Posts Tagged ‘Robert 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.

Nancy White(February 3, 2014) Yesterday’s unfortunate crash in Florida involving an older driver that left three dead and others injured should serve as a wake-up call for families to have a conversation with the aging drivers in their lives before tragedy strikes close to home.

While details of the crash are still under investigation, AAA’s safety expert questions if the tragic incident could have been prevented. “While safe driving is a function of ability not just age, older drivers and their families need to be mindful that as the body ages, medical conditions including visual and cognitive impairments become more prevalent, so it’s critical to understand how these changes can affect a person’s ability to drive safely,” said AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research Jake Nelson.

As a leading advocate for senior driver safety and mobility, AAA is urging families to prepare now and have that conversation with the aging drivers in their families and even consider adopting a Driver Planning Agreement as a way to initiate the conversation with loved ones. With 10,000 Americans a day turning 65, an increasing number of families will be faced with the challenge of balancing safety and mobility for older loved ones. “Data tell us that Americans know they need to begin the discussion but often don’t know how.  Driver assessment tools, conversation starters and links to community resources can make the process less intimidating,” said Nelson.

For more information on AAA’s free resources for senior drives and their families, including how to begin addressing this challenging issue today, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com.

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

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.

Heather HunterNearly 30 percent of Americans expected to take a trip this holiday season

ORLANDO, Fla., (Dec. 17, 2013)AAA projects 94.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holiday season, an increase of 0.6 percent from the 94 million people who traveled last year. This upward trend marks the fifth consecutive year of increases and the highest travel volume recorded for the season. The year-end holiday period is defined as Saturday, December 21 to Wednesday, January 1.

Highlights from this year’s 2013/2014 AAA Year-End Holidays Travel Forecast include:

  • Holiday travel to total 94.5 million, an increase of 0.6 percent from the 94 million who traveled last year.
  • Year-end holiday travel is expected to increase for the fifth consecutive year, reaching a new high since data has been collected by AAA.
  • Ninety-one percent of travelers or 85.8 million to travel by automobile, an increase of 0.9 percent.
  • Nearly 30 percent (29.7) of all Americans will take a trip this holiday, with more than one in four (27 percent) taking a road trip.
  • Holiday air travel is expected to decline slightly to 5.53 million travelers from 5.61 last year.
  • Median spending expected to increase slightly to $765, compared to $759 last year.

Additional Resources

“While economic growth has stagnated and consumer confidence has fallen Americans will not be Scrooges when it comes to traveling this year,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “AAA is projecting more Americans to travel than ever before to gather with friends and family, exchange presents and ring in the New Year.”

Only once in the past decade has there been a change in travel volume greater than five percent and that was a decline in 2007 as the recession was just getting started. “Of all the travel holidays, the year-end holiday season remains the least volatile as Americans will not let economic conditions dictate their travel plans to celebrate the holidays,” said Doney.

The overall economic picture remains in the stagnant state that has been present throughout the year. Following the October shutdown and the agreement to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling, the mood of the consumer remains cautious.  The unemployment rate has improved from one year ago, but overall employment levels remain low. Weak economic factors are reflected in all three major measures of consumer optimism which are now below year ago levels.

While key economic factors remain similar to the Thanksgiving period, the calendar is having a positive impact on travel. When the holiday falls on a Wednesday travelers have more flexibility with their travel plans and the option to start their trip earlier or extend through the following weekend. This calendar effect will help spur an increase in holiday travel this year.

With nine in ten holiday travelers driving to their destinations, AAA makes a timely appeal to everyone on the road to be extra diligent about the dangers of impaired driving particularly when holiday partygoers may risk getting behind the wheel after a festive evening.

According to the latest data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, one in five of all licensed drivers, that drink at least occasionally, reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year.  The survey also reveals that 96 percent of drivers consider impaired driving to be unacceptable, with 50 percent reporting that drunk drivers are a bigger problem today versus three years ago.  “Despite the ubiquitous warnings about drinking and driving especially during the holiday season, alcohol-related crashes still represent one in three motor vehicle deaths,” said Doney.

AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and the injuries that can result.  PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.

