Don't Text And Drive

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Sending A Message About Texting While Driving

(NAPSI)—Young adults live in a constantly connected world where multitasking is ingrained in their DNA. Realizing that this behavior becomes dangerous when young adults text behind the wheel, the State Attorneys General, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council are launching a new texting and driving prevention public service advertising (PSA) campaign aimed at 16−24-year-old drivers. The message is simple: When you text and drive, you’re not multitasking—you’re driving blind.

Consider the following:

• 82 percent of young adult drivers ages 16 to 24 have read a standard text message while driving, according to a national survey conducted by the Ad Council (2011).

• An online survey of 1,999 teens ages 16 to 19 found that 86 percent had driven while distracted even though 84 percent know it’s dangerous (2010).

• 23 is the average number of texts per month that teens who text and drive admit to sending (2010).

Distracted Driving

NHTSA reports that distracted driving is the No. 1 killer of American teens (2007). 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving (2009). The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) reports that a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a nontexting driver (2009).

“Distracted driving is dangerous and, tragically, teen drivers are the most at risk of being involved in a fatal distracted driving crash,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

A New Campaign

To address this issue, the State Attorneys General and Consumer Protection agencies, NHTSA and the Ad Council unveiled new PSAs created pro bono by New York advertising agency The Concept Farm. They are designed to communicate the dangers of texting and driving to teens and young adults. By taking their eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, they are making the roads less safe for themselves, their passengers and other drivers.

All the PSAs direct audiences to, a new campaign website where teens and young adults can find facts about the dangers of texting while driving and tips on how to curb the behavior. The website also has an area where individuals can post and share on Facebook the actions they are taking to stop texting and driving.

To learn more, visit

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Drive Carefully—And Let A Computer Prove It To Your Insurer

(NAPSI)—Welcome to the world of telematics, bringing you minicomputers connected to your vehicle.

Telematics technology is the integration of telecommunications and computers-in other words, the collection and transmission of data in a seamless flow. Many drivers and others have a great interest in telematics because of what it can do, such as accurately record speed, location, number of miles, amount of time, time of day, braking and other data. Some auto insurers already offer their customers discounts based on such information. In the future, insurers may use telematics data instead of more traditional rating variables, such as age. The voluntary use of telematics offers the opportunity to reduce premiums and promote safety through improved driving behaviors.

“Telematics devices can save lives because they tend to make people more aware of their driving tendencies, known as the halo effect,” said Christopher Sirota, CPCU, of Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) and its ISO business unit, a leading source of information about property and casualty insurance risk. “Truck fleet managers have already noticed the reduction of unsafe driving behaviors by 10 to 50 percent and the same results will probably apply to teenagers. One insurer saw a 30 percent reduction in claims for youthful drivers who opted in to a driving behavior program that applied a surcharge for after-midnight driving.” Insurers’ programs may differ because they will design around the information they collect.

He added that “a recent government study with volunteers using telematics connected to cameras showed that drivers took their eyes off the road for greater than two seconds preceding a crash or near-crash event. People take their eyes off the road for about four seconds while texting. At 55 mph, you’ll travel the length of a football field!”

Drivers need to learn more about the trade-offs that telematics offers on auto insurance rates. One key source of such information is an agent or broker with the letters CPCU after his or her name. That’s proof of advanced insurance education, industry experience and a commitment to a tough and enforced professional ethics code. To find a CPCU, visit, click “Consumers,” then click “Find an Agent/Broker.”

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Vehicle Fires—Dangerous, Preventable?

(NAPSI)—According to the U.S. Fire Protection Agency, fire departments respond to over 250,000 vehicle fires per year. Each year, these fires cause an average of 408 deaths, 1,256 injuries and $787 million in property damage. Fires caused by collisions and rollovers resulted in nearly 66 percent of these fatalities. These deadly fires can occur when the battery sends current through wires or to electrical components that have been damaged in a crash.

To minimize the potential of these dangerous vehicle fires, leading automotive companies like Audi, Mercedes and Porsche have incorporated a simple device that instantly and automatically cuts off current flow from the battery upon airbag deployment. Unlike a fuse, which allows current to flow, this new device automatically cuts off the current and eliminates the potential of an arc-initiated fire.

Unfortunately, this technology, though inexpensive (estimated under $10), is currently available on only certain luxury models. It is expected, however, that these devices will become more standard equipment as other car companies elect to upgrade their vehicles to protect consumers from becoming burn victims or casualties of these deadly fires.

