Recently in NHTSA Category

March 30, 2015

Safety Campaign in Effect in D.C. , Maryland and Virginia

Drivers and cyclist have been instructed to be on the lookout for one another by Transportation officials in the Washington Metropolitan area, which includes Maryland and Virginia. A safety campaign has been launched and therefore everyone on the road has been instructed to be on the lookout for one another in order to avoid accidents and fatalities.

Since Spring is here and Summer with soon follow, many residents of D.C., Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area will be spending more and more time outdoors and therefore enforcement is being stepped up throughout the region to make sure everyone makes an effort to be aware of one another and keep people safe.

Police officers and other law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who break traffic safety laws. They will face stricter violations, fines and tickets. The Safety Campaign was launched last week and it will continue to run thru April 19, 2015.

January 5, 2015

ENDUI App Available in Maryland

The Maryland Highway Safety Office has developed a new app that helps drivers determine if they've had too much to drink called "ENDUI". The app works by entering gender, weight, the type of alcohol consumed and the time frame in which those drinks were taken. With that information, the app estimates a persons' blood-alcohol content (b.a.c.) and assists users with calling designated friends and/or a taxi company.

ENDUI also has two interactive games that help assess cognitive responses and reactions to help determine whether a driver is impaired or not. The app also lets users report other drivers suspected of being under the influence.

In 2014, there were an estimated 152 people killed in alcohol-related crashes in Maryland. That is one third of all traffic fatalities in Maryland.

The app is funded with federal money from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is available in New York, New Mexico, California and Colorado.
The ENDUI app is free and available thru Google Play and Itunes.

December 22, 2014

Over 60 Million Automobile Recalls Reported in 2014

As a result of Takata Corporation Air bag problems and General Motors Company defective ignition switches, over 60 million U.S. Automobile recalls were reported in 2014. The total to date is well over 60.5 million, making it the highest ever and twice the previous annual record of 30.8 million set in 2004, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This number will rise, even more, as recent recalls have been announce but not recorded, as of yet.

The number will continue to rise in the coming years, mainly, because of the Takata air-bag recalls and GM defective ignition switches. It is because of the slow response to GM's ignition switch defect that the number will continue to rise. Therefore; the NHTSA has pressured automakers to recall cars more quickly when evidence of a flaw is detected. It is with the use of subpoena power and the threat of hefty fines that the NHTSA can pressure automakers to solve their recall problems more quickly.

GM recalled 27 million cars and trucks in the U.S. in 2014, a record for any single automaker. According to the NHTSA, GM issued 10 safety actions of more than 1 million vehicles each. Mainly, for their ignition switch problems; which led to, 42 deaths and 58 injuries. These recalls caused GM almost $2.47 billion through the first three quarters of 2014.

Takata air bag recalls, however, were made on 5.4 million vehicles, mostly from Honda Motors Co. Other recalls of more than 1 million vehicles included steering, cruise control, engines and seat belt problems. The investigation to flaws in the Takata airbags, were for about 8 million vehicles. It was detected that these airbags exploded with excessive force and spread shrapnel through the car during a crash. An estimated 4 people died as a result and over 100 were injured.

Therefore; it is imperative that every consumer is aware of recalls when they are attempting to purchase a new or used vehicle. There are certain sites one can visit to research whether a recall has been issued for the vehicle one is interested in, and dealership can also inform the consumer of safety issues with every vehicle on their inventory.

October 29, 2014

Chemical Propellant Linked to Exploding Airbags Used by Takata

Airbags in motor vehicles use a propellant to inflate the airbags in the event of a motor vehicle crash, but Takata airbags has been using a chemical propellant, to inflate their airbags, that has been the cause for a recall of nearly 8 million vehicles. The problem with the Takata airbags is that to make their airbags inflate, they are using a dangerous chemical, aluminum nitrate, which can cause injury and death. When the airbags inflate and explode, they, cause shrapnel and other debris to enter the vehicle and can cause injury and death to the driver and passengers. To date, the use of Aluminum nitrate in the Takata airbags has been linked to at least four deaths and a number of injuries.

Takata airbags are mostly used by the automobile manufacturer Honda, and so far all the deaths associated with these airbags have been linked to Honda vehicles. Other vehicle manufacturers have had to make recalls, as well, but Honda has had the majority of the recalls associated with the use of Takata airbags.

