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Protecting Our Children: Avoiding Accidents When Backing Up

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We may not hear about it every day, but it’s astounding just how prevalent this type of accident is. In the U.S. alone, at least 50 children a week are victims of backover incidents, with approximately 48 requiring emergency room treatment for their injuries and two suffering fatal injuries.  These accidents result in about 13,000 injuries and more than 200 fatalities a year.

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RecallsSafety

You Should Complain About Your Car!

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This headline may seem like a joke, or click bait for that matter, but we’re being serious, and so is the U.S. government. While we may feel like we, and those around us, complain too much already, the U.S. government disagrees. Well, at least when it comes to personal satisfaction with your vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a new rule that would require carmakers to put labels on the sun visors of all new vehicles with instructions on how to file safety complaints

According to NHTSA, “the agency uses consumer complaints to spot safety problems. If NHTSA workers spot a trend in the complaints, the agency investigates and can pressure automakers into doing recalls.” In other words, consumers are the agency’s eyes and ears, and they depend on consumer feedback.

In 2015, 75,000 complaints were made to the NHSTA. Unfortunately, without the necessary staff to comb through those complaints, most went ignored.

When General Motors experienced a major ignition switch defect, blamed for more than 120 deaths in 2014, many began to wonder how the defect could go unnoticed for so long? Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the NHSTA had known about the defect since the early 2000s, more than a decade before 120 people were killed, and over 250 injured.

An audit completed by the U.S. Department of Transportation stated that, “NHSTA has suffered severe systemic problems for years in how it trains staff, and in deciding when and how to investigate defects.” Going on to say that they lacked transparency and accountability, the U.S. Department of Transport found that 90 percent of consumer complaints received daily were ignored by the NHSTA.

Since that report, the NHSTA has hired additional employees and received more funding, allowing them to sift through and report on complaints received by consumers.

These safety labels were required by Congress back in 2012. The stickers explained that people should contact NHTSA with safety issues at http://www.safecar.gov, by phone at (888) 327-4236, or by mail at U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA, Office of Defects Investigation, NEF-100, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20077-9382.

The regulation process to get these stickers approved in all new vehicles could take years to complete, so it will likely be a long time before labels are required. However, customers can get a jumpstart on NHTSA’s request and begin to submit complaints to the contact information listed above. The hope is that enough complaints will propel this new regulation forward and make everyone safer in their vehicles.

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SafetyTechnology

Secondhand Cars Have Become Extremely Easy to Steal

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The steady increase of the technology found in ‘smart cars’ has encouraged millions of people to invest in newer vehicles. But based on the hike in pricing for those vehicles, a huge number of people have decided to opt for previously-owned smart vehicles as a way to take part in the new technology without breaking the bank. While most have been absolutely thrilled with their purchase, others are facing unique risks and outcomes.

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SafetyTravel

Driving Scams Everyone Should Be Aware Of

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Today’s technology has provided seemingly countless advantages for individuals looking to enhance their own lives and increase their work efficiency. On the flip side, however, some of those same technological advances have opened doors for scammers , hackers, and the like.

When it comes to the world of driving, road travel, and car sales, many would hope that the auto industry would be safe from scams. Unfortunately, from getting cheated on taxi rides to uncovering Mastercard data, driving scams exists all over the world. 

While it can be extremely difficult to know when you are being scammed, educating yourself on the scams currently happening around the world, and in Arizona specifically, can help keep you and your personal information protected. 

1. Ghost Brokers

Going after youthful drivers, ghost brokers present fabulous insurance bargains by means of websites, online forums, listing sites, etc. What’s more, their bargains are eye-catching, ripping off the clueless driver and abandoning them with no genuine protection, a potential criminal record, and fine to boot.

Ghost brokers work in various ways, making it a minefield nearly impossible to navigate for youthful drivers searching for the best insurance deals. Scammers provide false insurance documentation, or provide drivers with real coverage but submit false data to the company providing the insurance, such as the drivers age. When that’s done, the insurance policy is void.

Additionally, the insurance broker may actually purchase genuine insurance with proper data submitted, but cancel the plan two or three months later, all while continuing to collect cash from the now uninsured.

