the speech at Cherokee High School, they stopped by to talk to her and take pictures. Bowman soaked up the moment. “I had a good time speaking, because I got comments on it after I spoke,” Bowman said, smiling. “And before it, I was nervous, but I guess it all paid off and turned out well.” Bowman’s encouraging words were nearly matched by her humor. She read a Michael Jordan quote during her speech about deciding to climb a wall, instead of turning from it. She then ad libbed, “I hope you never [have to] do that,” which spurred some laughs in the crowd, including her own. After the speech, she laughed about calling Michael Jordan “Michael Jackson”, even though she had practiced reading the speech many times. Her dad smiled, “Every day is something different - she keeps us in stitches.” Emily’s mom said that they hope to get her back into KSU soon in some inclusionary classes and, of course, they will continue therapy, so Emily can get better at her speech and motor movements. But the future could wait a day. Emily Bowman on this Monday was a rock star at the end of this ceremony. Plaque-in-hand, the Bowman family has this as one of many tokens acknowledging what they overcame and how they are examples to others of how determined they are. This family thought they would lose their daughter and there she stood, holding an award, cracking jokes, walking, and flashing her beautiful smile. The drunken indiscretions of one young man in a truck five years ago somehow didn’t take this from them. That’s the biggest trophy in all of this — life. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive airborne anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at doug.turnbull@coxinc.com
  • Last week in this space we discussed the looming possibility of a total hands-free requirement for Georgia drivers using mobile devices behind the wheel. Brand new testing in metro Atlanta frees those same hands from the steering wheel and takes a driver’s feet off of the pedals, sources told WSB and the AJC exclusively. Waymo, Google parent company Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle division, has just begun on Thursday mapping metro Atlanta roads. The governor’s office says this puts Georgia at the forefront in this technology. “With our talented workforce and legacy of innovation, Georgia is at the forefront of the most dynamic, cutting edge industries like autonomous vehicles,” Gov. Nathan Deal said. “We are thrilled to welcome Waymo to our state because fully self-driving vehicle technology holds tremendous potential to improve road safety, and we are proud Georgia is paving the way for the future of transportation.” Waymo uses autonomous cars - that is cars that can drive themselves, but people pilot them during the mapping phase. These cars, which in Atlanta are white Chrysler Pacifica vans with Waymo logos, have lasers that create 3D maps of the roads, curbs, signs and other features. This creates a backbone program that can allow vehicles to drive without any human assistance. These vans create more intricate views than the vans you may have seen before** from Google, which create the Street View on Google Maps. After mapping some parts of Metro Atlanta, they hope to begin testing these vehicles driving themselves. Waymo has not yet released details about this testing. In September, I rode along in a self-driving Tesla on the North Avenue smart corridor - a stretch of road redesigned with traffic signals and other features that communicate with smart cars and smartphones. The ride in that autonomous Tesla sold me on the abilities of self-driving technology. Between the detailed mapping and the car’s response to its 360 degrees of cameras, smart cars really could be a big step in lessening traffic congestion and decreasing wrecks. Waymo’s technology is a step further than current autonomous cars on the road, in that it is aiming for what those in the industry call “level four and level five” abilities. Self-driving cars on the market now still call for some human assistance behind the wheel. The next phase of that is vehicles where the “driver” could just chill in the backseat. That’s level four. The level five phase, those in the industry say, is similar to level four, but allows for this completely “human-less” driving in any kind of condition and in any place. Waymo currently has autonomous vehicle testing in 24 cities and in Arizona. In Arizona they will deploy driverless cars for ride-hailing later this year. That is the next play for Waymo: someone ordering a ride and then being picked up and dropped off with a driverless car. Since 2009, Waymo has been testing this technology and they have used it in production model cars, but also have created their own vehicles. That truly makes them an autonomous, autonomous car company. But autonomous car-use is still miles away from mainstream. People