To date, Takata is the only company that uses Aluminum nitrate as an airbag propellant. This chemical, though efficient at inflating the airbags in the speed needed to respond to a vehicle collision or impact, reacts negatively to moisture. This negative reaction to moisture, in turn, increases the power of the chemical reaction, and therefore; causes the airbags to explode. The explosion causes debris and other particles to enter the vehicle cabin and can hurt the driver and passengers in the vehicle. As stated, previously; four people have died as a result of using Takata airbags, to date.

The chairman of Takata Corporation, which was founded in 1930, is Mr. Shigehisa Takada. Earlier this week, Mr. Takada publicly apologized for the defective airbags. He said the company has put aside about $28 million dollars to pay for the recalls, in addition to the almost $70 million already spent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the risk of the Takata airbags, specifically in areas with warmer climates, such as Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the Gulf of Mexico. The NHTSA has urged owners of vehicles with Takata airbags to seek immediate repairs. Therefore; all vehicle owners with Takata airbags need to have their vehicles repaired, especially those in warmer climates, as they are more seriously affected, due to higher moisture levels and the reaction that causes with the chemical Aluminum nitrate used by Takata airbags.

June 2, 2014

Car and Truck Crashes Are Costly

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a report last week in which it was reported that the economic and societal harm from motor vehicle accidents amounted to $871 billion in 2010.

In 2010, there were almost 33,000 deaths, 3.9 million people were injured and 24 million motor vehicles damaged, as a result of car and truck crashes. Out of the estimated $871 billion economic and societal cost of car and truck accidents $277 billion was attributed to economic costs; that equals to an average of $900 for every person living in the United States. $594 billion included harm from loss of life, pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries from car and truck accidents.

The economic cost of $277 billion, in the U.S., means that is the equivalent to almost 2 percent of the United States gross domestic product. These factors included productivity losses, property damage, and cost of medical treatment, legal and court fees, emergency services and insurance administration and costs to employers. Nearly three quarters of these costs are paid through taxes and insurance premiums.

There are several behavioral factors that contributed to motor vehicle accidents, all of which can be avoided:

1) Driving while intoxicated/impaired by alcohol or other drugs;
2) Speeding;
3) Distracted driving, and;
4) Lack of seat belt use

Alcohol related driving accounted for $199 billion, in other words 23 percent of the $871 billion. Crashes involving speeding account for $210 billion or 24 percent, distracted driving accounted for $129 billion or 15 percent, and, lack of seat belt use accounted to $72 billion or 8 percent.

All of these factors could have been avoided and prevented by drivers. It is imperative that drivers realize that driving is a privilege and not a right, and, therefore; needs to be taken seriously. Not only is your life in your hands, but the lives of everyone on the road. Responsibility is a key factor. Every person on the road needs to be alert, knowledgeable of the rules of the road and conscience of their actions at all times. If we do all we can to be safe drivers, these economic and societal harms can and will be avoided and therefore; less costly to human life and our Nation as a whole

May 13, 2014

Online Vision Certification Service Award Given to the Maryland MVA

The StateScoop 50 has given the honor of the Innovation of the Year Award to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) for their Online Vision Certification Service. The honorees were chosen by its readers and were announced at a reception in Baltimore, Maryland, earlier this month. The StateScoop 50 organization recognizes and awards programs and/or individuals for their achievements and contributions to the state and local government IT community. Therefore, at the reception, the MVA was given the honor for their Online Vision Certification Service.

The Online Vision Certification Service was launched in 2013 with the intention to reduce branch office walk-in traffic and customer wait times. The service allows drivers to easily renew their licenses online. Before this program was implemented, drivers over the age of 40 had to visit their vision provider to complete a paper eye exam form and either mail it in or visit a branch office in order to renew their license, but with this new program, drivers over the age of 40 can take the vision test at a participating eye physicians office and the results are submitted electronically to the MVA, without having to make the driver either mail the test results form in or visit the MVA to renew their license. So drivers over the age of 40 have the ability to renew their license online.

There are over 600 provider locations that participate with this MVA Online Vision Certification Service Program. The list of all providers can be found by searching "vision" at www.maryland.gov or through the MVA's website at www.mva.maryland.gov and clicking on the Online Vision Certification Service link.

Since being implemented, there have been well over 10,000 eye exam results submitted to the MVA. There is no extra cost to the providers to sign up for the service. All one needs is a computer and an internet connection. The program, was however, funded, by NIC Maryland, through the self-funded eGovernment services contract with the State Department of Information Technology (DoIT).

