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Child injury risk similar in SUVs, cars-study

Jan 3, 2006 - CHICAGO (Reuters) - Sports utility vehicles do not offer child passengers added protection in a crash compared to cars because SUVs are more likely to roll over in an accident, researchers said on Tuesday.

Though the added weight of SUVs conferred some protection in non-rollover accidents, the vehicles were twice as likely as cars to roll over during a wreck, the report published in the journal Pediatrics said.

"Contrary to public perception, SUVs do not provide superior protection to child occupants, compared with passenger cars," wrote lead author Dr. Lauren Daly of A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.

"The potential safety advantage of SUVs resulting from their heavier weight seems to be offset by other factors, including the greater tendency of SUVs to roll over in a crash," she wrote.

The study examined a sample from more than 72,000 children aged 15 or younger who were involved in crashes. The injuries sustained were to the brain, spinal cord, face, internal organs and limbs and included concussions, fractures and lacerations.

The highest odds of injury occurred among children riding unbelted in an SUV that rolled over.

Another strong risk factor for children age 13 or younger was from an air bag deploying while they rode in the front seat, and Daly recommended children always ride in rear seats.



Children no safer in SUVs than cars

Bigger isn't better, study shows, due to rollovers

By Jan Dennis, Associated Press

01/03/2006 - BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Children are no safer riding in sport utility vehicles than in passenger cars, largely because the doubled risk of rollovers in SUVs cancels out the safety advantages of their greater size and weight, according to a study.
Researchers said the findings dispel the bigger-equals-safer myth that has helped fuel the growing popularity of SUVs among families. SUV registrations climbed 250 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2002.

"We're not saying they're worse or that they're terrible vehicles. We're challenging the conventional wisdom that everyone assumed they were better," said Dr. Dennis Durbin, a pediatric emergency physician who took part in the study, published today in the journal Pediatrics.

Eron Shosteck, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said he had not seen the study but cited government research released last summer that found SUVs have become less top-heavy since 2000 and made dramatic improvements in rollover resistance.

"SUVs have an exceptional safety record and are safer than or as safe as cars in the vast majority of crashes," Shosteck said.

The study, which Durbin called the first on SUVs and child safety, was sponsored by Partners for Child Passenger Safety, a research project of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the world's largest insurer, Bloomington-based State Farm Insurance Co. researchers looked at accidents involving nearly 4,000 children younger than age 16 between 2000 and 2003, and found child injury rates of about 1.7 percent in cars and SUVs. The study examined only 1998 or newer cars and SUVs with second-generation air bags.

On average, the SUVs weighed 1,300 pounds more than the cars studied. The study found the extra weight of SUVs enhanced safety, reducing risk of injury by more than a third.

But that was offset by findings that SUVs were more than twice as likely as cars to roll over in crashes. Children in rollovers were three times more likely to be seriously injured than those in non-rollover accidents, according to the study.

The findings surprised researchers, who assumed heavier SUVs were safer than cars when they launched the study a year ago, Durbin said.

SUV safety will probably improve because of legislation approved by Congress this year that requires the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to develop standards for automakers to address SUV rollovers, he said.

"To the extent that SUV makers can solve the rollover problem, we may see them becoming the safe haven for children that they have the potential to be," Durbin said.

Automakers already have made strides through engineering and new technology such as electronic stability control, Shosteck said.

NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson agreed but said he hopes the study will encourage families to check safety ratings closely before buying.

"I think there is a segment of the buying public that may be buying them with the false impression that they are buying the safest vehicle they can for their families," Tyson said.


The 2008 Toyota Highlander: the performance and comfort of a passenger car plus the versatility of a mid-sized SUV create a perfect people-mover

TORONTO, July 23 /CNW/ - Toyota Canada today introduced the 2008 Toyota Highlander - the mid-sized SUV that delivers the versatility of a sport utility vehicle, plus the driving comfort and performance of a passenger car. "Flexibility and versatility are hallmarks of all Toyota Sport Utility Vehicles, but we also recognise that in this market there is no such thing as 'one size fits all'. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the intermediate SUV segment, which is why Toyota offers not one, but three choices. The Toyota Highlander is the urban-friendly mid-size SUV - the perfect people-mover to complement the more rugged Toyota 4Runner and the backcountry utility of the Toyota FJ Cruiser," explained Tony Wearing, Managing Director of Toyota Canada Inc.