enjoy the independence of driving, but that urge seems to be waning. Drivers are pining to use other devices and do other things behind the wheel. A big roadblock for this technology is the cost, which right now is high. And another is in this transitional phase, where human drivers and robots are in the same space. Autonomous cars reliably react to other cars, no matter who is driving. But the environment works best when the cars can communicate with each other and make traffic move better. Studies show that about 94 percent of crashes involve human error. Aside from convenience, self-driving cars can make commuting safer. And that may be the biggest win in all of this. From a Waymo spokesperson, “Now that we have the world’s first fleet of fully self-driving cars on public roads, we’re focused on taking our technology to a wide variety of cities and environments. We’re looking forward to our testing in metro Atlanta and bringing this lifesaving technology to more people in more places.” Doug Turnbull, the PM drive airborne anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at doug.turnbull@coxinc.com
  • Atlanta has a few “traffic-geddons” every year, but Monday’s National Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium could end up being one of the biggest Atlanta traffic problems of 2018. Keep in mind, we’re in early January. Atlanta has known for a long time this game and the surrounding fan events were coming, but now the Georgia Bulldogs are playing in it, with the nearby Alabama Crimson Tide as the opponent. That factor alone means the local energy and traffic will be at a fever pitch. But now President Donald Trump is attending. This will be a traffic “bomb cyclone.” Trump’s intentions to attend surfaced Wednesday, as fans were scrambling to make plans to get tickets and make arrangements. This inspires an initial reaction of, “You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me!” Traffic through Downtown Atlanta will already be packed for the 8 p.m. game, the preceding Darius Rucker pre-game concert in Centennial Olympic Park (gates open at noon), arriving traffic for the next-day/weeklong market at AmericasMart, the start of school for Atlanta Public Schools and the first day of classes at Georgia Tech and Georgia State. The presidential motorcade draws road blocks for its entire stretch between either Dobbins AFB or Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the respective president’s destination. The Georgia State Patrol not only blocks the road the motorcade travels upon, but also the entrances to the said route. With I-75/85, I-20, Northside Drive and other roads surrounding The Benz as packed as can be expected, blocking them for 10 to 20 minutes or maybe more will no doubt cause extreme inconveniences during Trump’s trip both to and from the game. There really is no driving alternate to these jams. The president’s arrival could mirror when former Vice President Joe Biden came to speak at an Atlanta synagogue in September 2015, when the Falcons also had a preseason game and Georgia Tech was playing at home. Yes, traffic was a big mess then. To make matters worse, the weather will be miserable. WSB Radio meteorologist Kirk Mellish says cold rain and potentially a wintry mix could slow traffic even more, with temperatures right around the freezing mark. We know what rain does to a normal commute. If the rain were to turn into something more frozen, that could really me the poison cherry on top of the traffic nightmare sundae on Monday. There are two best bets for travel. If you aren’t going to the game or surrounding events, check with your employer about telecommuting, to keep yourself out of the gridlock. And if you do have business in Downtown Atlanta, particularly at the game or concerts themselves, take MARTA. MARTA announced Thursday that it is running a weekday schedule Sunday and is running extra trains Monday, with the last ones at 2 a.m. Tuesday. Mercedes-Benz Stadium has some of the best public transit access in the country - use it. And MARTA suggests buying your roundtrip tickets ahead of time, so you stand in line one less time at the Breeze Card machines. Another externality of the president’s presence is that it makes life especially rough for us traffic reporters just trying to cover the madness. The Secret Service requires GDOT to cut off its entire live camera system, preventing us from seeing the jams and problems in real time. And with Air Force One bearing down, there is a Temporary Flight Restriction for several hours, keeping both the WSB Skycopter and Newschopper 2 grounded for the duration. We can only pray that the rain holds off during the height of PM drive, that people take MARTA and telecommute, and that maybe, just maybe Trump take a helicopter from the airport. That isn’t likely. So we will just pray even louder, “Go Dawgs!”

