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With Halloween next week, how can I ensure the safety of my kids as they hit the streets to go door-to-door? Of course, they will be accompanied by an adult.

trick-or-treat-kidsGary Jaffarian speaks to the importance of driving slowly in neighborhoods on Halloween and shares great tips for a safe and happy Halloween on how to keep your kids safe as they head out for trick or treating hours.

The most important answer to your question is really a message to those who leave work to drive home on Halloween. Please DRIVE SLOWLY in your neighborhood and on all back roads, as children, teens and parents will be out in force going door-to-door. You may be hungry and tired, but nothing is worth the risk of a potential accident or hitting a trick-or-treater. The sun sets about 5:50 p.m. on Halloween, making the trick or treating the Halloween hours include the darkness.

Tips for Drivers:
• Be aware of which night your town is celebrating the holiday (refer to list below) and know that there are many young children out during those hours and drive slowly!
• Be aware that young trick-or-treaters may dart out from between parked cars.
• Never drive while wearing a mask. Your visibility could be obscured.
• No distracted driving! Of course, no looking at the cell phone or other electronic devices—keep your eyes on the road.
• Have a designated driver if you are attending a Halloween party where alcohol is served.

Tips for parents to keep your children safe:
• Wear a costume that makes it easy to walk, see and be seen. Make sure it’s not too long so that your children will not trip. Make sure all masks allow for normal visibility. Black or dark costumes or body suits make it more difficult to be seen. Bright colors are best.
• An adult should always accompany smaller children. It’s best to take them out earlier in the evening.
• Carry a flashlight and make sure that some sort of reflective material or the popularHalloween flashlight glow light stick are incorporated into all costumes. Your children will be happy to get a glow stick!
• Establish ground rules with children that are too old to be accompanied by an adult, including teens. Such rules could include: what neighborhoods to go to, staying in a group, what time they must come home, and appropriate behavior while trick-or-treating. Be sure they bring a cell phone in case of an emergency. They can use their cell phone light or carry a flashlight or at least a glow stick.glow sticks
• Always use sidewalks when available. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
• Never dart out between parked cars. Always cross at the corners or at crosswalks.
• An outside light on at the front of the house is usually a sign that trick-or-treaters are welcome. Avoid going to houses that are not lit. Never enter any home unless it’s a family member or a friend.
• Allow an adult to inspect all treats prior to eating them. Throw out any treats that appear tampered with. Do not allow homemade treats to be eaten unless you are sure of the source.
• Parents, avoid using your cell phone so you can keep a close watch on the children without any distractions.

Each city and town have various set hours and days to trick-or-treat as follows:
• Haverhill—Saturday, October 28 from 5-7 p.m. to celebrate the holiday, which will eliminate the commuters on the road.
• Andover— Tuesday, October 31 from 5-7 p.m.Halloween on sidewalk
• No. Andover— Tuesday, October 31 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
• Lawrence—Tuesday, October 31 from 5-7 p.m.
• Salem, NH— Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 6-8 p.m.
• Plaistow, NH— Tuesday, October 31 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
• Newton, NH— Tuesday, October 31 from 5-8 p.m.
• Amesbury— Tuesday, October 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
• Boxford— Tuesday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• Danvers— Tuesday, October 31 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• Georgetown— Tuesday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
• Newburyport– Tuesday, October 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Downtown Newburyport trick or treat at shops—Friday, October 27th from 4-5 p.m.
• Peabody— Tuesday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• Rowley— Tuesday, October 31 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
• Salem, MA— Tuesday, October 31 from 5-8 p.m. (if you dare! It’s the #1 most popular Halloween destination in the country!)
• Salisbury— Tuesday, October 31 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Check with your local paper, police or town hall for your town’s hours, if it’s not listed above.

Happy Safe Hall SignHave a Happy Halloween from all of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota—and most of all drive safely, be safe and have fun!

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Gary Jaffarian

How can I get my teen driver to understand the importance of safety, like not texting or getting in a car with anyone who text or drinks and drives?

Teen Driver Safety posterDuring this week of National Teen Driver Safety Week, Gary Jaffarian shares important information for parents of teenagers.

First, some important and scary facts to know and share with your teenager:
• Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15 to 18 years old) in the United States – ahead of all other types of injury, disease, or violence.
• There were 1,972 teen drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2015; and an estimated 99,000 teen passenger vehicle drivers were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the U.S.