"For the 2008 model year, we've redesigned Highlander with more forceful styling and performance and with a more flexible interior, while retaining the many qualities that our existing Highlander owners love." The all-new Highlander comes in four models: Highlander, Highlander SR5, Highlander Sport and Highlander Limited. Regardless of the model, the 2008 Highlander combines Toyota's reputation for quality design and engineering with generous performance, segment-leading utility, comfort, styling, and safety features(*).

Performance:

- A newly-developed 3.5-litre V6 engine that produces up to 270 HP @ 6,200 RPM and 248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 RPM.

- A 5-speed Super intelligent Electronically Controlled Transaxle is adopted.

- Upgraded front and rear suspension featuring Macpherson gas struts and a superb optimized subframe, plus a specially tuned rear suspension on the Sport model.

- Rack and pinion, speed-sensitive electric power steering is cleaner and eliminates hydraulic components that need oil, while delivering improved cornering performance and better flat ride for more sedan-like control.

- An improved towing rating of 2,268 kilograms (5,000 pounds) for those needing slightly more capacity.

Utility, Comfort, and Styling:

- Seating for up to seven passengers.

- The world's first SUV to feature a flexible, stow-away seat - the Center Stow Seat(TM) for the centre position in the second row.

- An aerodynamic body structure that results in a best-in-class co-efficient of drag rating of 0.34, maximizing fuel efficiency and
minimizing wind noise and vibration.

- A strong, distinctive exterior informed by Toyota's Vibrant Clarity design language, to create a robust, dynamic and clean appearance.

- Forceful styling emphasized by a longer wheelbase, larger wheels and higher ground clearance than the previous generation Highlander.

- A roomier interior compared to the previous generation Highlander, including: increases in legroom for occupants in the 2nd and 3rd row seats; a higher hip point for more comfortable seating; increased shoulder width; and more headroom.

- Remote tilt-down systems for the 2nd and 3rd row seats operable from the rear tailgate to create a flat cargo space.

- Available new flip-open glass hatch to provide easier access to the luggage area.

- Available cushion length adjuster for the driver's seat, enabling
drivers to personalize the fit of the seat.

Safety:

- All models feature 4WD for excellent control in any weather, and on any road surface.

- The first mid-size SUV to feature a stand-alone back-up camera on most models - not just those equipped with a navigation system.

- All models feature a driver-selectable enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) as well as Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Downhill Assist Control (DAC) and Traction Control (TRAC) to give the Highlander excellent manoeuvring, turning and stopping abilities for a confident driving feel.

- Sure-footed 19" wheels fitted with all-season radial tires and a full size spare tire on Sport and Limited models.

- Impressive suite of braking technologies: Power Assisted brakes, Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).

- Seven airbags, including dual-stage airbags in the driver and front passenger positions, and roll-sensing curtain shield airbags.

- Three-point seat belts in all positions, including front seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters and adjustable B pillar shoulder belt anchors.

- High strength cabin to protect occupants in the event of an accident.

- Active headrests for driver and front passenger designed to reduce whiplash injury caused by rear-end accidents.

- Special energy absorbing engine hood and fender design to reduce injury to pedestrians in the event of an accident.
>>

"Since its inception, the Highlander has delivered a level of comfort and drivability that one normally associates with a sedan, plus the flexibility of an interior that quickly adjusts to the changing roles that active city-dwellers demand from their vehicles on a daily basis. For the new Toyota Highlander, we've taken those very popular characteristics and enhanced them," Mr. Wearing pointed out. "Whether it's a big-city commute or a weekend escape to the cottage, boat launch, or campground, the new 2008 Toyota Highlander will give Canadians even more freedom to tailor their SUV to their lifestyles."