News

  • An 17-year-old faces a vehicular homicide charges nearly a month after police said she crashed a car, killing her classmate on senior skip day.  Prosecutors said Cristina Pavon-Baker was driving at 106 mph when she crashed a Mini Cooper into a tree and killed 18-year-old passenger Makayla Penn, Channel 2 Action News reported.  The March 26 crash occurred on I-75 North at the Jonesboro Road exit in Clayton County. The vehicle, “traveling at a high rate of speed,” failed to navigate the turn on the exit ramp, went airborne, overturned several times and ended up hitting a tree, uprooting it in a wooded area, the GSP said at the time of the crash. Pavon-Baker was cut out of the car and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for her injuries.  Prosecutors said Pavon-Baker was on Snapchat before the crash.  The two girls attended Community Christian School and were participating in senior skip day at the time of the crash.  The judge gave Pavon-Baker a $31,000 bond and ordered her to surrender her passport, Channel 2 reported. She was also ordered to not drive and to stay off of Snapchat. 
  • Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, has withdrawn his name from consideration, multiple news outlets are reporting. >> MORE COVERAGE: Embattled VA nominee Ronny Jackson accused of drunken driving, drug use | Jamie Dupree: Trump pick to head VA in trouble as Senators postpone hearing | Senate postpones hearing for Trump VA pick Ronny Jackson amid 'serious allegations' | More trending news 
  • The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has now put a face on a suitcase full of bones found last year in Butts County. A forensic artist has created a sketch of what an unidentified woman might have looked like. Last December, a suitcase full of bones was discovered in the woods along I-75 in Butts County. A forensic anthropologist determined bones were those of an African American female but age range is wide. Investigators say she could have been anywhere from 19 to 45-years-old.  She had a broken ankle at some time in her life. So far, investigators call it an undetermined death.   They aim to find out who she was and they hope artist Kelly Lawson's sketch will jog some memories.  Channel 2's Berndt Petersen spoke to Lawson about her responsibility and the unique feature that could make the woman easy to recognize, on Channel 2 Action News at 4:45.  TRENDING STORIES: Woman kills husband's mistress then turns gun on herself in 'calculated, planned attack': Police Damaging winds and small hail possible as storms head our way Teen was driving 106 mph when she crashed, killed best friend, prosecutors say A skeleton was found in a suitcase along I-75 in Butts County. A forensic artist says the victim may have looked like this. 445 pic.twitter.com/6VUkLyJ7yQ — Berndt Petersen (@BPetersenWSB) April 26, 2018
  • Channel 2 Action News has learned a Fort Valley State University employee at the center of sexual misconduct and GBI criminal investigations has resigned from her position. Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Nicole Carr obtained Alecia Johnson’s personnel file through an open records request. We’re breaking down what's next for everyone involved in this ongoing story, LIVE at 5 on Channel 2 Action News. Johnson, the University President’s former Executive Assistant, worked for the state institution since 2004, receiving consistent, stellar reviews. TRENDING STORIES: Investigators: Teacher accused of sex with student also had heroin in school Is legal pot a good thing? We travel to Colorado to get the real story LIST: Well-known serial killers of the last 50 years Last year, her salary increased to $64,000 with a promotion to oversee university special events, in addition to her duties in the President’s office. Johnson submitted a resignation letter on April 18, the same day the national office for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated revealed its own probe into sexual misconduct allegations involving a Fort Valley State University employee who is also a graduate member of the sorority.