National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 15-21 and this week provides an opportunity for all of us as parents to talk with their teenagers about the important rules to follow to be safe when behind the wheel of a passenger car, truck, or SUV. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies the 5 greatest dangers for teens as the following: (note there is little to no difference as the dangers for adults so we can all benefit from this week!):
1. alcohol
2. inconsistent use or no use of seat belts
3. distracted driving mostly from cell phone use or driving drowsy
4. speeding
5. number of passengers. The higher the number of passengers in a teen’s vehicle, the higher the number of accidents.

Teens buckle up less frequently than adults do. In 2013, over half of teens (ages 15-19) killed in crashes were NOT wearing a seat belt. It’s also impacting their younger passengers: when teens aren’t wearing their seat belts, 90 percent of their young passengers (ages 13-19) who die in crashes also aren’t restrained. Teens need to know that wearing a seat belt can make the difference between life and death.

For teens, driving means freedom and independence. They feel they’ve grown up. But even the brightest, most conscientious teens find themselves in danger on the road simply because they lack experience behind the wheel.

In Massachusetts and N.H. you can be pulled over for texting and driving and both states do not allow teens to drive with a cell phone in their hands. There is a penalty for first timers.

Not only for the sake of insurance costs, it is important for your teen to have both classroom and on-the-road driving instruction. Even if you think your teens aren’t listening, they usually do. Set the rules before they hit the road and be firm. Consider consequences as a way to reinforce the importance of following the law (seat belts) and making good decisions (e.g., not speeding and not driving impaired).

1. No Drinking and Driving — Talk about the fact that it’s illegal to drink before you’re 21—and that mixing alcohol and driving, or driving under the influence of any drug, is unacceptable at any age. Almost one out of five teen drivers (20%) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.

2. Buckle Up — The vehicle should not move until everyone is buckled up—front seat or TeensSeatbeltback, on every trip, every time. In 2015, 58 percent of the 531 passengers who died in passenger vehicles driven by teen drivers were not wearing seat belts. When the teen driver was unbuckled, 84 percent of those passengers were also unbuckled.
3. No Distractions – Driving is the first and only task when behind the wheel. That means no phones or texting while driving, and not doing anything else—like eating and drinking or fixing hair and makeup—when you should be 100 percent focused on driving. About 10 percent of all teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash.
4. No Speeding — Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially for teens who lack the experience to react to changing circumstances around their cars. More speed means less time to react. About one-third of all fatal teen-driver crashes involved speeding. Make sure that your teen knows that the rule is to obey the posted speed limit at all times.
5. Passengers — Passengers increase a teen’s risk for a fatal crash. That’s because other passengers can distract an inexperienced teen driver. States including Mass. and N.H. have regulations for junior drivers’ passengers as noted below restricting the number of passengers.

Massachusetts Teen Driving Requirements for a Junior Operator License (ages 16 ½-18) help parents insure safe driving:
• Teens must have had a learner’s permit for a minimum of 6 months.
• Teens must pass a behind-the-wheel road test and complete a State of Massachusetts approved driver education program with 12 hours on the road behind the wheel training; 6 hours in the car observing other student drivers; and 2 hours of parent or legal guardian attendance during driver education.
• Complete a minimum of 40 hours supervised on the road driving or 30 hours on the road supervised driving if they have completed a driver skills development program.
• May not drive with passengers under the age of 18 that are not immediate family 4 teensmembers for the first 6 months unless they are accompanied by licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age with a minimum of 1 year of driving experience. The adult license holder must occupy the front passenger seat next to the Junior Operator.
• Teens may not drive between the hours of 12:30 AM to 5:00 AM unless they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

New Hampshire considers a junior operator until age 18 with the following restrictions and by law cannot operate a vehicle:
1. between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.
2. with more than one passenger less than 25 years of age who is not a member of the driver’s family unless accompanied by a licensed, responsible adult who is at least 25 Prevent-Teen-Car-Crashyears of age during the first six (6) months holding the license.
3. with more passengers than seat belts or safety restraints in the vehicle.

These laws help minimize teen accidents. Toyota has a TeenDrive 365 website for parents where you can pledge to be the kind of driver you want your teens to be. They believe teens follow in their parents’ footsteps…if you talk on the phone while driving, they will want to as well, despite the fact it is legal for adults. AAA also has teen driver safety information on their website.

Some parents try leaving “love notes” in their teens backpack or lunch to remind them to drive carefully or not ride with a teen who may be texting. Nothing may work better than knowing you have motivation to come home safely to your family. Let your young driver know that obeying the rules of the road is a prerequisite for the privilege of driving. This is the one time when you need to be both firm and loving and let your teens know there is no room for a margin of error when it comes to driving. Good luck having that important conversation—and not just this week, but on an ongoing basis.

