Posts Tagged ‘AAA President’

Proper vehicle maintenance can help holiday travelers avoid trouble on the road

ORLANDO, Fla., (December 14, 2012) – As 84.4 million travelers take to the roads for the year-end holiday, AAA anticipates coming to the assistance of more than 1.2 million stranded motorists between December 19, 2012, and January 2, 2013. The nation’s largest motor club will be busy with lockouts, battery replacements, jump starts, changing tires, extricating vehicles from snow, towing vehicles for repair and more.

“Becoming stranded on the roadway is the last thing on anyone’s holiday wish list,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA National Vice President, Automotive, Financial Services and E-Business.  “Whether you are staying local or planning a long distance road trip, having your vehicle properly maintained and prepared for holiday driving will help ensure it gets you and your loved ones to your destination safely and without incident.”

Additional Resources

AAA projects its roadside problem-solvers will be able to remedy the issues of more than three out of five stranded motorists at the roadside and send them on their way, but the remaining travelers will still need a tow this year-end holiday season.

More than 288,000 requests for help with a dead battery are expected, and among those rescued AAA roadside service personnel will conveniently replace more than 80,000 failed batteries on the spot.   AAA also expects to retrieve more than 198,000 sets of keys locked inside vehicles, change more than 166,000 tires and perform more than 21,000 vehicle extrications during the year-end holiday period.

Drivers can avoid the causes of some roadside breakdowns by keeping their vehicles properly maintained.  AAA advises motorists to follow their vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and make sure their vehicle is ready for the rigors of year-end holiday driving.

Here are a few things to add to your list before heading out for your holiday drive:

  • Antifreeze. Check antifreeze annually to ensure it will withstand the winter cold. A 50/50 mixture of coolant and water will protect against freezing.
  • Windshield wipers and washer fluid. Replace wiper blades if they do not clear the glass in a single swipe without streaking. Where appropriate, consider the use of special winter blades that offer improved performance in snow and ice conditions. Fill the windshield washer reservoir with winter detergent fluid to prevent freeze up.
  • Tires. Cold weather reduces tire inflation pressure, so check tire pressures frequently and maintain the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure found on the driver’s door jamb—not the pressure stamped on the tire sidewall. Motorists should never reduce tire pressure in an attempt to increase traction on snow and ice. This does not work, and when the roads dry out it can cause excessive tire wear and vehicle handling problems.
  • Battery. Check for a secure fit and clean away any corrosion on the battery and its cable connections. If the battery is out of warranty, it’s advisable to have it tested before cold weather hits. If replacement is necessary, have a certified technician help select the proper battery for your vehicle type and local climate. In many areas, AAA members can make an appointment to have a AAA Battery Service technicians visit their home or office to check and replace batteries.
  • Belts and hoses. Replace accessory drive belts that are cracked, glazed or frayed, as well as coolant hoses that are visibly worn, brittle, bulging or excessively soft. Check for leaks around hose clamps and at the radiator and water pump.

Other important areas to have a certified technician check in preparation for winter include the vehicle’s fluid levels, lights, brakes, exhaust system and heater/defroster. Throughout the winter driving season, motorists should continue to have regular services, including oil and filter changes, performed at the intervals recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

While preventative measures go a long way toward keeping motorists driving safely on the road, unexpected weather or vehicle problems may still arise and leave them stranded. AAA encourages motorists to update their emergency roadside kit for winter to include a mobile phone and car charger; blankets; a flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; a small shovel; a sack of sand, cat litter or traction mats; windshield scraper and brush; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors.

Motorists seeking a trustworthy repair shop to help prepare their vehicle for winter driving are encouraged to visit one of AAA’s more than 8,000 Approved Auto Repair facilities. AAA’s network of approved repair shops is a free public service that enables consumers to identify professional auto shops staffed by certified technicians who are equipped with the proper tools and equipment to service today’s high-tech automobiles. Consumers can find Approved Auto Repair facilities online at AAA.com/repair.