The NIC is the nation's leading provider of official state government portals, online services, and secure payment processing solutions. NIC's eGovernment service serves to help reduce costs and increase efficiencies for government agencies, citizens, and businesses across the United States. NIC provides eGovernment solutions for over 3,500 federal, state and local agencies nationwide.

April 16, 2014

Autonomous Vehicles May Be Introduced In the District of Columbia

A couple of states in the United States have begun to legalize the operation of autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles are also known as driveless cars, driver-free cars and self-driving cars. By Autonomous it is meant that a vehicle is capable of fulfilling the human transportation capabilities of a traditional car. An autonomous vehicle is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input or interaction. These vehicles sense their surroundings with the use of radars, GPS and computer vision. It is with these tools that the vehicle is able to navigate through streets as well as obstacles on the road. These vehicles keep track of their position even when conditions change in their surroundings.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established an official classification system for Autonomous vehicles. The 5 levels are as follows:

Level 0: Drivers completely control the vehicle at all times;

Level 1: Individual vehicle controls are automated, such as electronic stability control or automatic braking;

Level 2: Two or more controls can be automated in unison, such as cruise control in combination with lane keeping; and

Level 3: The driver can fully cede control of all safety-critical functions in certain conditions. The car senses when conditions require the driver to retake control and providers a sufficiently comfortable transition time for the driver to do so.

Level 4: The vehicle performs all safety-critical functions for the entire trip, with the driver not expected to control the vehicle at any time. As this vehicle would control all functions from start to stop, including all parking functions.

These autonomous vehicles may be introduced in the District of Columbia in the coming weeks since new rules were introduced last week. The District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles published a set of new guidelines last Friday, in accordance with the Autonomous Vehicle Act of 2012, to allow drivers to obtain licenses for self-driving vehicles, and if there are no objections, will go into effect in 30 days. If this goes into effect, the District of Columbia would be the first jurisdiction to license self-driving operators. The process to obtain these special self-driving operator licenses is as simple as taking a self-driver training seminar, filling out the proper paperwork and paying the $20 fee. The application process means that each person trying to obtain this special license needs to acknowledge that they will be deemed the "Driver" of the vehicle while it is operating in autonomous mode, and are therefore responsible for speeding, rolling thru stop signs, and missing or passing thru traffic signals. This means that they are subject to the same traffic laws that non-autonomous cars and drivers have to follow.

Each applicant will also have to complete a training seminar and obtain certification in the operation of autonomous vehicles. These courses will be provided by self-driving car dealerships and manufacturers. Once the course is completed, forms executed, license fee paid and license obtained, each driver will have a new "A" printed on their license to show that they are certified to operate an autonomous vehicle. Once the operator is issued a license the final step is to apply for a special license plate that will only be used for self-driving cars.

Some of the advantages of autonomous vehicles are that fewer traffic accidents and collisions will happen, due to the system's increased reliability and faster reaction time compared to human drivers, roadway capacity will increase and traffic congestion decreased due to the reduced need for safety gaps and the ability to better manage traffic flow, relief of vehicle occupants from driving, higher speed limits, removal of constraints on occupants' state, due to the fact that the drivers age, blindness, distractedness, intoxication or other impairment will not matter, and alleviation of parking scarcity, are a few of the advantages of autonomous vehicles.

Some of the obstacles however are Liability for damages, software reliability, resistance for individuals to give up control of their vehicles, Cyber security, the implementation of legal framework and the establishment of government regulations for self-driving cars, drivers will become less experienced when manual driving is needed and the loss of driver related jobs.

March 4, 2014

What to Do When You Are Involved In An Automobile Accident

More than 5 million automobile accidents occur each year, nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you were involved in an accident, would you know what to do and what information to obtain in order to set up an insurance claim? Well here are some helpful hints and tips for you to do following a crash.

1) Be Prepared - this means that before you hit the road, it is important that you understand your automobile insurance policy and the coverage that you have. Your automobile insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. Therefore; it is important that you carry a current insurance card in the car along with the registration to your vehicle. If needed, have your insurance agent explain all the coverage you have and the specific elements included in our policy. Such things as: your deductible, collision coverage, what your liability coverage limits are, Personal injury protection or medical payments coverage, uninsured and underinsured limits, etc. All these items help protect you when you are involved in an accident and the other driver is held at fault or responsible for the collision.

2) After you are involved in an accident, it can be a hectic and stressful situation. It is sometimes difficult to remember what to do, but the most important thing is to obtain the following information from the other person or persons involved in the accident: their name, their insurance information; which should include; name of the insurance carrier and policy number.