All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota want your teens to be safe on the road.

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Gary Jaffarian

How do I check the air in my tires? How do I know the correct tire pressure? I’m not sure how to use those air pumps at gas stations.

woman fill tireGary Jaffarian explains how to check your tire pressure. Read this blog to learn how to use a gauge or fill the tires at the gas station and where to check how much air you need in your tires in summer vs. winter. Better still —- he can tell you where to get them checked and filled for free!

This is a great question especially this time of year when the temperature is changing and tire pressure is affected. Some of you may be seeing an indicator on your dashboard. How do I check the air in my tires? How do I know the correct tire pressure? I’m not sure how to use those air pumps at gas stations.

Some of you may be seeing an indicator on your dashboard indicating tire pressure is low: a symbol that looks like an exclamation mark inside brackets or parentheses (pictured here). tire symbol It is important to address low tire pressure as it affects gas mileage and will cause uneven wear and other conditions. If tire pressure is too low, then too much of the tire’s surface area touches the ground, which increases friction between the road and the tire. As a result, not only will your tires wear prematurely, but they also could overheat. Overheating can lead to tread separation — which could cause a serious accident.

It is important to address low tire pressure as it affects gas mileage and will cause tire chartuneven wear and other conditions. If tire pressure is too low, then too much of the tire’s surface area touches the ground, which increases friction between the road and the tire. As a result, not only will your tires wear prematurely, but they also could overheat. Overheating can lead to tread separation — which could cause a serious accident.

tire gaugeOne option is to buy a tire pressure gauge. This is a handy gadget that will tell you the tire pressure in each tire.

The second option is to use air pumps at a local gas station. Some stations have attendants that will assist you while others charge (usually quarters).

Before you use a tire pressure gauge or go to a gas station, you should confirm what your recommended tire pressure is. To find that information, open the driver’s side door and look at the information on the label in the door jam.

How to use the gas station air pumps:
1. Remove the cap or stems from the tire valve on the tire(s) you want to check, one at a time.
2. Use your tire gauge to check the air pressure in the tire.
3. Use the air hose to add air in short bursts.
4. Keep checking the pressure until you get it right.

If you’re not sure how to use a tire pressure gauge, place the pressure gauge on the valve stem and press down hard enough so the hiss sound disappears and your gauge provides a reading. With a standard gauge, the air pressure will push a small bar out from the bottom of the gauge.

If you would like to have your tires checked and filled by a professional or certified technician, make sure to stop at a dealership like Jaffarian Volvo Toyota. We will be happy to check it for you Monday through Saturday. We’re just two minutes off Route 495, Exit 49 (River St. exit) at 600 River St. in Haverhill. It is a good idea to have your vehicle serviced as the weather changes and get your tires and your brakes checked. Drive safely.

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Gary Jaffarian

Leaves are falling. What tips do you have for driving safely in the fall?

wet leaves on roadGary Jaffarian shares to important tips to avoid a common fall driving hazard — hydroplaning on wet leaves.

Fall is officially here and while the temperatures have not felt like it, we are starting to see the leaves fall. Leaves can be a driving hazard. Even dry leaves can present a challenge because they can hide potholes, curbs and street markings and even present a fire hazard should leaves gather inside a hot muffler or tailpipe.

With Fall here, be sure your vehicle’s brakes and tires are in good condition. This time of year the roads can be slick from a combination of rain and leaves. Hydroplaning is a real risk this time of year. Hydroplaning is a build-up of water between your tires and the Wet leavesroad resulting in a loss of traction, steering and brake control. Even a single layer of wet leaves can make braking, steering and stopping difficult. This is particularly dangerous at intersections and even worse at downhill stop signs. Be especially careful when driving on a leaf-strewn highway ramp, on back roads or other areas where you may be traveling north to view the foliage.

Gary Jaffarian’s 10 tips to avoid hydroplaning:
1. Slow down on slick roads. Roads that are covered in leaves may also be slick.
2. Avoid driving through standing water.
3. Keep your tires properly inflated.
4. Rotate and replace tires when necessary.
5. Avoid driving in outer lanes where water tends to accumulate. Middle lanes may be safer.
6. Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front of you, like you would during a snow storm.
7. Turn off cruise control.
8. Drive in a lower gear. Many of the new vehicles we sell have automatic traction control. Be sure it is turned on.
9. Avoid hard braking.
10. Try not to make sharp or quick turns.