Android and iPhone users can download AAA Mobile, AAA’s mobile smartphone app that provides selected AAA services for all motorists, such as mapping and gas price comparison, as well as member-exclusive benefits including roadside assistance and discounts.  AAA Membership is not required to download and use AAA apps, but is necessary to take advantage of unique member benefits such as roadside assistance.  For more information on AAA Mobile, visit AAA.com/Mobile.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

AAA research reveals need for regulators and industry to suspend E15 sales to protect motorists

ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2012) – A recent survey by AAA finds a strong likelihood of consumer confusion and the potential for voided warranties and vehicle damage as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent approval of E15 gasoline. An overwhelming 95 percent of consumers surveyed have not heard of E15, a newly approved gasoline blend that contains up to 15 percent ethanol. With little consumer knowledge about E15 and less than five percent of cars on the road approved by automakers to use the fuel, AAA is urging regulators and the industry to stop the sale of E15 until motorists are better protected.

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Only about 12 million out of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on the roads today are approved by manufacturers to use E15 gasoline, based on a survey conducted by AAA of auto manufacturers. AAA automotive engineering experts also have reviewed the available research and believe that sustained use of E15 in both newer and older vehicles could result in significant problems such as accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel-system damage and false “check engine” lights for any vehicle not approved by its manufacturer to use E15.

“It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many motorists may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle,” said AAA President & CEO Robert Darbelnet. “Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers.”

Unsuspecting consumers using E15 could end up with engine problems that might not be covered by their vehicles’ warranties. Five manufacturers (BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen) are on record saying their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by the use of E15. Eight additional automakers (GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo) have stated that the use of E15 does not comply with the fuel requirements specified in their owner’s manuals and may void warranty coverage.

The only vehicles currently approved by automakers to use E15 are flex-fuel models, 2001 model-year and newer Porsches, 2012 model-year and newer GM vehicles and 2013 model-year Ford vehicles. These approvals extend only to cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs). The use of E15 is expressly prohibited in heavy-duty vehicles, boats, motorcycles, power equipment, lawn mowers and off-road vehicles.

“The sale and use of E15 should be suspended until additional gas pump labeling and consumer education efforts are implemented to mitigate problems for motorists and their vehicles,” continued Darbelnet. “Consumers should carefully read pump labels and know their auto manufacturer’s recommendations to help prevent any problems from E15.”

AAA urges fuel producers and regulators to do a better job of educating consumers about potential dangers before selling E15 gasoline. This outreach should include a consumer education campaign and more effective pump labels, among other potential safeguards to protect consumers and their vehicles. AAA also recommends additional testing to conclusively determine the impact of E15 use on vehicle engines and fuel system components. At least  ten gas stations currently sell E15 and that number is expected to grow, which means now is the time to suspend sales before more retailers begin offering the fuel.

The EPA in June officially approved the sale of E15 after receiving a waiver request from producers interested in expanding the use of corn-based ethanol. Despite objections by auto manufacturers, the EPA approved the use of E15 gasoline in flex-fuel vehicles and 2001 model year and newer cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles and SUVs. AAA urges consumers to follow the recommendations of manufacturers to truly protect themselves from voided warranties or potential damage.

AAA supports the development and use of alternative fuels. More than 95 percent of the gasoline sold in the United States contains up to 10 percent ethanol. Lower ethanol blends should remain available to consumers while the challenges with E15 are addressed.

The survey findings related to consumer knowledge of E15 are from a telephone survey conducted among a national probability sample of 1,012 adults comprising 504 men and 508 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

16-24 year olds more likely to be involved in drowsy driving crashes finds AAA Foundation study

Washington, D.C., (November 8, 2012) Younger drivers are more likely to drive while drowsy according to new data presented by AAA. Based on a recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one in seven licensed drivers ages 16-24 admitted to having nodded off at least once while driving in the past year as compared to one in ten of all licensed drivers who confessed to falling asleep during the same period.

