David Strickland does not like the DVD player installed in your car, or the computer in the dashboard. He's not a big fan of the Ford Sync, and he probably doesn't even like your car radio if it's too loud. Who, you might ask, is this buzz kill who hates all this stuff that makes driving fun? The administrator of the National Highway Safety Administration, that's who.
And he's not an uptight Puritan, either. His concern is purely safety: namely distracted driving.
Distracted driving is a real problem. You're probably most familiar with it from laws being passed making texting while driving a crime, but that's just one aspect of it. A lot of people are hurt and killed when a driver picks the wrong moment to go flick the radio volume knob up a few notches or adjust the thermostat in the vehicle. Ever wonder why steering wheels all have volume controls now? It's proven to reduce injuries and fatalities.
The jury is still out on items such as hands-free systems for cell phones. Depending on who you ask, they at least manage to keep both hands on the wheel instead of one ear plugged and one hand holding up the phone, or they just exacerbate the problem, impairing the driver as much as slamming two shots of tequila before hitting the road.
Strickland made this proclamation right in the middle of a huge conference to -- get this -- make cars as distracting as possible. Well, not literally, but figuratively. He noted that he “wasn't in the business of helping people post on Facebook better, ” which was obviously squarely aimed at the Chevy Cruze, which makes a bit of a big deal out of the fact that it can read you your Facebook posts while you drive. In fact, social networking in cars is increasingly becoming a big deal, with built-in apps to access your various social media accounts to keep you updated while you drive and, of course, to let you update.
Personally, we kind of wonder what could be so exciting that your car needs to tweet about it, but that's just us.
What Strickland is concerned about is “cognitive distraction.” That is, you take your mind off the task at hand to focus on something else, like the fact that your girlfriend just dumped you through Facebook. While the NHTSA is concerned about people taking their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel, it's the cognitive impairment that really concerns them.
Does this mean that social networking systems and other gimmicks are going to be outlawed in vehicles? It’s possible, but unlikely. Texting while driving was kind of a no-brainer: hands, eyes and mind all off the road at once was a pretty simple call. But good luck getting cell phones banned from cars: we've been talking in our cars for decades.
Mostly the concern right now is teenagers, who are, of course, very easily distracted by their friends, their phones, and just about anything that has a touch screen. Everyone agrees that teenagers shouldn’t have cars that tweet, on general principle if nothing else. But for the rest of us? In the end, it might be up to us to prove we can handle tweeting hands-free in our fancy new cars.
If you need car insurance, check out SafeAuto.com.
Tags: safe auto, safeauto, distracted driving, social networking, chevy cruze
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Former NFL player and current UFC® fighter Matt Mitrione is showing that he not only has the confidence but also the ability to continue his rise up the heavyweight ranks. His second-round knockout victory over Christian Morecraft improved his record to 5-0 and has some people believing he should be facing top ten competition in the near future. Throughout the bout a smile could be seen on Mitrione’s face, conveying the confidence that the 261 pound fighter possesses. After the first round, when most fighters rest in preparation for the second round, the SafeAuto Fight Team member stood the entire time to display his much improved cardio.
The fighter, who goes by the nickname “Meathead,” knocked out Christian Morecraft at 4:28 of the second round by landing a crushing right punch that left Morecraft on the canvas. Mitrione was so confident after he connected on his punch that he felt no need to jump on his opponent; instead he walked away with his hands held high in celebratory mode. Mitrione’s victory improves the SafeAuto Fight Team’s record to 15-4-1. Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz will be the next member of the SafeAuto Fight Team to enter the Octagon as he faces Urijah Faber on July 2, 2011 at UFC 132.
Tags: ufc, mitrione, safeauto, insurance, mma, knockout
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Do you remember the dramatic video of an SUV cornering and nearly falling over? Consumer Reports put that together back when SUVs were considered “death traps.” Car insurance rates went up for SUV-drivers as a result. But it seems that that time has come and gone, and now SUVs are the safest cars on the road.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety now says that SUVs are extremely safe, thanks to the addition of Electronic Stability Control (ESC). But how ironic; SUVs (also known as gas guzzlers) have been recognized as the safest cars, just in time for gas prices to go through the roof, and fuel-efficient, four-door minicars are among the most dangerous deathtraps. While SUVs average 28 deaths per 100,000, smaller cars average 82.
The common wisdom about SUVs turns out to be true: their size and weight does protect the driver in a crash. And, ironically, the size and popularity of SUVs are the problem for smaller cars: in collisions involving two or more cars, the death rate rose dramatically when a small car hit a larger one.
So, is it really a tradeoff? Can we only have safety if we're willing to pay for it? Can we only have fuel efficiency if we risk our necks? Fortunately, the answer to both questions is “no.” You can drive an SUV and still save on gas...well, somewhat, anyway. How?
At the end of the day, safety is fairly relative: car crashes are still unfortunately very common in the United States, and we all have to do our part to avoid being involved in them or causing them in the first place. If we all put safety first, the road will be a better place, no matter what we drive.
Tags: safe auto, safeauto, fuel efficiency, safe car
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There are many bad drivers out there on the road. Play It Safe with helpful tips, articles, videos, and of course, examples of what not to do. Brought to you by SafeAuto Insurance Company.