Showing posts with label AAA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AAA. Show all posts

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Groundhog Day Wish: Safe Winter Driving for Six More Weeks

According to the famed shadow-spotting groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, we are in for another six weeks of winter. This makes last week's American Highway Users Alliance press conference on the importance of safe winter driving and road maintenance all the more timely and important.
Highlighting the major snow storms which battered much of the U.S. last week - leading to a deadly multi-vehicle pileup on Indiana’s Interstate 94 and leaving scores of motorists stranded in the South - the press event provided data from a new study showing the benefits of timely ice and snow removal from the nation's roadways. 

Conducted by the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, the study found that the use of road salt reduces collisions by up to 85 percent, and that before-and-after analysis on four-lane roads showed a 93 percent reduction in crashes after deicing. For jurisdictions concerned about the costs of having a robust winter maintenance plan, the study also found that deicing pays for itself a mere 25 minutes after salt is applied.

The dangers of wintry roadways are well known: more than 1,300 people are killed and another nearly 117,000 are injured each year in crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement. There is also a serious economic consideration when roads become impassable due to ice and snow: an earlier study presented by the Highway Users found that a one-day snowstorm can cost a state as much as $300-$700 million in both direct and indirect costs.

These concerns are at the tops of many motorists' minds this time of year, as they are for those of us at the AAA Foundation. That's why we were very pleased that AAA's John Townsend, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, was a featured speaker at the press conference, offering valuable safe driving tips. To maximize winter road safety, AAA and the Foundation encourage motorists to: 

  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated - after all, they're the only part of your car that contacts the roadway!
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full. As we saw again in the debacle in Atlanta last week, roads can become impassable without warning, and having enough gas to stay warm and outlast an unexpected delay is essential.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly - it takes longer to slow down on snowy, icy roads.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to 10 seconds.
  • Keep emergency supplies in your trunk at all times, such as water, a shovel, kitty litter, blankets, gloves and hats, etc.
For more tips on safe winter driving, check out AAA's brochure, "How to Go on Ice and Snow." For details on the Highway Users press conference and the new study presented, see the full press release here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Popular Products Discounted for Nat'l Teen Driver Safety Week

Next week (October 20-26) marks the 2013 observance of National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW), held the third week of October each year since 2007. A legislative effort by Congressional members from Pennsylvania following several teen crashes and fatalities in that state, NTDSW is an opportunity to re-focus national attention on the devastating effects of motor vehicle crashes among teen drivers (the most collision-prone of any motorists), as well as on promising and proven strategies for saving lives.

During NTDSW 2013, we will be offering a 50 percent discount on one of our most popular educational product bundles: Driver-ZED and Teaching Your Teens to Drive.

Driver-ZED (Stock #114) is an interactive risk-management computer program that uses live-action footage to put teens in the driver's seat as they confront 100 scenarios and learn to properly respond to the hazards in each (such as work zone construction, an aggressive tailgater, etc.) Teaching Your Teens to Drive (Stock #351) uses a lesson handbook and DVD to guide families (parents/guardians and their teens) through the complicated process of learning to drive.

From today (October 18) through October 26, customers may purchase Driver-ZED and Teaching Your Teens to Drive together for $19.95 (ordinarily bundled at $39.95). The bundle stock number for obtaining both products is 119. Use promo code "TeenBundle" when ordering online, or when calling our fulfillment center, at 800.305.7233.

Each product can also be ordered separately at a discount: to get Driver-ZED for $7, use promo code "TeenZED." For a copy of Teaching Your Teens to Drive, use promo code "TeenTeaching" to get the special $12.95 price. Each product is ordinarily priced at $29.95.

This year's NTDSW theme is "It Takes Two," referring to the crucial roles played by both parents AND teens in the learning-to-drive process. Parental involvement during this period in their sons' and daughters' lives is something we've explored several times, most recently in our series of naturalistic studies of novice driving. Parents and guardians have a wealth of safe driving wisdom that they can share with the young drivers in their families, and they can play an active role in managing their teens' driving. To learn more about our work in this area, please visit

Thursday, August 1, 2013

License to Wait

If you were anything like me as a teenager, you’ll likely be as surprised as I was by the findings of our latest study, just released today. When I was 16, getting my driver’s license was my top priority, and I still remember thinking that a winter storm that postponed my road test by six weeks was absolutely devastating. But a new AAA Foundation survey of 18- 20-year-olds has found that less than half (just 44%) of American teens get their license within a year of their home state’s age of eligibility, and barely half (54%) get it by the time they turn 18!