3) The following should be done immediately after the accident occurs:
- Assess the scene and try and remain calm.
- Call the police and inform them of any injuries. If the police cannot be immediately dispatched to you, make sure and file and incident report over the phone.
- Do not admit fault at the scene. Be courteous to the other party, but do not admit fault.
- Take photographs of the damage to all vehicles involved and damage to any property surrounding the area.
- Exchange your name and insurance information with the other party; and
- Obtain the names and contact information for any witnesses.

4) Filing a Claim - It is important to file a claim with the insurance company as soon as possible. It is at this time that details of the accident are still fresh in your mind. When you make the initial call to your insurance carrier make sure and have all the information you obtained from the other party, witness information and if available; the incident or police report number, so that a copy of the police report can be obtained. Once the claim has been set up you will be given a claim number and the contact information for the representative assigned to your claim. Your insurance company should be able to contact the other insurance company involved and establish liability. Once it has been determined who was at fault for the accident your property damage can be taken care of. You will be given information for body shops and collision centers the insurance company deals with directly, if not you can chose your own shop, but it must be certified and have all the proper licenses to operate. A rental vehicle may be given to you, depending on the coverage, while your vehicle is being fixed. If your vehicle is deemed a total loss you will have the option of keeping your vehicle as a salvage or to turn over your vehicle to the insurance company. The choice is yours. As far as your medical expenses and treatment, that is covered by the at fault insurance carrier. Make sure and keep copies of all medical bills, records, prescription receipts and any other out of pocket costs you may have to submit to the insurance company so your claim can be properly examined.

5) Retain an attorney that specializes in automobile accidents and personal injury cases. Once you obtain an attorney they will handle all aspects of your claim directly with the insurance company. Your only job, after you obtain an attorney, is to get better, get the proper medical treatment and make sure you reach maximum medical improvement.

When a person is involved in an automobile accident and is injured, it is important to seek the aid of an experienced attorney. It will be the attorneys' responsibility to get you the best possible monetary settlement in order to cover all your medical expenses and compensate you for your pain and suffering. So, when you have been involved in an automobile accident, make sure and contact our office and we will do all we can to get you the best possible result.

February 3, 2014

State Highway Safety Laws in 2013

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety published a report titled, "2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws", in which the District of Columbia was ranked as the best for having the most basic traffic safety laws in the United States, while South Dakota was ranked the worst.

The 2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws is in its eleventh year of publication and it uses the following criteria:

- Grades all 50 states in the United States and the District of Columbia;
- Grades based on 15 basic traffic safety laws;
- Takes into consideration the progress in the last 25 years; and
- Considers the risks that put drivers and children at risk.

The purpose of the report is to advance state and federal highway and vehicle safety laws, programs and policies in the United States. It is published by a group of leading consumers, both health and safety organizations and insurance agents and companies whom when gathered together are known as the Advocates.

In the report, it states that the District of Columbia has 12 laws related to basic traffic safety laws. The report gives three different ratings to each state. They range from Green (Good), Yellow (Caution) and Red (Danger). This year was the first year that a safety law was included for enforcing seat belts to rear seating passengers. In order for any state to receive a green rating it had to have included a law enforcing all vehicle passenger safety. Also, a state had to have 11 to 15 laws including both primary enforcement seat belt laws, nine or more laws including both primary enforcement seat belt laws and an all-rider helmet law.

States with a rating of Red have less than seven laws on the books and do not include front and rear seat passenger seat belt laws, therefore; they are deemed dangerous states for drivers and passengers.

There where however six new state laws enacted in 2013. They were the following:
- Primary Enforcement of Seat Belts
- All-rider motorcycle Helmet Use
- Booster Seats
- Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) for teen drivers
- Impaired Driving
- All-Driver Text Messaging Restrictions

November 26, 2013

Cycling Deaths Are on the Rise

In 2012, Cycling deaths increased by 6.5 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2011, 682 cyclists died while riding in traffic and in 2012 the number of deaths rose to 726. 37 percent of those deaths were for people between the age of 45 and 64. The second leading age range of deaths were cyclists between the age of 25 to 34.

It was determined by research conducted by the NHTSA that the leading cause of cyclist deaths was drivers who failed to yield the right of way. Drivers who failed to yield the right of way caused 188 deaths out of the 726 deaths in 2012. That means that 26 percent of cyclist deaths in 2012 were as a result of drivers who failed to yield the right of way to cyclist.