The well-equipped 2008 Toyota Highlander starts at $39,650 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the Base Model. The SR5 model begins at $41,900 MSRP. The Sport has an MSRP of $46,200. Finally, the fully-loaded Limited starts at $49,900 MSRP The 2008 Toyota Highlander goes on sale in Canada in August of 2007. Pricing details will be released closer to the on-sale date.

(*) See Product Detail following for more information.


2008 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER - PRODUCT DETAIL
---------------------------------------

FUN, FLEX, FREEDOM: UPDATING THE HIGHLANDER
-------------------------------------------
When it was launched in 2000, the Toyota Highlander helped create the market for mid-size vehicles that combine the versatility and capability of the Sport Utility Vehicle with the many benefits of the passenger car. These include improved fuel efficiency, better dynamic performance such as handling, lower noise levels, increased comfort, and the clean, urban styling that's made possible when one eliminates the traditional ladder frame found in trucks.

For the 2008 model, these features were retained, and enhanced. The new Highlander's style is more forceful, without being rugged. Inside, it's roomier, especially for those in the second row seats. Meantime, performance was emphasized with a more powerful engine and improved towing capability. The result is a vehicle that creates a new benchmark for the car-based mid-size SUV - one that maximizes fun, flexibility, and freedom for the driver to incorporate the Highlander into any active lifestyle.

<<
A HIGHLANDER FOR EVERY TASTE
----------------------------

Canadians can choose from four models to suit any taste.

- The well-appointed 2008 Toyota Highlander is standard equipped with many comfort and convenience features such as cruise control; an AM/FM/CD/auxiliary input sound system with MP3/WMA capability and six speakers; a climate control system with rear-seat ducts; power windows and door locks with keyless entry; a telescopic/tilt steering column; illuminated entry and ignition key; high-visibility Optitron gauges including a tachometer and dual trip odometer; accessory power outlets; cargo tie-down rings and under cargo area storage compartments; engine immobilizer; a tire pressure monitoring system and 17" wheels with wheel locks; and a roof rack.

- The 2008 Toyota Highlander SR5 upgrades many comfort, convenience and stylistic features, including adding a six-CD changer to the stereo system; premium cloth on the seats with power seat adjustments and a leather-wrapped steering wheel; and an outside temperature gauge and 3.5" LCD multi-information display that supports a stand-alone back-up
camera. Other highlights of this package include a convenient flip-up glass panel on the rear hatch, a power back door and automatic door closer, and fog lamps.

- The 2008 Toyota Highlander Sport kicks performance, comfort and style into high gear with an upgraded climate control system with independent front and rear controls and auto air conditioning function; power adjustable and heated leather driver's and front passenger's seats; uniquely coloured larger 19" aluminum alloy wheels; a power tilting/sliding moon roof, sport badges; a spoiler with integrated L.E.D. stop lamp; black headlamp surround; and titanium-coloured rear tail lamps.

- The 2008 Toyota Highlander Limited adds top of the line refinements to the mix. These include a premium JBL audio system with nine speakers; steering wheel controls for the audio and climate control systems; electrochromatic rear-view mirror with integrated digital compass; chrome exterior and interior door handles and interior trim; reading lamps and LED map lamps; and a smart-key system with keyless entry, hatch release and push-button start. The Limited model is also available with a DVD-based navigation system with an 8" LCD display.
>>

IT STARTS WITH POWER
--------------------
All models of the 2008 Toyota Highlander have plenty of power for an active lifestyle, thanks to a newly-developed 3.5-litre V6 engine that produces up to 270 HP @ 6,200 RPM and 248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 RPM. This engine replaces the 3.3 litre V6 used in the previous generation Highlander with a lightweight design featuring Sequential Multi-Port Electronic Fuel Injection, Dual Overhead Cams, 24 valves, chain drive, Dual Variable Valve
Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) to deliver optimal output, enhanced fuel efficiency and quiet running characteristics.
At the same time, this new engine helps the 2008 Toyota Highlander achieve an improved towing performance of 2,268 KG (5,000 pounds), meaning Highlander has what it takes if weekend fun means heading to the camp ground with the kids, the boat launch with friends, or the garden centre with a trailer in tow.