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These new findings echo data from a 2010 AAA Foundation study of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash data that estimates that young drivers age 16-24 were more likely, by some 78 percent, to be drowsy at the time of the crash as drivers age 40-59. This earlier analysis also revealed that one in six deadly crashes involve a drowsy driver, making it one of the leading contributors to traffic crashes.

“Research shows that fatigue impairs safe driving, with many symptoms causing drivers to behave in ways similar to those who are intoxicated,” said AAA President & CEO Robert Darbelnet. “In preparation for the holiday driving season and with many young drivers heading home for Thanksgiving break, AAA is drawing attention to this often overlooked crash risk that is a serious threat to everyone’s safety on the road.”

The recent analysis also found that while eight out of ten people view drowsy drivers as a serious threat to their own personal safety, many admit to driving while extremely drowsy themselves. In fact, 30 percent of licensed drivers reported having driven in the past 30 days when they were so tired that they struggled to keep their eyes open.

“Unfortunately, most drivers underestimate the risks associated with drowsy driving and overestimate their ability to deal with it—that’s a dangerous combination,” said AAA Foundation President & CEO Peter Kissinger.

Driving while sleepy or fatigued can significantly impact driving ability, causing slower reaction time, vision impairment and lapses in judgment. While there is no guarantee that drivers will recognize when they are becoming tired behind the wheel, signs of drowsy driving can include:

  • Trouble remembering the last miles driven or missing exits and traffic signs
  • Difficulty keeping your eyes open and focused
  • Yawning frequently or rubbing your eyes repeatedly
  • Drifting from your lane or off the road
  • Daydreaming or having wandering, disconnected thoughts

AAA urges all motorists to stop driving and find a safe place to pull over if experiencing any of the drowsy driving symptoms. To remain alert and be safer behind the wheel, AAA suggests:

  • Get plenty of sleep (at least seven hours) the night before a long trip
  • Avoid travelling at times you would normally be sleeping
  • Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles
  • Avoid heavy foods
  • Travel with a companion and take turns driving
  • Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment

AAA is also highlighting the risks of drowsy driving in support of the National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® which runs November 12-18.  This annual campaign provides public education about the under-reported risks of driving while drowsy and countermeasures to improve safety on the road. For more information about drowsy driving, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s drowsy driving website at www.DrowsyDriving.org.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is an independent, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. Visit www.aaafoundation.org or www.facebook.com/AAAFTS for more information on how you can join our cause.

Teens Driving Teens A Deadly Mix

October 11th, 2012 by AAA

New Research Shows that Risky Behaviors Climb when Peer Passengers Onboard

WASHINGTON (October 11, 2012) – Risky behaviors among 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes increased when teen passengers were present according to a study presented today by AAA and conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. With motor vehicle crashes ranking as the leading cause of death for teens, AAA is calling for greater parental involvement and stronger graduated driver’s licensing programs to promote road safety.
The new research, released as part of Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 14-20), shows that the prevalence of risky behaviors generally grew for 16- and 17-year-old drivers as the number of teen passengers increased.  Among 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes:

  • The prevalence of speeding increased from 30 percent to 44 percent and 48 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.
  • The prevalence of late-night driving (11 p.m. to 5 a.m.) increased from 17 percent to 22 percent and 28 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.
  • The prevalence of alcohol use increased from 13 percent to 17 percent and 18 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.

Additional Resources

“Mixing young drivers with teen passengers can have dangerous consequences,” said AAA President & CEO Robert Darbelnet. “AAA urges parents to set and consistently enforce family rules that limit newly licensed teens from driving with young passengers.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed data on fatal crashes that occurred in the United States from 2005 through 2010. The report documents the prevalence of passengers ages 13-19 in fatal crashes involving drivers age 16 and 17, and examines the characteristics of those crashes according to age, sex and number of teen passengers present.  Researchers found that 9,578 drivers age 16 and 17 were involved in fatal crashes, and that 3,994 of these included at least one teen passenger.