The two other leading causes of cyclist deaths were drunk drivers, which caused 65 deaths and cyclists who wore dark clothing and no lighting gear when traveling in the dark, which caused 62 deaths. 25 percent of Cyclist deaths occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., while almost half of the deaths occurred between noon and 6 p.m. (49.4 percent to be exact). 15 percent of deaths occurred between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m..

Other contributing factors to cyclist deaths were cyclists who failed to obey traffic signs, cyclists who rode their bikes the wrong way on roads and improperly crossing intersections and roadways.

The NHTSA's press release on this subject focused mainly on highway deaths.

September 3, 2013

Safe Driving in School Zone Tips

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) an average of 14 children die each year in school transportation related accidents, therefore; now that schools are back in session, children safety should be a priority for all drivers traveling in school areas.

D.C., Maryland and Virginia have the following school safety laws in effect:

- It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children. The only exception to this rule is when you are traveling on a divided roadway.

- All traffic traveling directly behind a school bus must come to a complete stop until all children have loaded or unloaded the school bus and the lights on the school bus have turned off.

- The 10 feet surrounding the school bus is considered to be the most dangerous area for children, therefore; make sure and give more than the minimum amount of space between your vehicle and the school bus. In Maryland a vehicle must be at least 20 feet behind the stopped school bus and in the District of Columbia a vehicle must be at least 15 feet behind the stopped school bus.

- Keep a proper look out of children entering or exiting the school bus because most children consider the area that the school bus stops as a safe area and so they may be unaware of their surroundings or dangerous situations that could arise.

- School buses use yellow lights to advise drivers that they are approaching a stop and when the red lights and extended arm signal appear it means the school bus is at a complete stop and unloading or loading children.

- There are fines and points associated with speeding in a school zone. If you are issued a citation you will also be given 3 points on your license. If you are going more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit in a school zone you will be given 6 points on your license, a hefty citation and be charged with reckless driving. You may even lose your license for six months.

- When you approach a school zone, the safest thing to do is to travel at 25 mph as a maximum speed, unless otherwise stated by the posted speed limit signs.

- the majority of crashes involving children and school buses occur between 3 pm and 4 pm on weekdays, therefore; use extra caution during these times in school zones, as well as in the early morning hours.

August 7, 2013

August Is the One of the Deadliest Months for Pedestrians and Drivers Nationwide

Yield-To-Pedestrians-Safety-Sign-K-4103.gifAccording to a study conducted by the Department of Transportation it is safer to be a pedestrian in the state of Virginia then in any other state nationwide. It was reported that less than 10 percent of traffic fatalities in Virginia involved pedestrians. It was stated in the report that in both 2010 and 2011, 73 pedestrians were killed as a result of an accident involving another vehicle each year, in the state of Virginia. This means that pedestrian fatalities in Virginia are holding steady while they increase nationwide.

In the neighboring state of Maryland the percentage was 21 percent and in the District of Columbia it was determined that 20 percent of traffic fatalities involved pedestrians. It is important to know that everyone is responsible for the safety of pedestrians. Drivers, the pedestrian and people in decision making positions are all responsible for the safety of pedestrians.

Most pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas, at night and involve alcohol, increasingly. Therefore; these areas should have better sidewalks, crosswalks, signals and overall, be safer for pedestrians.

AAA Mid-Atlantic conducted a study which determined that August is the deadliest driving month nationwide. The dates specifically seem to be August 3rd, 4th, 6th and 12th. Out of over 10,000 motor vehicle accidents on the highways of Virginia, there were 5,800 injuries and 74 deaths, making it the second deadliest month in 2012. The first deadliest month in Virginia in 2012 was July. It was the few days before, during and after the Independence Day celebrations on July 4th. In 2011, Virginia was ranked the 16th deadliest state to drive in, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Therefore, if you plan on hitting the road in August make sure and buckle up, drive safely, keep an eye out for pedestrians and children playing outside, try to have the least amount of distractions while on the road, do not get behind the wheel if you have consumed any amount of alcohol and/or drugs, and overall drive with a little more caution then normally.

July 11, 2013

A Motor Vehicle is Stolen Every 40 Seconds in the U.S.

July and August are the worst months for car thefts nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA has reported that a motor vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds in the United States and that over 40 % of the vehicles stolen are stolen as a result of the owners and/or drivers fault. Owners/drivers tend to leave vehicles unlocked or worse, with the key in the ignition. The NHTSA also reported that out of all the vehicles stolen in the United States, that only 52 % of them are ever recovered.