All Highlander models are equipped with full-time four-wheel drive (4WD) and Toyota's proven five-speed, Super Electronically Controlled Transmission (5 Super ECT). This is a lightweight, compact automatic transmission that delivers excellent, quiet performance, smooth shifts, and impressive fuel efficiency. It features sequential shift-matic controls to enable manual-like shifting operation, and is enhanced with Flex Lock-Up Control and Road Condition Response Control to provide optimum shifting in response to driver commands and road conditions.
This configuration consumes 12.3 litres of fuel per 100 km in the city, and 8.8 litres per 100 km on the highway (10.8/100 km combined). All Highlander models qualify for the Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions rating. To help prepare Highlander for any adventure, all models are equipped with a heavy-duty battery, starter, alternator and heater.

WHEN PERFORMANCE COUNTS: SUSPENSION, HANDLING AND STEERING
----------------------------------------------------------
Performance sets the Toyota Highlander apart from other car-based intermediate SUVs, and enhancing the Highlander's already impressive suspension, handling and steering qualities was a key goal for the 2008 model. The 2008 Highlander has a re-tuned suspension, front and rear, including Macpherson gas struts, gas shock absorbers, coil springs, stabilizer bars, and anti-vibration subframes. The Highlander Sport model has a specially tuned rear sport suspension. Handling is improved thanks to new aerodynamic undercovers and a wider stance, while a higher ground clearance and larger tires provide better off-road capability. Speed sensitive rack and pinion power steering is electrically controlled for a more responsive, yet natural, steering feel.

WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD
-------------------------------
New, larger tires are an immediate spotting feature of the 2008 Toyota Highlander. Regular and Highlander SR5 models ride on P245/65R17 all season radials -one inch larger than the tires used on the previous generation. For the Sport and Limited models, P245/55R19 all-season radials are fitted to create a truly impressive stance and provide a firm grip. Sport and Limited models also feature a full-size spare tire.

CONTROL AND BRAKING FEATURES COVER ALL THE BASES
------------------------------------------------

The 2008 Toyota Highlander is equipped with a number of active and passive systems to maximize the safety of driver, passengers, and even others sharing the road. All Highlander models feature four-wheel drive for excellent control in any weather and on any road surface. A full suite of braking technologies is also standard equipped, including power assisted brakes, Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). Disc brakes are are ventilated at the front, with twin-piston steel callipers, while the rear discs are solid and feature single-piston aluminium callipers.

Toyota's Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system is also standard. This system helps ensure stability by automatically adjusting engine output and the braking force of each wheel when the vehicle experiences oversteers or understeers during cornering. Since one may not always want this enhancement, the Highlander's VSC is driver-selectable. Traction Control (TRAC) is also standard on all models. This system supports the stability of the Highlander by controlling wheel spin when starting or accelerating on slippery surfaces, as well as by maintaining proper driving force during straight-line acceleration.
Additional systems include Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which
prevents rollback when releasing one's foot from the brake, and Downhill Assist Control (DAC), which helps keep the vehicle under control when descending steep grades.

SAFETY FOR EVERYONE - INCLUDING THOSE SHARING THE ROAD
------------------------------------------------------
When it comes to safety, the 21st Century vehicle needs to go beyond protecting the driver and passenger to also make things better even for those who are merely in the automobile's proximity. That's why the 2008 Toyota Highlander is the first mid-size SUV to feature an available stand-alone back-up camera on most models - not just those equipped with a navigation system. Making this important safety system a stand-alone feature will give the majority of Highlander owners "eyes in the backs of their heads": namely, the ability to check for obstacles immediately behind the vehicle, which might otherwise not be visible using mirrors.

This same concern for others on the road extends to the unique design of the front hood and fenders, which incorporate a special Pedestrian Protection Structure. The structure of these components incorporates special longitudinal ribs and other changes to efficiently and uniformly absorb, distribute and soften impacts.