When was the last time you had your tires and brakes checked? At Jaffarian Volvo Toyota, we will routinely check them and provide you a report on these and other diagnostics for your peace of mind. Check out our online specials to protect your wallet and bring in your vehicle to be checked by our certified mechanics at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Service Departments. We do your homework for you so check out our “Dare to Compare” online and in our Jaffarian Toyota Service Department. We are committed to saving you time and money while sharing tips to keep you safe. Have a question for me, please submit it!

Happy Autumn! Drive Safely.

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Gary Jaffarian

Where can we go as a family to enjoy the fall season? Viewing foliage isn’t enough to keep young children happy!

Gary Jaffarian has lots of ideas to share for family fun. They are either close to home or throughout New England where the adults can also enjoy seeing the fall foliage.

There is certainly a lot to do this time of year within a short distance or a for a weekend trip in New England. I’m a big fan of all New England states and how much we can do and see within this scenic region. We are fortunate to live in a part of the country rich in mountains, lakes, ocean, and among the best fall foliage in the world. I generally suggest places to see some great fall foliage, but this fall I will suggest fun family activities, as you requested.

We’ll focus on short-distance trips within the state and then some highlights from the other N.E. states.

MASSACHUSETTS:
Amesbury Fair & Country Music Festival at Landry Stadium (12 S. Hunt Road), this Charlie Daniels AMESBURYweekend Sept. 22-24, including the Charlie Daniels Band! Check out their website for detail at www.AmesburyMusicFest.com.

Wachusett Mountain Kidsfest in Princeton is also this weekend, Sept. 23-24 from 10Wachusett kidsfest-calendar a.m.-5 p.m. with unusual highlights such as a reptile show, a maximum velocity bike show, flying high frisbee dogs, a ski ramp for skateboarding, a ropes gym, baby animal petting zoo, crafts and some music shows. There’s something for everyone in the family at this one!

Topsfield Fair runs from Sept. 29-Oct. 9 this year. If you haven’t taken the family yet, then go this year! America’s oldest agricultural fair has turned into days of fun for the whole family. This year’s shows include The Village People, Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits, and GrTopsifeld1ammy-nominated singer Cassadee Pope, among other big shows. There is a Demolition Derby, Monster Truck Show, Moto Maniacs (motorcycle daredevils), a rodeo, the famous Flying Wallendas on their high-wire show and some Disney-themed shows, food, rides, livestock, nature exhibits and a coloring contest.

Newburyport Fall Harvest Festival—Enjoy Downtown Newburyport for a scarecrowNBPT1 contest in Market Square, along with food, crafts, and morning entertainment for children. Of course, there’s all the great shops and restaurants, too. It’s held on Columbus Day Weekend—Sun. and Mon. October 8-9 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Mann Orchards Corn Maze in Methuen is sponsoring a corn maze at their Riverside Farm location at 445 Merrimack Street now through Oct. 31 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily except Monday. They also have hayrides, a petting zoo, a spider web climber, and a giant sandbox, checkers and chess games. There is pumpkinDCIM100MEDIADJI_0060.JPG bowling, a giant coloring mural, mini hay maze for younger children and of course wonderful treats from the Mann Bakery and Orchard including, cider and apple cider donuts, corn dogs, chicken tenders, and even fried oreos! If you just want to buy some fresh apples, backed goods, or cider, visit their orchard at 27 Pleasant Valley across from The Loop.,

Kimball Farms Corn Maze on 780 E. Broadway, Haverhill. This great local find has beenKimball_jpg a working family farm since 1820. From now through Oct. 31, they have a corn maze, hay rides, pony rides, a giant slide and pumpkin painting. They also have llamas and farm animals. It is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

NEW HAMPSHIRE:
N.H. Pumpkin Festival is held on Oct. 13 from 4-8 p.m. and Oct. 14 from 12-8 p.m. inNH_Pumpkin Laconia. This festival features 20,000+ jack-o-lanterns, rides, 50+ food and craft vendors, children’s games, a 200-foot zip line and climbing wall. Pets on leashes are welcome. It’s held at Opechee Park at Pleasant and New Salem Streets in Laconia.

Deerfield Fair (34 Stage Road, Deerfield, NH) This is a big one from September 28-October 1 and is New England’s oldest family fair. There is loads of Deerfield Fairentertainment, animals, agricultural exhibits and family fun. Parking and entertainment are free and it is held at the Deerfield Fairgrounds. There is a demolition derby with tractor pulling, stables. The Flying Wallendas will also be at this fair. Every day has a different schedule, so check out their website.