2. Motor Vehicle Information Scams

These illicit schemes seek to acquire individual data from people to be utilized for wholesale fraud or to get credit card and other financial record data with a specific end goal to deplete the assets of a consumer. In the case of this scam, hackers use the Motor Vehicle Department as a hub for their deceitful messaging to pinpoint potential victims and gain their trust here in Arizona.

Those running this scam create documents looking like they originated from ADOT or the MVD to promote a specific service or business. However, this is not a practice that either organization participates in. In fact, there are specific, approved, third-party organizations that have contracts with ADOT for drivers permits, title and registration services, and the like. The ATPs are permitted to advance their business with commercials and solicitations per state law.

Customers can shield themselves from extortion by following these tips:

– On the off chance that you are reached by telephone, email, or regular postal mail by a business other than ADOT, you are not actually working with your Motor Vehicle Department.

– Make sure your current and accurate address is on record with MVD to receive important document. Ensuring MVD has the right address on record limits the likelihood of individual data being conveyed to the wrong address.

– ADOT MVD only has one website for driver license or motor vehicle services: www.servicearizona.com

3. Road traffic accident scam

In the US, there are a developing number of announced cases concerning car crash scams. Thus, road users are scared and getting more concerned every day. The insurance sector is spending roughly $200 million every year because of these scams and has even prompted an increase in auto insurance premiums.

Criminals arrange their scams ahead of time to ensure that dumbfounded drivers get involved in a car crash. At a point when these happen, those in charge of organizing car crash will make personal injury claims so as to exploit innocent individuals and to profit by exorbitant payout sums. Huge numbers of these tricksters will create situations that lead to a road traffic accident, making casualties out of helpless drivers.

Let’s learn from Ashley Hardacre

A recent scam almost occurred with Ashley Hardacre but she was aware of roadway scams, and took extra precautions taught to her by her mother.

After work at Genesee Valley Mall in Flint, Michigan on Thursday night, Hardacre got into her car and sighted a bit of bunched up clothing sitting on her windshield. Somebody had hung a blue wool shirt over the glass and secured it under the windshield wiper. The 19-year-old didn’t want to put herself in danger by removing the cloth in a dark parking lot, especially after she noticed two running cars nearby. Instead, she got in the car, bolted the doors and headed out, removing the t-shirt at a different location.

She is now using her experience to empower others, specifically women, in similar situations to follow her example. Her powerful Facebook message that has turned into a web sensation on with almost 90,000 shares.

While the hope is that no drivers run into these scams, the sad reality is that many often do. By educating yourself and knowing the types of scams trending in your area could save you for a carjacking or worse.

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Safety

Car Safety: Comparing the Old With the New

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It has been an epic battle for advocates of car safety features over a greater part of the past one hundred years. But the car industry has finally reacted to the growing consumer demand and regulatory pressure with various safety inventions and innovations.

In an attempt to produce cars with better safety features, America has begun a long, complex journey that has recorded quite a number of detours and accidents along the way.

As a result of the inferior safety features of early cars, the first auto casualty of the United States occurred on September 14, 1899. On that day, 68-year-old real estate agent Henry Bliss lost his life due to injuries he suffered after being hit by an electrically-powered taxi in Central Park in New York City.

Automobile deaths became a frequent occurrence at a rate 25 times faster than today within a decade of the first occurrence. This led to the invention by John O’Leary, who developed the O’Leary Fender, a classic solution of that inventive era.

The fender, according to a New York newspaper, “made it practically impossible to suffer serious injury when hit by a car.”

Going by the fact that O’Leary was the major inventor of safety devices in the early years of the automobile industry, it wouldn’t be wrong to say safety features were very few. Consumer’s indifference and tough-minded attitudes have made it difficult even for very sound safety approaches in the automobile industry over the years.

Some figures of the auto industry in spite of the increased pressure for better safety after World War II still objected to the need of making automobiles safer. To them, it was drivers who needed to improve. Progress made in comfort, handling, performance, or styling were seen as innovations which improved safety.

Not surprisingly, in 1946, physicians became proponents for safety improvements, obviously growing tired of the damage they were seeing more frequently in their hospitals as a result of automobile accidents.

Safety features were so lacking in those early days that, according to the Journal of American Medical Association in 1955, they determined that early cars were built so poorly, they offered zero forms of protection from a safety point of view.