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Driving And Riding Safety Tips

(NAPSI)—Now that school buses are back on the roads, here are some important driving and riding tips:

• Learn the school bus traffic laws in your state. Generally, the law prohibits other vehicles from passing school buses stopped to load or unload passengers. Stop if the bus is stopped and is flashing its red lights. Motorists may not proceed until the school bus’ red lights have stopped flashing and the bus is moving again. You can incur stiff fines and even license suspension if you violate the school bus traffic laws.

• Be cautious about letting your child drive or ride to school with his or her friends. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), school-age children are 50 times more likely to die traveling to school when they drive or ride with friends than if they take the bus. DOT reports that 50 percent of teens surveyed said that they drive more safely without their friends in the car. They admit to being distracted by their passengers, and crash statistics support their statements. Statistics show that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teenagers in the car.

• Be aware that while teens know that they shouldn’t drive while distracted, a large percentage do. According to an Allstate Foundation survey, 46 percent of teens said that they do text even when they are driving.

• Encourage your children to ride the school bus. The National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Transportation agree that school buses are the safest way to transport students to and from school. The industry operates by following safety, security, health, and driver qualifications that meet, and in some cases, exceed federal and state laws. Drivers undergo pre-employment background checks, and frequent driving record reviews; even periodic medical tests and exams are required. School bus drivers are professionals with commercial driver’s licenses who must receive specialized, continuing education and training to obtain a School Bus Endorsement.


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School Transportation That Makes The Grade

(NAPSI)—Before grading different ways to get your kids to school, you may want to separate the transportation safety myths from the facts.

Myth: Students are safe no matter how they get to school.

Fact: The National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Transportation agree that school buses are the safest way to transport students to and from school. The industry operates by following safety, health and driver qualification guidelines that meet, and in some cases exceed, federal and state laws.

Myth: School bus drivers have no special qualifications.

Fact: Bus drivers are professional drivers who carry a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and who, in order to carry a school bus endorsement, undergo background checks prior to employment, receive specialized education and training, are subject to frequent driving record checks and are monitored by periodic medical exams.

Myth: School buses are not safer than other vehicles.

Fact: Unlike other passenger vehicles, school buses have reinforced sides, flashing red lights, cross-view mirrors, a crossbar and stop-arms.

Myth: It’s perfectly safe for your teenager to drive or ride to school with another teen driver.

Fact: According to the Department of Transportation, school-aged children are about 50 times more likely to die traveling to school when they drive or ride with friends than if they take the school bus. Furthermore, a survey by the Allstate Foundation found that almost half of the teens polled admitted being distracted by their passengers. And almost half also said they drive more safely without their friends in the car. Crash statistics show that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teenagers in the car.

Myth: Teen drivers don’t text or talk on their cell phone while driving.

Fact: Forty-six percent of teens admit to texting while driving, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While driving, texters take their eyes off the road and at least one hand off the steering wheel. Talking on a cell phone significantly slows reaction time.

Myth: Most parents prefer other forms of transportation to school buses.

Fact: Every day, 475,000 school buses safely carry 25 million students—more then half of America’s schoolchildren—to school.

Myth: School districts supply enough school buses to meet the communities’ needs.

Fact: Some school districts have reduced bus service simply to save money, leaving students vulnerable. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a school bus to ride.

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Why You Should Be Concerned About The Ethanol In Your Engine

(NAPSI)—Most cars on the road today run on fuel blends that contain ethanol. But motorists may not know that using ethanol-blend fuel can cause significant damage to all types of engines and can result in your car running less efficiently.

The problems arise from the chemical nature of the ethanol fuel. Ethanol attracts water from the air and dissolves it in the fuel. If too much water is absorbed, the ethanol separates from the gas blend, destroying the fuel quality and causing potential damage.

Since ethanol contains less energy than gasoline, cars and trucks may see drops in mileage and performance. Ethanol also attacks many kinds of plastic, rubber and polymer materials found in key fuel system and engine components.

Small engines and two-cycle engines are more seriously affected because ethanol dissolves critical fuel system and engine parts, seriously damaging the equipment. For two-cycle engines, the ethanol interferes with the fuel-oil lubrication, causing additional engine damage.

Boats and marine craft also have ethanol problems on both these fronts—lost fuel economy and performance, and long-term damage to rubber seals, fuel lines and fiberglass tanks. Because the marine environment is so humid, boats that use ethanol are more likely to see phase separation and destruction of fuel quality when the ethanol absorbs too much water.

Because ethanol is virtually unavoidable across most of the country, the only solution for these types of vehicles/machines is to treat the fuel with a fuel treatment that addresses all these major problems.