RHODE ISLAND:
Roger Williams Park & Zoo Jack O’Lantern Spectacular (1000 Elmwood AvRoger Williams2e., Providence) from Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. to Nov. 5 at 10:30 p.m. There are more than 5,000 carved pumpkins which are lit at night. This is a big family favorite during the day with rides and a zoo and this spectacular exhibit at night.

VERMONT:
Vermont Pumpkin Shuckin’ Festival at the Stoweflake Mountain VT Pumpkin_BcResort, 1746 Mountain Road in scenic Stowe on Sunday, Sept. 24 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There is a pumpkin shuckin’ competition, music, chili cook-off and many children’s activities.

MAINE:
Fryeburg Fair (1154 Main St., Fryeburg) from Oct. 1-Oct. 8 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ThereFryeburyFair are farm animals, rides, food and draft horses and exhibition halls, similar to the larger Topsfield Fair. (No dogs allowed.)

Please note that most events with animals do not allow dogs. Most events have per person charges, so check out the websites above for each event. Before you go make sure your vehicle is ready for the journey. If you haven’t had your oil changed according to your manufacturer’s recommendation, or if you’re hearing noises that sound like something may be off, visit Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Service Department on Monday through Saturday for your convenience. You can call 888-718-4749 for an appointment or book on line 24/7. Know before you go, that all is well with your vehicle!

Enjoy your fall trips and send us a photo for our Jaffarian Facebook page if you go to one of these events, or send us a photo of your vehicle at another destination where you go to enjoy some family fun or foliage.

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Gary Jaffarian

How do I know when it’s time to buy a new car seat for my son? I can’t afford to buy the one that grows with him. I find it confusing…


Gary Jaffarian is happy to explain car seat regulations as recommended by law enforcement, government agencies and pediatricians. The week of September 17-23 is Child Passenger Safety Week.

I am so glad you asked this question because children who are not in the right car seat for their size are at risk of injury. Every 33 seconds, one child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash. Often times deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts.

Car Seat age-size-top

The law in Massachusetts, as in most states, is that all children riding in passenger motor vehicles must be in a federally approved child passenger restraint that is properly fastened and secured according to the manufacturer’s instructions until they are 8 years old or over 57 inches tall. When children outgrow their booster, they must wear a seat belt that is properly adjusted and fastened according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the age of 13.

It also is important to know at what age an infant should be facing toward the rear and when they should face forward. The proper car seat is dependent on the child’s age, size and weight. There are four stages of restraints and car seats for infants and young children: infant seats, toddler seats, booster seats and safety belts and there are a variety of types.

• All-in-One Seat (or convertible seat): This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a rear-facing car seatforward-facing seat (with a harness and tether) and to a booster seat as a child grows. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.

• Combination Seat: As a child grows, this seat transitions from a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether into a booster seat.

• Booster Seat with High Back: This type of booster seat is designed to boost the child’s booster seatheight so the seat belt fits properly. It also provides neck and head support and is ideal for vehicles that don’t have head rests or high seat backs.

• Backless Booster Seat: A backless booster seat is designed to boost the child’s height so the seat belt fits properly. It does not provide head and neck support. It is ideal for vehicles that have head rests.

• Seat belts on any type of seat should be fastened properly over the stronger parts of your child’s body. As your child grows, they will move from a rear facing to front facing to a booster seat.

In recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week, area Target stores (Salem and Plaistow, NH and Haverhill) are offering a car seat trade in event. Anyone who brings in a car seatChild seat belt to recycle will get an extra 20% the purchase of a new car seat or booster seat and most are on sale. Babies R Us (Salem or Nashua, NH or Peabody, MA) is offering a national safety event with 25% off all car seats online or in stores this week.

If you have any questions about the correct car seat, please see the chart here, check with your local police department on Car Seat Saturday on September 23rd. Also, if you have any questions, you can make an appointment at a Car Seat Inspection Site or call the Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Information Line at (877) 392-5956.

Keep those babies, toddler and children safe at any cost, and most importantly, drive safely.

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Gary Jaffarian

What is the cause of the most traffic fatalities—speeding, cell phones or drinking?

LastGary Jaffarian presents the research on the top 5 causes of traffic fatalities. You may be surprised at the findings..

