Posts Tagged ‘Bob Darbelnet’

AAA Statement Regarding Consumer Recalls

March 21st, 2014 by admin

Michael Green Contact TileBy Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

WASHINGTON, D.C, (March 21, 2014) – “AAA believes that the safety of motorists should be a top consideration in the handling of consumer recalls and urges Federal regulators and the automotive industry to review recall procedures and requirements to ensure that they are designed to best protect motorists. Delays in vehicle recalls erode motorists’ confidence in the national recall system and confidence in the cars they drive.”

 

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, March 4, 2014) “The President’s budget provides essential funds over the next four years for the nation’s transportation system and AAA is encouraged by Secretary Foxx’s pledge that his department will submit a full reauthorization proposal to Congress in the coming months.  However, AAA remains concerned with Washington’s tendency to make short-term fixes that only patch, not solve, the U.S. transportation funding crisis.

“Once again, policymakers are settling on politically palatable revenue generators instead of setting the stage for the transportation program to return a meaningful reauthorization and funding process.  These sorts of “solutions” can only provide funding for limited term bills and assure only that we avert, not solve this crisis.

“AAA continues to believe that the gas tax represents the most viable, responsible and effective mechanism to achieve the goal of sustaining a transportation system that supports a vital U.S. economy, provided the additional funds generated are thoughtfully spent on transportation improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.  AAA urges the President and  Congressional leaders to make choices that serve U.S. interests in the long-term, instead of short-term fixes.”

Michael Green Contact TileAAA Helping to Make Driving Safer, Improve Mobility and Protect Motorists’ Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 25, 2014) – AAA will prioritize important state advocacy issues this year including transportation funding, distracted driving, teen driver safety, impaired driving and connected cars. These priorities will help make driving safer, improve mobility and protect motorists’ rights.

“This is an important year because many states lack the money needed to build and maintain the roads that millions of us use every day,” said Jennifer Ryan, AAA director of state relations. “The federal government has failed to adequately address this issue, and many state legislatures must find new ways to pay for improvements. Every driver wants improved safety and reduced traffic congestion, and AAA will do everything it can to help states achieve these goals.”

AAA’s state advocacy priorities in 2014 include:

  • Transportation funding – Many states are looking to address transportation funding needs due to federal inaction. Congress has not updated the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax that funds the Highway Trust Fund in more than 20 years, which means federal transportation funding per mile has been significantly eroded due to inflation and increased fuel efficiency of vehicles. Last year, six states including Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming, passed legislation to adjust their statewide gas taxes to help pay for roads and bridges. No state passed a law increasing the gas tax in the three years prior to 2013.  As many as 28 additional states may debate funding options this year. AAA will provide expertise as policymakers examine ways to pay for critical transportation projects and safety improvements.
  • Distracted driving – AAA will continue to work with state legislatures to reduce distracted driving. AAA launched a national legislative campaign in 2009 to ban texting while driving in all 50 states, and only eight states remain without a law, including Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. A texting ban bill in New Mexico is awaiting action by the governor.  Distracted driving remains a serious safety concern and is responsible for about 3,000 fatalities and 420,000 injuries per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds, such as when texting, can double your risk of being in a crash.
  • Teen driver safety –Car crashes end more teen lives than cancer, homicide and suicide combined. To help improve teen safety, AAA is urging all states to adopt and enforce a comprehensive three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) system for teen drivers. While all states have some form of a GDL law, there is room for improvement. Only seven states (Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia) currently have GDL systems that meet AAA’s guidelines for nighttime limits, passenger limits and practice requirements. Safety experts credit GDL laws for much of the 57 percent decline in traffic fatalities for 16- and 17-year-old drivers between 1995 and 2010.
  • Impaired driving – More than 10,000 people die in alcohol-impaired driving crashes per year, which accounts for approximately one-third of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States.More needs to be done to reduce crashes involving alcohol. Research has identified the life-saving benefit of ignition interlocks, which are more effective than other methods at reducing repeat offenses among convicted drunk drivers. Only 18 states and four California counties mandate or highly incentivize ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, and AAA is urging the 32 remaining states to improve safety by requiring ignition interlocks for all offenders.
  • Connected cars – New cars are increasingly equipped with wireless connectivity, enabling them to transmit data outside the vehicle to improve safety and convenience for drivers. These technologies will transform the driving experience, yet also will allow companies to collect large amounts of potentially sensitive personal data. AAA is working to educate state policymakers on the potential ramifications for drivers by promoting consumer rights for car data that ensure transparency, choice and security.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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.

