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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

February 2019 Traffic Safety Newsletter

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How to Prepare your Teen for their License

Most parents dread the day their teen will start driving on their own. Getting behind the wheel is a big milestone, but one that must be properly prepared for. Parents and caregivers play a critical role in ensuring their teen is ready for the responsibility.


Outlined below are important steps to take before your teen heads to the DMV for their driver’s license.

  • Evaluate your teen’s readiness. Talk with your teen about personal responsibility and the importance of following the rules of the road. Make sure they understand the serious responsibility that comes along with a license and that every other driver on the road is depending on your teen to operate their vehicle safely. Ask your teen if they have any questions or concerns about the process before it begins.


  • Get informed. Much has changed since you earned your driver’s license. Graduated driver licensing (GDL), driver education, license restrictions and supervised practice are all part of today’s process. Each state has parameters for young drivers that get less restrictive as time goes on, such as times of the day they can drive and how many passengers they can carry.


  • Speak openly with your teen. Your “road wisdom” from years of driving can be helpful in teaching your teen the things you learned the hard way. Let your teen know that you were once a novice driver too and you understand the excitement they are feeling, but you also remember how easy it was to make a mistake. Talk to your teen about how the driving process will work in your house:
    • When will your teen start driving?
    • Will your teen have their own vehicle or will there be a process for earning driving time?
    • What rules and responsibilities, such as paying for fuel or insurance, will your teen have?


  • Emphasize passenger safety. If your teen is going through the license process, so are all of their friends. Remind them of the precautions to take when riding with others – as everyone is new to driving. Talk to your teen about:
    • Always wear a seatbelt in every situation.
    • Don’t get in the car with anyone without your permission.
    • Be a responsible passenger as well as driver. When riding in someone’s car, be mindful of the driver’s attention to the road and avoid all distractive behavior.


  • Be a good role model. Your teen has watched your driving habits forever. So, be the driver you want them to be.
    • Always wear your seatbelt.
    • Obey traffic laws.
    • Never use a cell phone while driving.
    • Don’t tailgate and don’t speed.
    • Don’t drive when angry or tired – be a defensive driver.


2018 Vehicle Top Safety Pick

Only 15 vehicles were awarded the 2018 Top Safety Pick+ title by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety after the requirements to be considered a “plus” vehicle were raised. This year, good-rated headlights and good or acceptable passenger-side protection in small overlap front crashes were taken into consideration when rating vehicles.


The 15 vehicles that earned 2018 Top Safety Pick+ recognition were:


Small Cars


  • Kia Forte
  • Kia Soul
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Subaru WRX


Midsize Cars


  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Camry


Large Luxury Cars


  • BMW 5 Series
  • Genesis G80
  • Genesis G90
  • Lincoln Continental
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class


Midsize SUVs


  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Sport


Midsize Luxury SUV


  • Mercedes-Benz GLC


This is the first time the IIHS has included the passenger-side crash test in its award system. Small overlap crashes are when the crash involves just the front corner of the vehicle, bypassing the main structural components. Improving driver-side protection quickly became the top priority since every vehicle on the road has a driver and not necessarily a passenger. The IIHS felt passenger-side protection needed to be considered more urgent and thus added it to their safety requirements. Manufactures are now taking passenger small overlap safety very seriously and working to achieve symmetric protection for both sides.


The IIHS only recently started releasing headlight ratings as well. Their tests measure how well low beams and high beams illuminate the road ahead on the one hand, and the amount of glare they produce for drivers of oncoming vehicles on the other.


Across manufactures, the vast majority of winners qualify only when optionally equipped with these features as the base trim does not come with them standard.


The IIHS has been testing and awarding vehicles since 2006 to help consumers make an informed decision when it comes to the safety of their next car. In 2013, IIHS added the Top Safety Pick+ category to recognize vehicles offering a premium level of safety. Over time, the criteria to achieve both awards continues to advance in an effort to push automakers to continue to develop the latest safety measures.


To see a full list of the Top Safety Pick winners and the criteria for earning that recognition, visit iihs.org/ratings.


South Carolina’s DUI-E Bill

South Carolina legislatures are reviewing a bill that would make it illegal to hold a cell phone behind the wheel.


House Bill 4480, also known as the DUI-E (driving under the influence of electronics) bill, aims to un-blur the line between texting and talking on the device so that anytime the device is in a driver’s hand, it is considered illegal.


