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TOYOTA RECALLS SIENNA VANS TO FIX DEFECTIVE SLIDING DOORS

Posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2016 at 2:25 pm    

Toyota recently announced that it would be recalling approximately 838,000 Toyota Sienna mini-vans, most of which are located in the United States because of defective sliding doors. According to the USA Today report, because of a defect in the circuitry related to the operation of the sliding doors, the door could open while the vehicle is moving. Toyota acknowledged that this would obviously result in an increase of risk to the vehicle occupants.

The recall involves model years 2011 through 2016 for the Toyota Sienna. Toyota said that it is developing a fix for the problem and that it will notify owners in mid-July. Generally, such safety recalls are free of charge to the owners.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on November 22, 2016 entitled Toyota Sienna recalled to fix sliding doors by Nathan Bomey.

REGULATORS ALARMED BY JUMP IN DRUGGED DRIVING DEATHS

Posted on Tuesday, December 27th, 2016 at 3:03 pm    

According to a recent article appearing in USA Today, the percentage of traffic deaths in which at least one driver tested positive for drugs has nearly doubled over the past decade. The percent increased from 12% in 2005 to 21% 2015. This has raised alarm bells among federal regulators at NHTSA.

Auto safety experts are concerned that the increase seems to correspond with the movement to legalize marijuana. Although, experts readily acknowledge that the effects of marijuana use on drivers still remains poorly understood. Recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia, even though it remains outlawed on a federal level. Five states including Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada are about to vote on legalization of recreational marijuana in their states. (Some experts suggest that the recent increase in opioid use may also be a contributing factor to highway fatalities.)

Mark Rosekind, the Administrator of NHTSA stated that drugs are emerging as a more significant factor in traffic crashes. Even still, researchers note that driving under the influence of alcohol still remains a more significant factor in deadly crashes than drugged driving given that alcohol is responsible for more than 30% of highway fatalities.

Nevertheless, a recent study released by the University of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator concluded that drivers with blood concentrations of 13.1 ug/L of the main active ingredient in marijuana, THC, “showed increased weaving that was similar to those with” 0.08 blood alcohol levels.

Experts have suggested as society’s acceptance of recreational marijuana grows, more research needs to be done into the effects of marijuana on drivers and more educational efforts need to be made to help people understand the potential risk of drugged driving.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on October 27, 2016 entitled Spate of drugged driving deaths alarms U.S. regulators by Nathan Bomey.

Happy Holidays from the Law Office of Bill Pelhan

Posted on Sunday, December 25th, 2016 at 11:00 am    

The Law Office of Bill Pelhan wishes you a happy holiday season!
law office of bill pelhan wishes you happy holidays

SHARING THE ROAD WITH TRACTOR TRAILERS

Posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2016 at 3:03 pm    

Take a trip on any interstate and you won’t help but notice the large number of tractor trailers on our highways. Here are a few safety tips offered by the Lititz Record Express in a recent article about sharing the highways with tractor trailers.

1. AVOID BLIND SPOTS.
In spite of their large side view mirrors, large trucks have much larger blind spots than cars. Accordingly, it is recommended that you avoid driving on the right side of the truck in the front or rear of the vehicle. Middle left side of the truck is also a blind spot to be avoided.

2. LEAVE PLENTY OF ROOM.
Tire blow-outs are common on large trucks. Therefore, the more space you can leave between you and the truck, the less likely you are to be involved in a blowout related accident.

3. PASS QUICKLY.
When passing a large truck do so only on the left and do it as quickly as possible. This will help you stay out of the truck’s blind spots and reduce the risk of a truck coming over into your lane because the driver did not see you.

4. MERGING.
Because of the large blind spots that a truck has, a truck driver may not see you when merging onto the roadway. Therefore, when you see a truck merging, move into the other lane.

5. WIDE TURNS.
Keep in mind trucks need to make wide turns in order to clear curbs and other roadside items. Therefore, truck drivers will often swing left before turning right. Be aware of this and stay out of the turning arc of the truck.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 70% of the people killed in car-truck accidents are individuals in the car. Therefore, extra caution around trucks is a very good idea.

Source: An article appearing in the Lititz Record Express on Tuesday, October 13, 2016 entitled Driving Safely Around Trucks.

WINTER DRIVING – SAFETY TIPS

Posted on Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 at 2:58 pm    

Once again, we are in that time of the year when we are likely to encounter snowy and icy road conditions. While no one enjoys driving in slippery or snowy conditions, there are some basic steps that you can take to help make winter driving safer. Here are some winter driving safety tips provided by Travelers Insurance Company.

A. BEFORE YOU GO:

• Make sure your car is ready for cold temperatures and winter conditions. This means keeping your vehicle properly maintained and that everything is in good working order. Be sure to include a winter survival kit in your vehicle.

• Clear snow and ice off of your car. Make sure that the windows, mirrors, lights, reflectors, hood, roof and trunk are clear of snow and ice.

• Keep at least a half a tank of gas at all time during the winter season.

• Keep your windshield washer reserve full and make sure that your car has wiper blades that are in good condition.

B. TIPS FOR DRIVING IN THE SNOW:

• Drive with your headlights on and make sure to keep them clean to improve visibility.

• Avoid using cruise control.

• Know how to brake on slippery road surfaces. Vehicles equipped with anti-lock brakes operate differently from those that do not have anti-lock brakes. Consult your vehicle’s owners’ manual for instructions on how to brake properly on slippery roads.

• Remember that speed limits are meant for dry roads. SLOW DOWN and increase your following distances. It will take much longer to slow down and stop on snowy and icy roads.