“Teen crashes remain a huge problem nationwide,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. “Our past research clearly shows how young passengers substantially increase a novice driver’s risk of being in a fatal crash, and these new findings underscore the need to refocus our efforts, to address the problem, from state legislatures to parents.”

AAA recommends that all states adopt and enforce a comprehensive three-stage (learner’s permit, intermediate/probationary license, full/unrestricted license) graduated license system for novice drivers. These programs should limit driving at night and driving with young passengers, among other provisions designed to help novice drivers gain the skills and experience associated with responsible driving behavior.

“Graduated driver licensing programs have been shown to greatly reduce crashes, injuries and deaths for everyone on the road when they limit new teen drivers to no more than one passenger,” continued Darbelnet. “Steps parents can take, such as setting and enforcing a parent-teen driving agreement, can build on state laws to improve safety by gradually easing teens into driving.”

This study builds on a AAA Foundation report released in May that shows how risk of death in a traffic crash for 16- and 17-year-old drivers increases by 44 percent when carrying one passenger younger than 21, doubles with two and quadruples with three or more younger passengers, compared with driving alone. A previous study by the AAA Foundation found that potentially distracting loud conversation and horseplay were substantially more common with multiple teenage passengers in the vehicle than with siblings or adult passengers.

Teen drivers face a number of safety challenges including:

  • Teenage drivers are involved in more crashes per mile than drivers of any other age group.
  • Drivers aged 16 to 17 are involved in about seven times as many crashes per mile driven compared to drivers in their forties, fifties or sixties.
  • Teenage drivers are overrepresented in crashes that result in the death of other people, such as their passengers, pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles.

AAA has a wide range of tools available at TeenDriving.AAA.com to help parents simplify the learning-to-drive process including parent-teen driving agreements, online webinars, licensing information and free online information developed from a National Institutes of Health program.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is an independent, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. Visit www.aaafoundation.org or www.facebook.com/AAAFTS for more information on how you can join our cause.

(WASHINGTON, May 9, 2012) Statement by AAA President & CEO Bob Darbelnet

“AAA urges Congress to move quickly through conference negotiations and pass a surface transportation reauthorization bill. New legislation is now more than two years overdue and states have delayed many necessary highway and infrastructure projects as a result. This bill is one of the most important laws that Congress can pass because it provides for safe, reliable and effective transportation for all Americans.

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“Transportation has historically been a bipartisan issue, and we are encouraged that both chambers of Congress are coming together today to begin the process of negotiating a compromise bill. The House and Senate agree more than they disagree on transportation policy issues, and it is important to work together in a spirit of cooperation to resolve the few differences that remain.”

Out-of-State Drivers Should Not Be Singled Out for Higher Toll Charges Than In-State Residents

WASHINGTON (April 18, 2012)– Calling for the end to the discriminatory business practice of charging higher toll rates to drivers that make out-of-state toll tag purchases, AAA’s President and CEO Robert Darbelnet yesterday sent a letter opposing the inequitable fees to the E-ZPass Interagency Group (IAG). This letter will be unveiled today by AAA director of federal relations, Chris Plaushin, during a U.S. Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing examining accountability and oversight in tolling.

“We believe this practice is not only unfair and could serve as an impediment to interstate travel and commerce, but also flies in the face of the underlying promise of E-ZPass, which you [IAG] state is ‘to provide the public with a seamless, accurate, interoperable electronic method of paying tolls and fees,’” wrote Darbelnet.

Additional Resources

Darbelnet urged the IAG to put an immediate end to the unequal and unfair treatment among E-ZPass tag holders. “There is no reason for one authority to charge some E-ZPass holders a higher toll, except, unfortunately in our estimation, to take advantage of drivers who may be from out-of-state,” continued Darbelnet. “The fact is, the cost of providing the transportation service and collecting the toll are identical for a vehicle with an E-ZPass tag issued by the home authority and a vehicle with a tag from an away authority.”