Michael Green“The President’s proposal for maintaining roads and bridges is well intentioned, but falls short of what is required because it does not provide a sustainable funding solution for the nation’s transportation problems. AAA urges Congress and the Administration to instead focus on options like increasing the gas tax because it is the most effective and fair way to fund transportation in the near term.

Additional Resources

“AAA supports solutions like Representative Blumenauer’s proposal to increase the federal gas tax by fifteen cents per gallon. A gas tax increase would provide the necessary funds to improve our system, while also upholding the long-standing principle that those who use the roads should pay for their upkeep. Increasing the gas tax is deficit-neutral and would provide funding certainty for the program into the future.

“Americans endure frustrating commutes and unsafe road conditions because our political leaders have not demonstrated the political will necessary to fund current, let alone future, transportation needs. It costs real money to maintain thousands of miles of roads and bridges, yet Washington has too often overlooked the needs of drivers.

“Congress and the Administration must work together and put divisions aside. I hope that in the coming weeks our leaders will move quickly and act responsibly on this important issue.”

 

Michael Green Contact TileMore Must Be Done to Guarantee Consumer Choice and Control

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 23, 2014) –The “Right to Repair” agreement should help consumers with auto repair, but it does not go far enough in ensuring access to car data as vehicle technology advances.

“AAA has promoted this issue for years because most consumers want the ability to choose their preferred mechanic,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “While this agreement has benefits for consumers, it is not a comprehensive solution. Vehicles are changing rapidly and more must be done to guarantee consumer choice and control of vehicle data in the future.”

AAA believes that automakers must help ensure the consumer rights of transparency, choice and security as cars increasingly transmit data outside the vehicle.

AAA’s Consumer Rights for Car Data

  • Transparency – Consumers have a right to clearly understand what information is being collected from their vehicle and how it is being used. Businesses and the government should be transparent about the collection and use of vehicle data.
  • Choice – Consumers have a right to decide with whom to share their data and for what purpose. This includes ongoing monitoring of vehicle systems, repair and any data of the vehicle owner’s choice.  Customers should not be forced to relinquish control as a condition of purchasing or leasing a vehicle or of receiving a connected-vehicle service.
  • Security – Consumers have a right to expect that connected-vehicle manufacturers and service providers will use reasonable measures to protect vehicle data systems and services against unauthorized access and misuse.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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.

Michael GreenMore than Two Out of Three Drivers Use Cell Phone Despite Crash Risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 11, 2013) – High school-aged teens report using their phones or texting while driving substantially less often than adults do, according to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.  While the public often cites teens as being the most common offenders, a recent survey found that adult drivers ages 25-39 were the most likely to admit engaging in these risky behaviors behind the wheel.

Additional Resources

“It’s noteworthy that the young novice drivers are using their phones while driving less than older drivers since, given their inexperience, they are especially susceptible to distracted driving crashes,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “At the same time, it is discouraging that cell phone usage picks up when drivers gain more experience, as using a phone can lead to dangerous distractions behind the wheel.”

Two out of three drivers reported using a cell while driving within the past month. Forty-three percent of adults ages 25-39 reported doing so fairly often or regularly while driving, compared to only 20 percent of teens.  Motorists age 60 and up were the least likely to report using a phone.

Age

Reported Using Phone

While Driving

Reported Using Phone

Fairly Often / Regularly While Driving

16-18

58 percent

20 percent

19-24

72 percent

27 percent

25-39

82 percent

43 percent

40-59

72 percent

30 percent

60-74

51 percent

15 percent

75+

31 percent

7 percent

Total

67 percent

28 percent

“Using your phone while driving may seem safe, but it roughly quadruples your risk of being in a crash according to previous research,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “None of us is immune from the dangers of distracted driving. The best advice is to hang up and drive.”