While this type of structure is not yet mandated for North America, Toyota has acted ahead of any potential regulation by designing the 2008 Highlander to reduce injury to pedestrians in the event of an accident. For those riding in the Highlander, the 2008 model features a newly developed, high-strength cabin design that works in conjunction with the vehicle's seven airbags and three-point lap and shoulder belts in all positions to maximize protection for the occupants. Front seat belts feature pretensioners and force limiters, plus adjustable B pillar shoulder belt anchors. The seven airbags include dual-stage front airbags for the driver and front passenger, front seat mounted side airbags, a driver's knee airbag, and roll-sensing front and rear head/side curtain airbags.

"VIRBRANT CLARITY" CREATES AN ADVANCED, STRONG EXTERIOR
-------------------------------------------------------
The 2008 Toyota Highlander is styled with a strong, distinctive exterior informed by Toyota's Vibrant Clarity design language. The result is a robust, dynamic appearance that emphasizes advanced design and clean lines over the traditional, "rugged" SUV image. The 2008 Highlander's styling is more forceful than ever before. The front fenders thrust outwards to accommodate the new Highlander's wider track and emphasize its stable form. A strong, three-dimensional character line that stretches across the bumper to the side surfaces enhances the overall appearance.

A longer wheelbase gives the Highlander a commanding presence from the side, while larger wheels and higher ground clearance are emphasized by firm surfaces around the wheel wells and a character line along the rocker panel. A belt below the windows gives the sides an S-shaped profile to complete the lower body's powerful image.

The Highlander's exterior design is completed with strong rear fenders that emphasize power and sturdiness, while the rear hatch's vertical and horizontal curved surfaces provide tension to the design to create a simple, clean finish. On the SR5, Sport and Limited models, the 2008 Highlander now comes standard equipped with a flip-open glass hatch to provide easier access to the luggage area - useful, for example, when stowing groceries, a briefcase, or an overnight bag. The Highlander's exterior appearance extends beyond form to function, as it contributes to the new model's best-in-class co-efficient of drag rating of 0.34, maximizing fuel efficiency and minimizing wind noise and vibration.

"VIBRANT CLARITY" MAKES INTERIOR STYLING COMFORTABLE AND SMART
--------------------------------------------------------------
Inside, the 2008 Highlander also benefits from Toyota's Vibrant Clarity design language. The result is a comfortable, smart interior for up to seven passengers - or a whole lot of gear for weekend fun. Compared to previous generations, the new Highlander is longer and wider inside, and features increased legroom for occupants of the 2nd and 3rd row seats, a higher hip point for more comfortable seating, increased shoulder width, and more headroom. Slide behind the wheel and the increased width is immediately apparent, thanks to a design that flows outwards from the central console. The theme continues through the interior door panels, providing continuity with the console and dashboard, while the trim emphasizes the strong fenders, cementing the relationship between exterior and interior styling.

The 2008 Toyota Highlander is the world's first SUV to feature a flexible 2nd row seat, with a fold-away Center Stow Seat(TM) to allow owners to quickly reconfigure the 2nd row from two captain's seats to a three-person bench seat. When not needed, the centre portion slides easily into the rear of the console between the two front seats.

The new Highlander's 3rd row bench seat is more spacious than in previous generations, with more shoulder space and higher hip points. Up front, the driver's seat has been enhanced with a cushion length adjuster to maximize driving comfort. And because the Highlander is designed for those with ever-changing
needs, levers located near the rear hatch allow the 2nd and 3rd row seats to be folded down remotely, quickly converting the Highlander's interior from people mover to cargo carrier with a completely flat deck.

UTILITY, COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE FEATURES
-----------------------------------------

Regardless of model, the 2008 Toyota Highlander comes with many standard and optional utility, comfort and convenience features. A detailed list follows:

<<
Standard on all models:

- Seven airbags: dual stage front driver and front passenger/driver knee/front seat side-mounted/roll-sensing front and rear seat head/side curtain.

- Keyless entry/power door locks/engine immobilizer.

- Power windows with driver's side auto up/down.

- 40-20-40 split 2nd row seats. Outer two seats are three-way
adjustable. Middle seat (Center Stow Seat(TM)) can be removed and stowed in rear of driver's centre console, converting 2nd row seating from a three-person bench to two captain seats. Seats can be folded flat and include a remote lever at the rear of the Highlander to enable this from the rear hatch/cargo area.