The punishment for violating the law would also increase. A first offense would earn the driver a $100 ticket. Additional tickets would cost $300 plus 2 points on a driver’s license. Currently, South Carolina drivers only face a $25 fine for each offense, no matter how many tickets they have received.


After its introduction, the bill was discussed by a House panel where members of the community testified in its favor, from relatives of victims of distracted driving to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety President Tiffany Wright.


To follow the status of this bill, click here. To read more about the proposals in the bill, click here.


Carolinians Still Uncomfortable with Self-Driving Cars

A recent AAA Carolinas survey revealed that 71% of Carolinians are not yet comfortable with self-driving cars, with only 29% saying they were ready for a ride in a fully autonomous vehicle.


Across the country, however, drivers are beginning to embrace self-driving vehicles. The annual survey reveals that 63 percent of U.S. drivers report feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, a significant decrease from 78 percent in early 2017. Millennial and male drivers are the most trusting of autonomous technologies, with only half reporting they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car.


How safe are self-driving cars?

Every year, more than 35,000 people die on U.S. roadways so AV technology is intended to improve safety. Human error contributes to more than 90 percent of crashes.


Can I buy a car now that drives itself?

There are vehicles with many self-driving technologies included but even the most advanced systems available today require your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Experts agree that we’re unlikely to see a fully self-driving fleet for decades, but we may begin to see some highly automated vehicles in the next three to four years.


Additional survey results include:

  • Only 13 percent of U.S. drivers report that they would feel safer sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle while nearly half (46 percent) would actually feel less safe. Others say they are indifferent (37 percent) or unsure (4 percent).
  • Women (73 percent) are more likely than men (52 percent) to be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle, and more likely to feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving car (55 percent versus 36 percent).
  • Millennials are the most trusting of self-driving vehicles, with only 49 percent (down from 73 percent) reporting that they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car. While the majority of baby boomers (68 percent) still report being afraid to ride in a self-driving car, this generation is significantly more comfortable with the idea than they were a year ago, when 85 percent reported being afraid.
  • Baby boomers (54 percent) and Generation X (47 percent) drivers are more likely than millennial drivers (34 percent) to feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving car.


Although fears of self-driving vehicles appear to be easing, U.S. drivers report high confidence in their own driving abilities. Despite the high percentage of crashes related to human error, three-quarters (73 percent) of U.S. drivers consider themselves better-than-average driversMen, in particular, are confident in their driving skills with 8 in 10 considering their driving skills better than average.


To help educate consumers on the effectiveness of emerging vehicle technologies, AAA is committed to the ongoing, unbiased testing of automated vehicle technologies. Previous testing of automatic emergency brakingadaptive cruise controlself-parking technology and lane keeping systems has shown both great promise and great variation. Future AAA testing will look at how well systems work together to achieve higher levels of automation.


Spotlight: DeFalco’s Automotive & Towing

In our efforts to provide excellent service to our members, we partner with quality auto repair, auto body and towing providers throughout the Carolinas to ensure help for our members no matter where they may need it. This month, we are highlighting a company we work closely alongside to help stranded members get back on the road – DeFalco’s.


If you ever find yourself needing repair work or broken down while vacationing at the beach, DeFalco’s Automotive and Towing in Surfside Beach, (close to Myrtle) South Carolina has you covered. DeFalco’s is a towing service, emergency roadside assistance service and repair shop all in one.


DeFalco’s began its work in Chatham, New Jersey in 1994 and has since expanded to South Carolina in 2007. Both locations are AAA approved for their diligent work and dedication to assisting all motorists. The company offers 24/7 towing services and full automotive work at both of its locations. The automotive service won the Silver Award for the Service Provider of Excellence in 2017 for the entire East Coast region of AAA.


This family-owned automotive center builds relationships with those it services and strives to be a house-hold name in the community. Office manager April DeFalco said her parents loved to vacation along the South Carolina coast so they relocated there from New Jersey and opened DeFalco’s Surfside location.


“We have old fashioned business practices and values,” April said. “We offer prompt, honest, and reliable service, that’s priority number one. We stand by our work, and that’s why our customers have confidence in us. We take pride in exceeding our customers expectations. Being family run, our family values translate into how we treat our customers. We value our customers because they are our family too.”


April works alongside her mom, Cheryl, and brother, Sean, as well as 50 other employees to keep motorists safe on the roads.


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