The study offers evidence supporting a general perception that teens have been voluntarily delaying licensure in recent years; it also examines what some of the reasons for this delay might be. With graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems now placing some combination of driving restrictions (such as passenger limits, late-night prohibitions, etc.) on teens in all states, a big question was whether young drivers simply wanted to wait to get their license until these provisions were lifted (generally age 18, except in New Jersey). In other words, are the three tiers of GDL (learner’s permit, restricted license, full licensure) so undesirable that teens are willing to avoid it?

It turns out that the reasons for delayed licensure generally pertain more to economic considerations, busy schedules, and simple lack of interest. In fact, the biggest reasons cited for not getting a license were not having a car (44%), an ability to get around without driving (39%), cost of gas and cost overall (36% each), and “just didn’t get around to it” (35%). Fewer than one in four cited reasons related to GDL.

Even if GDL isn’t the reason for the delay, however, it is troubling that more than a third (at least 36%) of novice drivers today get licensed outside of the protective GDL system because of the delay. A recent Foundation literature review highlighted the lifesaving achievements of graduated licensing, which has been credited with reductions of 20-40 percent in 16-year-old driver crashes, and a 6-19 percent drop in crashes of 17-year-old drivers. Yet with the three-tiered system generally “expiring” once a teen turns 18, license delay for any reason can result in a significant number of novices missing out on this highly effective system.

More research is clearly needed to investigate the effects that GDL might have on older novice driver (ages 18-20, e.g.) safety, and to examine how the age at which a teen gets licensed impacts crash rates. To this end, we’ve initiated a project to study the crash rates of teens by age at licensure in three states: North Carolina and California, which do not have comprehensive GDL for older novices, and New Jersey, which does. You can read more about this project here.

Summer is the deadliest season for teens on the road, so this is a particularly poignant time to consider the results of this study. To learn more about it, please visit the project page. And, as always, please continue to drive safely all summer long.       

Monday, May 21, 2012

You Know the Laws. Now Set the Rules

As a parent, you’ve been setting rules and expectations since your kids were infants. Now that they’re learning to drive, the rules you establish just might save a life.

When your teen obtains a learner’s permit, you will be required to ride in the car when he or she is driving. This is your chance to impart driving wisdom directly, in real-time. But AAA Foundation research has suggested that teens don’t get enough practice managing a variety of challenging road conditions, such as driving at rush hour, in inclement weather, or at night. Getting this practice with a parent in the car is much safer for a new driver than first experiencing such conditions later on when driving independently.

When it comes time for your teen to trade in a learner’s permit for a license, your presence in the vehicle is no longer a legal requirement. But that doesn’t mean your role as coach, partner, and supervisor of your teen’s driving has ended (despite the fact that Foundation studies have shown that parental presence in the car plummets at this point). Laws vary depending on what state you live in, but all states have some form of graduated driver licensing (GDL) provisions, which impose restrictions on novice teen drivers for a period of time. These may include things like late-night driving prohibitions, passenger limits, or cell phone bans.

Knowing your state’s GDL laws is critical, but remember – these are simply the minimum legal requirements your teen must obey. As a parent, you have the right to establish stronger rules if you see fit, and to supervise your teen’s driving privileges even from outside the car. One way we recommend managing this: sign a parent-teen driving agreement that spells out when, why, where, and with whom your teen is allowed to drive, and stick to the rules you and your teen generate together. For more information and ideas about such agreements, visit
Parent involvement in the learning-to-drive process is recognized as an important factor in keeping teens safe. Several states even require that parents attend special classes about the teen licensure and learning process, and ongoing Foundation research is investigating how to “train the trainers,” so to speak, as effectively as possible. Remember that driving is inherently risky for everyone, and even more so for teens. Nobody is in a better position to help them learn to manage and reduce those risks than you.