- 3rd row bench seat that folds flat and includes a remote lever at the rear of the Highlander to enable this from the rear hatch/cargo area.

- Dual vanity mirrors.

- Storage: Rear cargo area with tonneau Cover, door map pockets, front centre console box, front seat back pockets, cargo area tie-down rings, under cargo area storage compartments, front and rear cup-holders, overhead sunglasses storage.

- Four spoke tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

- Interior lighting: illuminated entry, illuminated ignition key, door
courtesy lamps, glove box lamp, cargo lamp, map lights.

- Cruise control.

- Optitron gauges: Tachometer, water temperature gauge, dual tripodometer.

- Accessory power outlets.

- Remote fuel lid release.

- Power remote heated exterior mirrors.

- Privacy glass.

- Roof rack, roof rails, splash guards.

Standard on the 2008 Toyota Highlander (base model):

- Audio: AM/FM stereo/CD with MP3/WMA audio capability, audio auxiliary input jack, six speakers

- Climate Control: A/C, cabin air filter, rear seat ducts.

- 8 manual driver's seat adjustable driver and three-way adjustable front passenger fabric-covered captain seats.

- 17" aluminum alloy wheels, wheel locks, full size spare tire

Standard on the 2008 Toyota Highlander SR5:

- Audio: AM/FM ETR Stereo/In-dash 6-disc CD changer with MP3/WMA audio capability, audio auxiliary input jack, six speakers, steering wheel audio controls.

- Climate Control: A/C, cabin air filter, rear seat ducts.

- Eight-way power adjustable driver and three-way adjustable front passenger captain seats covered in premium cloth.

- 3.5" LCD multi-information display with back-up camera, outside temperature gauge.

- Leather-wrapped steering wheel/metallic dash accents.

- Automatic door closer and power back door.

- 17" aluminum alloy wheels, wheel locks, full size spare tire

- Flip-up rear hatch/privacy glass on rear windows.

- Fog lamps.

- Outside temp gauge

Standard on the 2008 Toyota Highlander Sport:

- Audio: AM/FM ETR Stereo/In-dash 6-disc CD changer with MP3/WMA audio capability, audio auxiliary input jack, six speakers, steering wheel audio controls.

- Climate Control: A/C, front & rear auto climate control, auto A/C with dual zone control, cabin air filter, rear seat ducts.

- 3.5" LCD multi-information display with back-up camera, outside temperature gauge.

- Eight-way power adjustable and heated driver's captain seat covered in leather.

- Four-way power adjustable and heated front passenger captain seat covered in leather.

- Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob/simulated leather door trim/metallic dash accents.

- Unique coloured 19" aluminum alloy wheels, wheel locks, full-size spare tire.

- Flip-up rear hatch/privacy glass on rear windows.

- Power/tilt moon roof.

- Spoiler with integrated LED stop lamp.

- Fog lamps/black headlamp surround/titanium coloured tail lamps.


Standard on the 2008 Toyota Highlander Limited:

- Premium JBL Audio, In-dash 6-disc CD changer with MP3/WMA audio capability, audio auxiliary input jack, Bluetooth capability, nine speakers, steering wheel audio controls.

- Climate Control: A/C, front & rear auto climate control, auto A/C with dual zone control, cabin air filter, rear seat ducts.

- 3.5" LCD multi-information display with back-up camera, outside temperature gauge.

- Eight-way power adjustable and heated driver's captain seat covered in leather, with variable cushion length adjustment.

- Four-way power adjustable and heated front passenger captain seat covered in leather.

- Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob/chrome and woodgrain trim/simulated leather door trim/chrome exterior and interior door handles.

- Electrochromatic rear view mirror with integrated digital compass.

- LED reading lamps and LED map lamps/puddle lamps.

- Push-button start and smart key system/keyless entry with hatch release.

- Automatic door closer and power back door.

- Integrated garage door opener.

- Anti-theft system.

- 19" aluminum alloy wheels, wheel locks, full-size spare tire.

- Flip-up rear hatch/privacy glass on rear windows.

- Power/tilt moon roof.

- Fog lamps.

 

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