More than one-in-four motorists reported sending a text or email while driving within the past month. Adults ages 25-39 reported texting and driving most frequently, while those age 60 and up reported doing it the least.

Age

Reporting Sending Text or Email

While Driving

Reported Sending Text or Email

Fairly Often / Regularly While Driving

16-18

31 percent

7 percent

19-24

42 percent

11 percent

25-39

45 percent

10 percent

40-59

24 percent

4 percent

60-74

7 percent

2 percent

75+

1 percent

1 percent

Total

26 percent

6 percent

Nearly nine-in-ten (88 percent) motorists believe distracted driving is a bigger problem now than it was three years ago. About 89 percent believe that other drivers talking on a cell phone while driving is a serious threat to their personal safety, while nearly all (96 percent) believe that others texting or emailing while behind the wheel is a serious threat.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one out of every ten fatal crashes involves distraction, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths per year, although experts agree the numbers are likely underestimated. Previous research shows that hands-free cell phones offer no significant safety benefits over handheld phones – hands-free is not risk-free.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety collected the data as part of the 2013 Traffic Safety Culture Index. The data are from a sample of 2,325 licensed drivers, ages 16 and older, who reported driving in the past 30 days.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them, and minimize injuries when they do occur.  Visit www.aaafoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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.

Nancy WhiteWASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2013)

Statement by Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs

“AAA supports Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s efforts to provide necessary investment to fund our nation’s roads and bridges.  Though it would be easier to simply kick the can down the road, today’s proposed legislation takes a necessary step forward in fostering debate on an important issue that many policymakers have been reluctant to address.

“AAA members rely each and every day on the roads, bridges and transit systems that are funded, in part, by the gas taxes that they pay to the federal government.   And when these systems deteriorate – as they have for years now – it not only frustrates our members, but it imposes real costs in terms of safety, time and maintenance.

“The country desperately needs additional funding for infrastructure and for the moment there is no better means than the fuel tax.  The proposed increase is well over due and in line with what most experts suggest would be appropriate.

“Our transportation system is critical to our economy, and Americans value their mobility.  There are no easy answers, and no way to avoid the need for investment.  Asking Americans to pay more is not easy, but it’s the right thing to do for the country.”

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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.

Michael Green

(WASHINGTON, November 15, 2013) “The EPA’s proposal to decrease ethanol requirements will help drivers by preventing a surge in gas prices or the premature expansion of E15 gasoline sales. While we would like to increase the use of alternative fuels, it is a plain fact that the Renewable Fuels Standard’s original targets are unreachable without putting motorists and their vehicles at risk.

“The EPA has finally put consumers first. Their proposal will support the continued development of alternative fuels, while also recognizing the needs of the millions of people that drive every day. Today’s proposal is an important step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough. Suggesting a range for 2014 targets does not guarantee that motorists will be protected from the risk of higher ethanol blends. We encourage the EPA to act quickly to finalize specific targets that help protect drivers nationwide.

“The vast majority of cars on the roads today are not designed to run on gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol. While ethanol has the potential to support the economy and reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, it is irresponsible to mandate more ethanol than cars can safely use.”

More than 90 percent of the vehicles on the road today are not approved by manufacturers to use E15, including most 2001-2013 models. E15 is only approved for use by automakers in flex-fuel engines, 2001 and newer Porsches, and selected 2012 and newer vehicles where it is clearly specified in the owner’s manual. While new models increasingly can use E15 gasoline, previous makes and models were never designed to use the fuel. It will still take at least another decade before the bulk of the fleet will be E15 compatible given that the average vehicle remains in use for more than 11 years.