If I had to guess without reviewing all the research, I would guess that the top causes of traffic fatalities are due to cell phone use and drinking. No matter the primary causes, it is very unfortunate to learn that 2016 was the deadliest year on the roads in the past decade, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Approximately 40,200 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year, a 6% rise from 2015 and 14% increase since 2014—making it the deadliest year on the road since 2007. Over 40,000 lives lost on the road – that is a horrible statistic.

While both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the NSC both paint a dismal picture, the two organizations calculate traffic death rates differently. NSC uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the

speeding accident

Speeding accidents are among the most deadly.

Centers for Disease Control. It counts both traffic and non-traffic deaths that occur within a year of the accident, while NHTSA counts only traffic deaths that occur within 30 days. NSC’s data also counts crashes on both public and private roadways such as parking lots and driveways.

 

Early in 2017, the NSC conducted an independent survey that shows the kinds of high-risk activities drivers are doing while on the road. The survey asked more than 2,000 people who drive at least 15 minutes on a typical weekday a series of questions about driver safety and actions taken while behind the wheel.

The survey shows drivers are concerned about safety and 83% of respondents said driving is a safety concern. But that hasn’t stopped many of them from speeding, texting, or driving while impaired by alcohol, prescription medication, or marijuana. A startling number of those surveyed said they are comfortable speeding (64%), texting either manually or through voice controls (47%), driving while impaired by marijuana (13%), or driving after they feel they’ve had too much alcohol (10%). Ironic, isn’t it?

While seat belt use has increased and air bags and other technologies have helped save accident victims, the rate is still increasing. Here are the facts by cause:

• Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 29% of the total vehicle traffic walking linefatalities in 2015, a whopping 65% decrease since 1982 and a 49% decrease since 1991. Among persons under 21, drunk driving fatalities have decreased 80%.

• Teens continue to have the highest number of traffic fatalities, mainly because of their addiction to cell phones and other electronic devices, according to Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association.SPeeding arrest by age

• The Governors Highway Safety Association also points to data suggesting an increase in distracted driving. While cars and phones now offer advanced voice controls and other features intended to keep drivers’ eyes on the road, apps like Facebook, Google Maps, Snapchat and others have created new temptations that drivers and passengers find hard to resist. “It’s not just talking on the phone that’s a problem today,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “You now have all these other apps that people can use on their phones.” Distracted driving affects drivers of all ages.

• The National Safety Council is calling for all states to ban hand-held cell phones. N.H. is one of those states, Massachusetts is not. Ideally, they would like to extend laws banning all cell phone use – including hands-free – to all drivers, not just teens; upgrade texting while drvingenforcement from secondary to primary in states with existing bans, meaning you can be stopped for that reason only.

• Of all traffic accidents, not just fatalities, 23% are caused by cell phone use or texting, whereby eyes are off the road for at least 5 seconds. That mean 1 of every four accidents is caused by cell phone use and the number of functions that take eyes off the road using smart phones. The National Safety Council believes the number is severely under-reported, however, they believe cell phones are responsible for 52% of all fatalities.

• Depending on the year, speeding related fatalities have accounted for 30-32% of all accidents. The charts clearly show males overwhelming speed more than females and the younger the age, the higher the rate of speeding. Most of the accidents caused by speeding are attributed to males 16-25. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), drivers ages 16-19 are three times more likely to crash than drivers over 20, due to risky behaviors including speeding, cell phone use and texting.

• Illicit drug use is more difficult to count than alcohol because of a lack of testing or measurement for drug use. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported 1 in 3 drivers killed in car crashes tested positive for drugs.

• However, 43% of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a prescription or illegal drug, more than the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, therefore making it hard to know exactly but somewhere in the 33-43% range.

• While drowsy driving statistics are also hard to measure and unreliable from admissions point, especially in fatal accidents, the statistics of driving while drowsy are driving drowsyextremely high as Americans have more stress and less quality sleep. The NHTSA believes that 1550 deaths are caused each year by drowsy drivers.

There you have it—drinking, distracted drivers (using cell phones or other devices), drug use, drowsy drivers and speeding are the main causes of accidents. Unlike weather conditions, these are all controllable factors—and in some ways—you could say not accidents, but choices made by drivers before or during getting behind the wheel. Because of the way the statistics are captured, it is still difficult to rank exactly causes, but most statistics point to the causes in this order:
#1 Distracted drivers including cell phones, texting and other electronic device usage
#2 Drug and prescription drug use
#3 Drunk driving
#4 Speeding
#5 Drowsy driving.

And last but not least…according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety….

State With The Lowest Death Rate – Massachusetts  0.6 per thousand!

Please drive safely and don’t become one of these statistics.

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Gary Jaffarian

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