Padding is another safety feature introduced by the early auto industries to protect the head of a driver from hard surfaces; this invention was made in the early 1950s. Shortly after, by mid-decade, the use of other inventions like seat belts started gaining popularity (as an option rather than a necessity) since their proponents had a difficult time overcoming critics’ questions about their effectiveness.

Despite the criticisms, researchers continued to look for ways to improve the safety features of early vehicles. They came up with some ideas that enabled them to invent new safety features for those early vehicles; the features included an elastic windshield, rear-facing seats for passengers (to enable them to cope better with the force of a crash) and two levers in place of the steering wheel (minimizing head injury risk).

Although there were consistent improvements in the safety features of early cars, most of those innovations are inferior when compared with current innovations—which makes sense. As the years tick by, and more information is learned about the dangers of cars and how technology can help eliminate those risks, we look back on the early inventions as stepping stones that got us to where we are today.

Presently, automobile safety features are aided by highly sophisticated computers, which prevent us from swerving out of our lane, hitting the car in front of us, reversing into another vehicle, spinning out, flipping over, and so on. In other words, rather than simply minimizing injury risk when accidents occur, which is what early safety features did, modern features aid in preventing the accident from happening or occurring at all. And if the race to put driverless cars on the road continues, we may one day see a complete elimination of auto accidents altogether.

As auto manufacturers work toward making our future safer on the road, it is the consumer’s job to demand safer vehicles, and help pass legislation in each of our states to help do our part as drivers.

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SafetyTrending Automotive News

SB1080 Making Major Changes on Arizona Roads

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It looks like Arizona roads are about to become a lot safer, thanks to Senate Bill 1080. On April 20, the Arizona state House gave final approval to legislation banning teens with a learner’s driving permit from texting or making calls from their cell phones behind the wheel. Passing with a 32-24 margin, SB1080 also extends that restriction to the first six months the driver has their actual Class G license, which is reserved for new drivers.

This bill was first introduced to the state senate on January 17, 2017, and just earlier this month, many had doubts that the bill would pass. Rep. Phil Lovas, R-Peoria, who chairs the House Rules Committee, expressed on April 6 that he would refuse to give a hearing to the Senate-passed bill. The Senate had previously approved the bill on a 24-6 margin.

While Lovas claimed that he personally was for the bill, he heard enough concerns from other members to take a bold stance. According to Lovas, once Arizona enacts its first-ever restrictions, no matter how minimal, it potentially becomes easier to expand the law so that more people, not just new drivers, are barred from driving while texting.

This type of thinking is how the term “nanny state” was coined. This describes a situation where the state begins telling people what’s best for them. Those arguments have proven successful in the past, even resulting in lawmakers voting in 1976 to repeal laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.

As it currently stands, Arizona and Montana are the only two states that do not have any restrictions on cell phone use behind the wheel of a vehicle. In fact, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. 37 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice or teen drivers, and 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.

Unlike laws in other states, SB1080 would make cell phone use and driving for new drivers a secondary offense, meaning the driver could only be issued a ticket for it if they had been pulled over for some other reason, such as speeding.

Despite his threat to squash the bill before it reached the state house floor, it was indeed presented and passed, thanks in a large part to Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, who shepherded SB1080 through the Senate. She expressed that the Rules Committee, unlike other panels, is not supposed to debate the policy merits of a measure. Instead, the only issue for that committee to decide is whether a measure is constitutional and in proper form for consideration by the full House, and SB1080 was approved in both areas.

Now, the bill just needs one remaining signature to become law—Governor Doug Ducey’s. Ducey, who has three sons, two of whom are of driving age, finds this to be a personal bill to him.

That, partnered with the sad statistic that 11 teens die nationally every day while texting and driving, pushes many to believe that Ducey will sign the bill without any hesitation.

While a AAA study found that 94 percent of teen drivers recognize the danger of texting and driving, 35 percent admit to doing it anyways. This gives merit to the importance of the bill and getting it passed.

Ducey is expected to make a decision shortly, so be sure to follow the story for more updates in the coming days.