Here is a list of the top 5 vehicles stolen in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (as reported in 2010 by the National Insurance Crime Bureau):

D.C.
Dodge Caravan
Honda Accord
Jeep Cherokee
Honda Civic
Toyota Camry

MD
Dodge Caravan
Honda Accord
Honda Civic
Ford Pickup (Full size)
Toyota Camry

VA
Honda Accord
Ford Pickup (Full size)
Honda Civic
Toyota Camry
Dodge Caravan

If your vehicle is stolen, make sure and contact the police as soon as possible to file a stolen vehicle report. Also, make sure and contact your automobile insurance company to file a claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle stolen.

May 13, 2013

The Safe Rental Car Act

A new bill will be presented named "The Safe Rental Car Act" to the U.S. Senate sometime this year, where it states that Rental car companies are to ground any recalled vehicles within 24 hours of receiving a recall notice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The time limit is extended to 48 hrs if a rental company has more than 5,000 of the affected vehicles in its fleet. At times, certain recalls provide a list of temporary measures that can be taken until the complete fix is available. If such an option is made available, rental car companies are allowed to continue to rent those recalled vehicles until the replacement parts are available and distributed accordingly.

The bill, if passed, would also give the NHTSA the right to investigate rental car companies' compliance with the law. Passing the Safe Rental Car Act has its ups and downs, according to rental car companies such as Hertz, Budget, Enterprise, etc. Some rental companies say it's too hard a law to abide by because depending on the vehicle that is being recalled, rental companies might be forced to ground thousands of vehicles, which would in turn affect the customer, reduce the inventory available at each rental company and any recalled vehicles already out on loan would have to be replaced immediately.

Secondly, some recalls are less serious than others. For example, if a vehicle is being recalled for brake failure or fluid leaks or engine troubles then that recall is important and should be immediately grounded but if the recall is for a proper tire pressure label then that recall is not as important, serious or dangerous to the renter.

Lastly, rental companies, sometimes, point out that taxis do not have to follow the same legislation as rental companies, and to them, that is not fair. They consider taxis as vehicles that take a non-vehicle owner from one place to another and should therefore follow the same legislation, rules and laws as rental car companies in order to maintain the safety of the driver and passenger in these recalled vehicles.

However; if the new bill is passed, it is only for and in the best interest to the public/consumer. When renting vehicles, the rental companies are ultimately taking risks and taking responsibility for the vehicles that they are renting to the public. It is simply one of the risks that come with the rental car business.

April 17, 2013

Traffic Accidents Still Leading Cause of Teenage Deaths in the U.S.

In the United States, traffic accidents are still the leading cause of teenage deaths, according to a report issued in April 2013 by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm Insurance. The main causes of teenage car accidents, according to the report, are texting while driving, driving while intoxicated, driving while under the influence, distracted driving, speeding and lack of seat belt use. Speeding in particular counts for more than half of fatal crashes which involve teens ages 15 to 19 years of age. As for texting while driving, the report states that one third of teen driver's still report texting, messaging and/or emailing while driving.

41 percent of car accidents studied in the CHOP report stated that teens had a blood alcohol content level higher than 0.01, which is an increase from 38 percent when the same study was conducted in 2008. Therefore; it is estimated that teens have car accidents at four times the rate of adult drivers ages 25 to 69.

The report states that by reducing distractions from passengers and technology, improving skills in scanning, hazard detection, speed management and increased seat belt use would lower teen crashes and ultimately teen fatalities. Parents are also encouraged to enforce tougher rules and limitations to their new licensed teen drivers. Such as, limiting the number of friends their teens may have in one vehicle at any given time and to make their vehicles a no phone zone, which means that the driver is not allowed to use their cell phone until they have reached their destination. Handheld or hands-free devices should be included. Also, parents should set time limits to their new licensed teen drivers. Make sure these teens are not driving too late into the evening, in the dark, too early in the morning or for too long a period of time.

If both teens and parents educate themselves to the rules of the road and sit down and make sure that limits and rules are set for teen drivers, then teen car accidents and fatalities as a result of teen car accidents would decrease in a major way. Remember that driving is a privilege and not a right; therefore, it is a responsibility that we all must take seriously, teen or adult. Everyone should take responsibility for themselves and others when operating a motor vehicle.