 

Michael Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

AAA issued the following letter to the Congressional panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation urging that its members reject any proposal to increase truck size and weight standards due to significant safety concerns:

 

The Honorable John J. Duncan
Chair
Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Jerrold Nadler
Ranking Member
Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Duncan and Ranking Member Nadler:

AAA appreciates the commitment of the Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation to look for solutions to help facilitate efficient freight movement on the nation’s multi-modal transportation infrastructure network.   As you prepare to finalize the panel’s recommendations, I would like to share AAA’s concern with one of the recommendations discussed at the October 1 hearing on the subject.

During the hearing, one of the industry groups recommended endorsement of the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA), H.R. 612, which would allow states to permit 97,000 pound trucks on its roadways including the Interstates.  AAA strongly urges the panel to forego any action  to raise the federal truck size and weight limits until federal research authorized in “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) is completed.

As you know, MAP-21 included a focus on establishing a stronger national freight program.  It included a two-year research project to assess the implications  of allowing longer, heavier trucks on the nation’s roads and bridges and a safety analysis of different configurations, including the 97,000 lb. GVWR, six-axle truck configuration.  This USDOT research must be completed before any recommendations are considered relative to changing current federal regulations.

A look at the most recent NHTSA data shows fatalities in crashes involving large trucks increased nine percent, from 3,380 in 2009 to 3,675 in 2010.  Of the fatalities in crashes involving large trucks during 2010, 76 percent were occupants of other vehicles.  Based on these data alone, we believe that any proposals to increase truck size and weight are premature and misguided until the research is concluded and reviewed.

Until key questions about the impact of bigger and heavier trucks on infrastructure and on highway safety are addressed, AAA will continue to oppose any change in current truck size or weight limits.

CC:  Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation members

The Honorable Gary Miller The Honorable Corrine Brown
The Honorable Rick Crawford The Honorable Daniel Lipinski
The Honorable Richard Hanna The Honorable Albio Sires
The Honorable Daniel Webster The Honorable Janice Hahn
The Honorable Markwayne Mullin

Michael GreenCongress and Administration Responsible for Letting the Highway System Deteriorate

Orlando, FL, (Oct. 22, 2013) AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet today addressed the nation’s transportation funding crisis during a board meeting of the American Trucking Associations (ATA). The following are selected remarks from his speech:

“By this time next year, the Highway Trust Fund will have insufficient funds to meet its obligations, which will cause further deterioration of nation’s roads and bridges. Regrettably, this looming crisis has not translated into Congressional action, nor a public outcry.

“There are a few leaders in Washington who stress the importance of infrastructure to our economy.  While we might give them high marks for effort, they are not getting a passing grade for results.

“Both Congress and the Administration are culpable of gross negligence by letting one of our nation’s greatest assets deteriorate. It is a shameful demonstration of bad government.

“Politicians have a choice – they can govern through leadership or they can govern through crisis. Our lawmakers seem content to wait for a crisis to take the action that we all know will eventually be unavoidable. Leadership involves taking risk, and the courage to do so seems in short supply.

“No one questions the need to invest far more in transportation, but there is no political will to provide the required funding.  The reality is that a dime increase in the gas tax, properly spent where actually needed, is unlikely to derail the re-election of an otherwise meritorious politician.

“But the fault isn’t just with lawmakers – there is plenty of blame to go around. The truth is we have done a poor job of mobilizing support for what we know needs to happen. I believe we need to do five things to address this issue:

  1. Establish a concerted coalition effort to construct a plan of action that focuses on not just what is needed, but what is possible.
  2. Agree on acceptable transportation funding mechanisms and articulate clear guidelines to ensure proper use of the funds.
  3. Educate voters on why the increase in funding is required. Public support is likely the most important ingredient for building stronger backbones in Congress.
  4. Broaden our focus to include both federal and state opportunities to fund transportation.
  5. Make sure we properly resource the effort. We need to ensure that we don’t set forth on this endeavor without fully understanding – and committing – the resources that are required.

“Without a safe and efficient transportation network, goods can’t be delivered cost effectively, family trips will take longer, and gridlock will continue to stifle the nation’s long-term economic recovery. Thank you for having me here today and I look forward to continuing to work together on these important issues.”

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