• Be cautious on bridges and overpasses. They are commonly the first areas to become icy.

• Avoid passing snow plows and sand trucks. The drivers of these vehicles often have limited visibility and the road in front of them can be worse than the road behind them.

• Monitor road conditions and weather conditions by checking internet traffic guides, weather sites and local news stations. (In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Police also provide weather advisories.)

• Use caution when snowbanks and drifting snow limits your view of oncoming traffic.

• If you are caught in a snowstorm and encounter problems, stay with your car and wait for help. Although you can run the car’s heater to stay warm for 10 minutes every hour, you need to be sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow. There is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if snow blocks the exhaust pipe and enables the carbon monoxide gas to build-up in your car. Open the window slightly to help prevent the build-up.

• If you must travel during a snowstorm, be sure to let a relative, friend, or co-worker know where you are headed and when you are expected to arrive.

What should you include in your winter survival kit? The AAA recommends that you include blankets, gloves, hats, food, water, important medications, and your cell phone. Travelers Insurance also recommends an ice scraper, snow shovel and sand or salt.

One final word of caution, ask yourself if you really need to go out when the roads are in bad condition. If you really don’t have to go out, stay home. Remember, even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can.

Source: An article appearing at Travelers.com entitled Winter Driving Safety Tips and an article appearing at exchange.aaa.com entitled Winter Driving Tips.

AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

Posted on Thursday, December 8th, 2016 at 7:01 pm    

Most of us know that over the past few years aggressive driving has become a very serious problem on our highways. And, most of us probably know it when we see it. The NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) defines aggressive driving as occurring when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property”.

In a recent publication dealing with aggressive driving, NHTSA offers a few guidelines to help determine if you are an aggressive driver. NHTSA suggests that you ask yourself if you engage in the following behaviors:

– Express frustration – taking out your frustration on your fellow motorists
– Fail to pay attention when driving. Do you eat, read, drink or talk on the phone while driving?
– Tailgate
– Make frequent lane changes
– Run red lights. Do you frequently enter intersections on yellow lights or even red signals?
– Speed. Whether exceeding the posted speed limit or just going too fast for conditions is noted to be a significant factor in aggressive driving.

NHTSA offers the following guidelines when confronted with an aggressive driver:

– Get out of the way. First and foremost make every attempt to get out of their way.
– Put your pride aside. Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own in your travel lane.
– Avoid eye contact. Eye contact can sometimes enrage an aggressive driver.
– Gestures. Ignore gestures or refuse to return them.
– Report serious aggressive driving. You or a passenger may call the police. But, if you use a cell phone, remember to pull over to a safe location.

Source: www.NHTSA.gov

DISTRACTED DRIVING IS KILLING US

Posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 at 2:38 pm    

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention reports that “Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve
a distracted driver.”

The most common reason for distracted driving is a cell phone. In fact, over half of the roadway accidents in the United States involve cell phones. And, according to CarInsuranceComparison.com, there is a strong correlation between careless driving and which states top the chart for worst drivers. Of the twenty worst states for bad drivers, sixteen were ranked in the worst half for careless driving. And, the majority of careless driving is done by distracted drivers, that is people who drive while doing other activities that take their attention away from driving.

The single most major thing that we can do as drivers to help prevent distracted driving is to put away our cell phones before we get behind the wheel. Hiding the cell phone will help keep our eyes on the road and our minds on the important task in front of us.

Source: An article appearing at CarInsuranceComparison.com entitled Worst drivers by state.

AIRBAG PROBLEMS CONTNUE TO DOG THE AUTO INDUSTRY

Posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2016 at 2:41 pm    

While the defective Takata airbag crisis continues to dominate the news on the recall front, there have been many other recalls this year related to airbag issues. Here are a few of the more recent prominent ones making the news:

In September, the USA Today reported that Fiat Chrysler was recalling 1.4 million of its vehicles to fix problems with an “occupant restraint control module”. This is a computer module which is supposed to work in tandem with a wire harness to detect frontal impact. If the module fails to work as intended, the airbag may not deploy and the seatbelt pretensions, which act to tighten the seatbelts in the event of a crash may not work. Vehicles involved in this recall are the 2010 Chrysler Sebring, 2011 to 2014 Chrysler 200, 2010 to 2012 Dodge Caliber, Dodge Avenger, and Jeep Patriot and Compass.

In July, Chevrolet recalled nearly 308,000 2009 through 2010 Chevrolet Impalas for a similar problem which was not caused by a defective module, but rather because the front passenger’s seat frame could cause damage to the module. The end result is the same – the airbag may not deploy and the seatbelt pretensions may not activate during a crash.

Also in July, following the death of a woman in Canada who was killed by an exploding airbag inflator made by ARC Automotive Inc. of Knoxville, TN, the United States and Canada launched an investigation into these inflators.

The Canadian woman was killed when the ARC inflator ruptured and sent metal shrapnel into the passenger compartment of her 2009 Hyundai Elantra. Canadian officials stated that without the shrapnel, the woman was likely to have survived the low speed crash.

NHTSA estimated that there are as many as 8 million ARC inflators under scrutiny. According to NHTSA, most of the ARC inflators in the U.S. are in older vehicles made by General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai and Kia.

Source: Articles appearing at USA Today on September 16, 2016 entitled Three deaths prompt Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 M cars by Chris Woodyard and an article appearing on July 22, 2016 entitled 308,000 Chevrolet Impalas recalled for faulty airbags by Kimiya Manoochehri and an AP article appearing in LNP on Friday, August 5,2016 entitled Death triggers airbag probes in US, Canada.