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SafetyTrending Automotive News

Wrong Way Drivers in AZ Becoming Frequent Occurrence

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On Friday, April 14th at 2 A.M., Keaton Tyler Allison, a 21-year-old student at Grand Canyon University (GCU), was driving the wrong way down Interstate 17. Approaching the Greenway Road exit, Allison collided head on with a driver traveling the right way on the 17. Carrying fellow GCU student Karlie Arlene Richardson, 20, and her sister Kelsey Mae Richardson, 18, neither vehicle made any attempt to brake, and the cars collided at a high rate of speed.

With all three individuals trapped in their vehicles, they were pronounced dead at scene after being extricated by Phoenix fire emergency crews.

Bob Romantic, a spokesman at GCU, released the following statement to students and staff in an email sent early Friday morning: “It is with great sorrow and heavy hearts that we share the news that three people, including two students from Grand Canyon University, were killed in a wrong-way driver accident last night on Interstate 17… As a close-knit community of students, faculty, and staff, please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers during this tragic time.”

The death of these three individuals is heartbreaking, and sadly, not a unique situation in Arizona. In 2016 alone, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) received more than 1,600 reports of wrong-way drivers, 27 of which resulted in serious injury or death. Of those 1,600 cases, more than 100 of the drivers were arrested with suspicion of impairment.

These incidents didn’t begin in 2016 either. Back in June 2014, ADOT, DPS, and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety held an emergency meeting to help combat the increase in wrong-way driving accidents. At the end of that month, Arizona transportation officials erected new signage at various highway exit ramps throughout the state, including larger “do not enter” signs and an additional “wrong way” sign below. They also painted two large arrows equipped with light reflectors signaling the correct direction of travel.

In 2014, DPS reported fielding an average of 25 calls per month with reports of a wrong-way driver on an Arizona freeway. In 2012, wrong-way drivers played a role in 15 fatalities, and 78 fatalities between 2008 and 2012. So it’s clear that this problem is nothing new, and appears to be worsening.

So what is being done in 2017 to reduce the number of wrong-way drivers and save lives along Arizona freeways?

An ADOT spokesperson says they’ve received an influx of suggestions from the public regarding possible preventative solutions. One mentioned was the use of spike strips, which are used to blow the tires of wrong-way vehicles moving at very low speeds. ADOT will not be utilizing them on Valley highways for a variety of reasons, including:

ADOT admits that there is no perfect solution for stopping wrong-way drivers, especially when drugs and alcohol are involved. They do want the public to be assured, however, that they are working on a solution. In 2017, ADOT began work on a project that would use existing highway sensors to detect wrong-way vehicles and alert police and other drivers. These sensors would also be placed on freeway on-ramps. While there is no exact time frame for when ADOT expects to roll out this technology, they do plan to do so in 2017.

DPS Director Frank Milstead believes that increasing local police traffic squads could also help prevent wrong-way crashes on highways. According to Milstead, wrong-way accidents are often devastating because “the closing speeds are so tremendous” as was the case in Friday’s incident.

Milstead doesn’t believe the freeway system needs a multi-million dollar sensor system. His theory is that budget cuts and shrinking police forces are contributing factors in the crashes. If local traffic enforcement officers can be used to spot and pull over impaired drivers, they’ll never even reach the highways, according to Milstead’s theory.

“We can spend millions and millions of taxpayer dollars to try and defeat this, “ Milstead said in reference to impaired, wrong-way drivers, “but at the end of the day, it’s really upon each of us to defeat the wrong-way driver.”

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Safety

Talk to Your Teen: What to do After a Car Accident

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With prom season officially underway for Tucson high school students, it’s imperative for parents to talk to their children about staying safe on the road—especially on a busy night like prom.

Covering drinking and driving, the importance of wearing a seatbelt, and how many kids are allowed in the car while your teen is driving are all crucial topics to review. In the unfortunate situation, however, that an accident should occur when your teen driver is behind the wheel of the car, you’ll want to discuss what steps your child should take post-accident.

1. Remain calm and pull over.

Faced with an accident on their record and the impending wrath of their parents, some teens may become overwhelmed with anxiety, causing them to flee the scene of an accident. By expressing the importance of remaining calm in an accident, your teen will be able to better handle the situation they are facing, and stay put to work through the next steps.