There is only so much that ethanol treatments can do, so be cautious about false claims. Quality ethanol fuel treatments such as Mix-I-Go and Mix-I-Go Small Engine Formula should do the following, say the experts at Bell Performance, which invented the first fuel additive in 1909:

• Restore some of the lost mileage. Results will vary based on vehicle type and condition, but an 8−12 percent improvement is reasonable for many consumers.

• Protect rubber and plastic parts from ethanol damage.

• Control water buildup and prevent the ethanol fuel from separating.

• Contain detergents to clean out deposited resins that the ethanol leaves behind.

• Reduce your vehicle’s fuel emissions.

For more information, visit or call (877) 231-6673.

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Why Seeing Butterflies While Driving Can Be Good

(NAPSI)—A helpful band of electronic butterflies may soon keep many motorists from getting butterflies in the stomach from fear of running out of fuel. That’s because the more butterflies that appear on the dashboard of a new all-electric car, the more confident the driver can feel about having enough battery life to keep on going.

It’s all part of the way one automaker is working to create cars that best fit the needs of drivers.

Ford chose to use butterflies after testing the in-dash display on a number of potential customers through a specially designed driving simulator. It takes users on an 11-mile circuit through a variety of terrain that a typical drive might include—hills, cities and flat land. In the simulator, a user sees exactly the same information that would appear in the real car, including two 4.2-inch full-color LCD screens flanking the speedometer in the center. These screens provide details on battery charge, distance to charge point, the corresponding budget and expected range surplus.

Feedback from these driving simulations are then used by automotive engineers to make sure the interactive display in the car is easy to use and meets drivers’ needs for simple-to-understand information about range, destinations and charge points, helping owners plan trips most effectively.

“These screens are an integral part of Focus Electric and we thought the best way to make sure they would do their job is to have people come in and try them out for themselves,” explained Ford engineer Paul Aldighieri.

The idea was to make information accessible, particularly for people who are not familiar with the electric vehicle experience. That’s where the butterflies came in. Specifically, they were used to graphically represent how much farther the battery could take the car. An earlier idea, to use a circuit board, was poorly received. It was seen as cold, unattractive and not exciting and dropped in favor of the butterflies.

Drivers who want more in-depth information can use buttons on the steering wheel to configure their own custom information screen, choose trip budgets and range views and decide whether to display associated text with each screen.

The system also helps drivers make the best use of the vehicle’s regenerative brakes to recapture kinetic energy and send it back to the battery.

At the end of each trip, a display screen provides distance driven, miles gained through regenerative braking, energy consumed and comparative gasoline saved by driving electric.

Learn More

For more information, you may care to flutter on by to

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Tips For Buying An ATV That’s Right For You

(NAPSI)—When buying an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), there are numerous models to consider with different features that provide a variety of benefits. Depending on your situation, you might need four-wheel drive, independent suspension or even power steering. All of these and more are available today, but there are also some great value models that might get your job done.

The countless options make it important to do your homework. Here are some tips:

• First, consider how you will use your ATV. Recreational riding? Then a two-wheel drive sport ATV might be your ride. High-performance models combine fuel injection, hybrid aluminum frames and race-ready suspension. Or you can find value buys, especially for entry or step-up-level riders.

Working the land or hunting large acreage? A utility ATV is what you need. Something that can handle towing and hauling, crawl through mud and over rocks. Top-line models feature full four-wheel drive systems, but there are also lower-priced two-wheel drive utility options.

Whatever your priority, work or fun, look to a reputable manufacturer. Companies like Yamaha, which assembles many of its ATVs in its Newnan, Georgia, factory, will stand behind their product with warranties, parts, and dealers with service departments. Buying from a lesser-known manufacturer can get you a cheap price up front, but low quality and no dealer support will almost surely have you paying more in the long run.

• Next, think about what size engine you need. Are you going to be hauling big loads or pulling light chores and riding around your property? Many ATVs can do both, and some of today’s machines boast engines up to 1,000 cc, but if you are a cost-conscious shopper with a lighter workload, then you can probably find a smaller-cc engine that will get you around just fine. Still, look for the models with automatic, dual-range transmissions. The high- and low-range options will help you tour and tow better no matter the engine size.

• Then, read customer reviews online, talk to friends who ride ATVs and look for third-party endorsements. For example, a company that works with motorsports dealerships across the country, ADP Lightspeed, recently released a study showing that Yamaha’s CVT, or Continuously Variable Transmission, was more durable than similar systems in competitive models. A specific third-party finding like this goes a long way in backing up a company’s own claims, and a lasting transmission means more time working or playing on the trails.

• Finally, there’s price. And as mentioned before, each of the different categories—sport, utility, four-by-four or two-wheel drive—will come with a variety of pricing options. Balance your needs with your budget and you should be able to find a model that matches both.

For more information, visit



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