AAA clubs represent over 19 million members in the 14 states that make up the E-ZPass network. The E-ZPass IAG is an association of 24 toll agencies that operate the E-ZPass electronic toll collection program, with more than 22 million E-ZPass devices in circulation.

AAA’s full letter can be viewed here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Bill is Step in the Right Direction for Safety of Nation’s Motorists

“AAA applauds Senate passage today of a two-year transportation authorization bill.  We appreciate the bipartisan collaboration that has led to legislation that incorporates many of the reforms, performance and accountability provisions that AAA and many in the transportation community have been calling for in recent years.  The public wants and needs safe and reliable mobility.  Few bills directly impact the entire fabric of the nation as does the transportation bill.  The pressure is now squarely on the House of Representatives to promptly address this critical legislation.”

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 8, 2011

AAA Encouraged by Boxer/Inhofe Transportation Bill

Nancy White“AAA commends U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK) for their bipartisan action to extend the surface transportation program. Congress must not fail in swiftly delivering this measure to the President before the program expires on September 30, 2011. Failure by Congress to act would ultimately impact transportation safety, mobility, and emergency response operations, would threaten our national economic competitiveness, as well as jeopardize thousands of jobs across the country. Beyond the short-term extension, both parties must also continue to work towards a long overdue multi-year highway and transit bill in the same spirit of cooperation. We expect the President to encourage this important next step in his address to Congress tonight.

The President is correct when he says our nation’s aging roads, bridges and transit systems are in a dire need of an upgrade. For the past several years, AAA has called on lawmakers to institute reforms that would create a more accountable and results-driven program. Such actions are critical to restoring the public’s trust in the ability of government to spend transportation user fees wisely. The time is now for Congress and the White House to take bipartisan action and deliver on a transportation bill that makes America stronger and keeps the economy, and the American people, moving into the future.”

Leader of nation’s largest motoring organization discusses potential program reforms and funding options for the nation’s transportation system with panel of key federal legislators

(Washington, D.C. – 7/23/2009) AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet testified before the U.S. House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures today. He called on Congress to authorize increased spending on America’s roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure to address safety concerns as well as congestion, which limits personal mobility and the fluid movement of goods. Recognizing the potential benefits to motorists, and subject to a significantly restructured program that is performance based, Darbelnet said motorists will be willing to pay their fair share of the required investments.

“AAA understands the importance of a safe and efficient transportation system to our nation’s economic competitiveness, safety and quality of life,” said Darbelnet. “Unfortunately, after decades of neglect and under-investment, our transportation system falls well short of meeting our needs. Investing in transportation shouldn’t be considered a luxury.”

Darbelnet noted that, due to inflation and increasing fuel economy, many motorists are actually paying a lower tax per mile than they did when the federal gasoline tax was last increased in 1993.

The availability of more fuel efficient vehicles, combined with almost two decades of inflation, have nearly halved the tax motorists are paying for each mile traveled. “That means in many cases motorist are paying less today under the Obama administration, than they did when Ronald Reagan was president,” he said. “In the current economic downturn, every opportunity to save money is important. However, motorists have never shied away from carrying their fair share of the cost of America’s transportation infrastructure.”

The Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee heard from Members of Congress and a number of other industry stakeholders about the options for funding transportation over the long term. Darbelnet urged Congress to move forward with a multi-year transportation bill as quickly as possible.

“We can’t continue to put off the tough decisions, and we also can’t pretend that there is some painless new funding source to solve this serious problem. The time is now for urgent, proactive national leadership that effectively addresses our critical surface transportation funding challenges.”

A copy of Robert L. Darbelnet’s full written testimony can be found on the AAA NewsRoom at www.AAA.com/news.

For more information on AAA’s long-term vision and recommendations for the transportation system of the future, please visit AAA’s Making America Stronger Web site at MakingAmericaStronger.AAA.com

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

 

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