2. Check for injuries on your passengers and in the other car.

While an accident is frustrating, especially when it’s not your fault, what’s most important is that everyone is safe and there are no injuries. If someone in your party or in the other vehicle is injured, your first move should be to call 911 and request an ambulance.

3. Call the police.

Even if everyone in your car is unharmed, you’ll want to call 911. Based on the severity of the accident, they’ll be able to tell you whether an officer needs to come out to the scene of the crash to fill out a report, or if you can fill one out at your local police station.

4. Document the damage.

When getting out of your car to interact with the other driver, make sure you don’t admit fault. Checking to make sure they’re physically and emotionally okay is the right thing to do, but avoid statements such as “I’m sorry” or “I have no idea what happened.” With your smartphone, begin taking photos of each vehicle and the surrounding area. You may also find it helpful to jot down a few notes to help you remember details of the collision.

5. Exchange information.

Even if very little damage has been done to either vehicle, always make sure you get the other driver’s full name, contact information, and insurance paperwork. Take pictures of their driver’s license and insurance card to ensure you don’t run into any issues down the road. You will also need to be prepared to provide the same information of yours to the other driver.

6. Call your parents.

While the next logical step for an adult would be to call your insurance company regarding repairing your vehicle, your teen doesn’t need to be involved in that process. Urge your teen driver to call you and have you meet them at the scene. Parents, remember that you too need to stay calm. Once you have a clear understanding of the situation, call your insurance company for more information.

It’s crucial for drivers to remember that while their insurance company may have recommended collision centers, you have the ultimate power and can make your own decision on where you get your car fixed. Make sure you read online reviews before making a decision about where to get your vehicle repaired.

So as the big dance is just a couple days away, make sure you sit down with your student to review the steps listed above.

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LifeStyleSafety

The Harsh Reality of Teen Drivers

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When it comes to teen drivers, it’s no secret that they have a bad reputation. All one has to do is type “teen driver” into a Google search and find dozens of articles related to texting while driving, accident statistics among younger drivers, and the list goes on.

Car manufacturers and independent companies alike are creating software to be installed in new vehicle models to help combat the dangers that come with a teen behind the wheel of a car. For example, General Motors recently released their active safety technology called Teen Driver. This software allows parents to view their teen’s driving habits and use the information to continue to coach their new drivers, even when they can’t be in the car.

Producing a report card at the end of each ride, Teen Driver reports the maximum speed reached, stability control events, forward collision alerts, and more. These categories touch on the biggest issue teen drivers face: inexperience.

While distracted driving does play a role in many of the teen-related accidents, inexperience is the underlying cause. According to a study done by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, lack of scanning the roadway, driving too fast for conditions, and distraction by something inside or outside the vehicle were the most common errors leading to a crash involving a teen driver.

With motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, this is something that parents, fellow drivers, and industry leaders alike must be looking into. And while campaigns like “Don’t Text and Drive” and innovative technology such as tXtBlocker have begun to chip away at the problem, in 2014 alone, 2,270 teens in the U.S. ages 16-19 were killed and 221,313 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes.

So what can parents do to help change the harsh realities of teen drivers on the road? First, they must take time to actually teach their child to drive. Studies show that the more the parent is involved when a teen is learning, the lower their chances are for a crash. While many states only require 50 hours or drive time before obtaining a license, parents should be striving to log more hours of time spent with them in the passenger seat, and their teen in the driver seat.

Secondly, both parents and non-parents alike can support local legislation to help achieve better road safety for everyone. AAA Arizona is advocating for Senate Bill 1080, which would prohibit teen drivers from the use of all wireless communication devices.

Arizona and Montana are the only two states that do not ban texting while driving for all or most motorists, so drivers can also rally for safer roads by pushing to eliminate texting while driving for all drivers, not just those in the teen age bracket.

Recent studies have found that teens who have been involved in a severe collision—defined as “police-reportable” and causing major damage, airbag deployment, injury or a rollover— experience an immediate change in their driving habits. In some cases, risky driving dropped by 34 percent.

The focus now, however, is to change the mentality of teen drivers before an accident ever occurs, and better teach and prepare them for the responsibility of operating a vehicle. Only then will we see a decrease in vehicle-related deaths for drivers of all ages.

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