  • The Latest on a Wisconsin refinery explosion that injured several people (all times local): 2:15 p.m. Authorities have expanded the evacuation zone around a Wisconsin refinery that was rocked by an explosion and are now saying anyone within a three-mile (five-kilometer) radius should leave. Douglas County authorities also say those in a 10-mile (16-kilometer) corridor south of the Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior should leave due to smoke coming from the site. Evacuees are being told to gather at Yellowjacket Union at the University of Wisconsin-Superior or at Four Corners Elementary School in Superior. It isn't clear how many people the evacuation order will effect. The refinery is in an industrial area, but there's a residential neighborhood within a mile to the northeast. The corridor downwind to the south is sparsely populated. At least 11 people were injured in the Thursday morning blast. A spokeswoman for Essentia Health says one person was seriously injured, while another nine being treated at Essentia hospitals in Superior and nearby Duluth, Minnesota, have non-life-threatening injuries. St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth received one patient who is in fair condition. ___ 12:55 p.m. The number of people injured in a refinery explosion in Wisconsin has grown to at least 11. Essentia Health spokeswoman Maureen Talarico says five patients are being treated at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, Minnesota. She says emergency room physicians describe those patients as awake and alert. Talarico says another five are being treated at St. Mary's Hospital in Superior, Wisconsin, where the explosion happened. She says the extent of injuries is unknown. In Duluth, spokeswoman Jessica Stauber says St. Luke's Hospital is treating one person. She doesn't know the condition of that person. The explosion at the Husky Energy oil refinery happened Thursday morning. Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger has said there are no known fatalities. Panger earlier said the fire was out, but Superior police tweeted that the fire has reignited but that there is no need for residents to evacuate. ___ 12:10 p.m. Authorities now say five people have been taken to hospitals after an explosion rocked a large refinery in Wisconsin. Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger initially told The Associated Press that six were taken to hospitals in nearby Duluth, Minnesota, after the explosion Thursday at the Husky Energy oil refinery. The Superior Fire Department later updated that number to five. The fire chief says there are no known fatalities. Authorities don't know the extent of injuries. The fire is out. A contractor who was inside the building told WDIO television that the explosion sounded like 'a sonic boom' and that it happened when crews were working on shutting the plant down for repairs. Owned by Alberta-based Husky Energy, Wisconsin's only refinery produces gasoline, asphalt and other products. ___ 11:30 a.m. Several people have been injured in an explosion at a refinery in Wisconsin. Authorities in Superior say the explosion at the Husky Energy oil refinery happened at about 10 a.m. Thursday. Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger says six people were taken to hospitals in Duluth, Minnesota. He doesn't know the extent of their injuries. Others were walking wounded. There are no known fatalities. A contractor who was inside the building told WDIO television that the explosion sounded like 'a sonic boom' that happened when crews were working on shutting the plant down for repairs. Panger says the fire was out by 11:20 a.m. Superior police are advising people to stay away from the area and roads around the refinery have been blocked off. There have been no neighborhood evacuations.
  • Opening your hotel room door with your cell phone? Disney has started to roll out the new technology for guests to skip the front desk and go directly to their room, speeding up the start of vacations. Disney gave WFTV anchor Jamie Holmes an exclusive look at how guests will be able to use their cellphones to get into their hotel rooms. The theme park rolled out the technology at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Over the years, the My Disney Experience app has been an expanding feature of how guests navigate the parks and hotels. Previous story: Your smartphone could unlock Disney hotel rooms Guests can use it to check ride wait times and even clean up park photos. But guests can also use it to plan their hotel stay, skip the check-in desk, and go straight to their rooms. 'If you choose to, you can actually bypass the front desk area, if that's important to you, and start your vacation earlier,' Michael Trum, with Disney digital guest experience, said. Here’s how it works: Guests take their cellphones and hold it up to their hotel room door, and that’s when a little Disney magic happens. >> Read more trending news  'They're Bluetooth-enabled. Your phone, most smart phones. We've upgraded our locks to be Bluetooth enabled as well. So, they pair together, via security obviously,' Trum said. The technology can be used as a companion to the Magic Bands, which are required to get into the parks. Long gone are metal hotel room keys, and for the most part, even plastic key cards are gone. But, since most guests these days aren't far from their phones, the Bluetooth technology gives them a choice. Many people wonder whether the new technology is safe. Cellphone passcodes are notoriously hard to crack and Disney stands by the system. “We obviously designed this with security in mind. We can't go into details on Disney security policies, but our guests should absolutely feel safe using this as an entry point into their rooms,' Trum said. Disney is not the first to use the Bluetooth technology. Hilton and Marriot hotels have been using it for several years. The FBI said it has never had a case of hackers using phones to enter a hotel room in the U.S. Disney will expand the service to other hotels over the next several months.