AAA expects to rescue 3.76 million motorists during the holiday season

Between December 21 and January 1, AAA expects to come to the rescue of 3.76 million motorists with the primary reasons for breakdowns being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check battery and tire condition and prepare vehicles for winter driving before heading out on a holiday getaway. Car care tips and information are available at AAA.com.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

Gas prices have climbed slightly from the multi-year low of $3.18 per gallon on November 12, but AAA expects most drivers will pay less than a year ago to fill up during the holiday season. Gas prices recently increased because of planned and unplanned maintenance at a number of refineries and seasonally stronger demand for gasoline. Prices should decline by the end of the year due to rising supplies and increased refinery production.

Automobile travel remains dominant mode of transportation, air travel decreases

Approximately 91 percent of travelers or 85.8 million people plan to travel by automobile during the year-end holidays. This is a 0.9 percent increase over the 85.1 million people who traveled by auto last year.  Air travel is expected to decrease 1.4 percent as 5.53 million holiday travelers will take to the skies.

Those traveling by air will find airfares slightly lower than last year according to AAA’s Leisure travel Index.  During Christmas week the average lowest round-trip rate is $199 for the top 40 U.S. air routes compared to $204 last year. Approximately 3.13 million travelers will choose other modes of transportation, including rail, bus and cruise ship.

Hotel rates relatively flat, car rental rates increase 13 percent

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to average $138 per night compared to $142 last year. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels can expect to pay an average cost of $102 per night, compared to $101 in 2012.  Weekend daily car rental rates will average $63, compared to $55 last year.

Average travel distance increases

According to the survey of intended travelers, the average distance traveled is expected to be 805 miles, which is an increase of 45 miles from last year when travelers logged 760 miles.

Median spending increases slightly; visiting family, dining and shopping top activities

Median spending is expected to be $765 up from $759 last year. Visiting with friends and family (74 percent), Dining (70 percent) and shopping (51 percent) will be the most popular activities.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight Year-End Holidays 2013/2014 Travel Forecast can be found here.

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.

Nancy WhiteAAA’s list helps “silver tsunami” match health concerns with helpful vehicle features

Washington, D.C., (Dec. 2, 2013) – Seniors shopping for a new ride can find “smart” features in  today’s cars that help alleviate a variety of age-related health conditions that typically challenge older drivers, according to AAA.  Nearly 90 percent of motorists 65 and older suffer from health concerns that affect driving safety, for example, lack of flexibility and muscle strength.  To help inform seniors about smart car choices, AAA’s automotive experts reviewed more than 200 2013 model year makes and models to identify features that better equip seniors for driving safety and comfort in an update to Smart Features for Older Drivers.

Additional Resources

“Although older Americans are healthier now more than ever before, the aging process can diminish a person’s vision or limit range of motion that could impact their driving,” said AAA Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research, Jake Nelson. “The good news is that AAA found that more than 200 vehicles have one or more smart features that can help the aging driver deal more effectively with these conditions.”

To help underscore the need to improve older driver safety as 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, AAA originally launched Smart Features for Older Drivers in partnership with the University of Florida’s Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation in 2008.  In the recent update, Smart Features lists 2013 vehicle features that optimize older driver safety and comfort, notes current vehicles with those features, and allows users to explore their individual needs through an interactive online widget [SeniorDriving.AAA.com/SmartFeatures] at SeniorDriving.AAA.com.

Because everyone ages differently, AAA advises older drivers to look for vehicles that address their specific needs and medical conditions.  Recommendations included in Smart Features for Older Drivers, include:

Condition: Feature: Why it’s smart:
Limited knee range of motion; Hip or leg pain Six way adjustable seats Less strength to adjust, Easier to enter and exit car
Arthritic hands; stiff fingers Keyless entry and ignition Reduce amount of grip strength
Diminished fine motor skills Thick steering wheel Reduce pain associated w/ twisting and turning
Diminished vision; problems with high-low contrast Displays with contrasting text Reduce blinding glare

“A 2012 survey revealed that only one in 10 senior drivers with health issues are driving a vehicle with features like keyless entry or larger dashboard controls that can assist with such conditions,” said Nelson.  “AAA’s goal is to empower older drivers with information that can help keep them safer behind the wheel.”

AAA is announcing the Smart Features update in support of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, December 2-6, 2013.  This week aims to promote understanding of the importance of mobility and transportation to ensure older adults remain active in the community—shopping, working or volunteering—with the confidence that transportation will not be the barrier stranding them at home. You can learn more about the AOTA here.

For more information on which vehicles are the right fit for you and to access all the free resources AAA offers to senior drivers, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com.

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.

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