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Posts Tagged ‘Driving Safety’

Legalization of Marijuana: Laws and Citations if You Smoke and Drive

January 21st, 2013

Marijuana Legalization and Driving Laws DUI: What to Know

The recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Washington and Colorado brings a new set of challenges for lawmakers who seek to keep all of us safe on the road.

How much does marijuana smoking negatively affect one’s ability to drive, and how do you measure these effects for law enforcement purposes? Backed by numerous research studies, most experts have concluded that smoking marijuana slows reaction time, impairs judgement and can lead to increased collision risk, putting both smokers and other motorists in harm’s way at the hands of those who choose to “toke and drive.”

Each of the first two states to legalize marijuana for non-medical uses has come up with a different solution to this very real problem. Since THC, marijuana’s primary active ingredient, stays in body for days or weeks, instead of just hours like alcohol, finding a fair yet effective solution is not cut-and-dry.

Washington

In Washington, lawmakers have chosen to set a legal limit for the amount of THC per micro-liter of blood that can legally be present in a driver’s system. Currently, that limit sits at 0.5 nanograms per micro-liter. Should the driver be over the limit, measured by blood testing, then the case is treated the same as an alcohol DUI, with stiff legal penalties including heavy fines and an immediate 90-day driver’s license suspension, even before conviction. Upon conviction, penalties include an automatic driver’s license suspension for up to 4 years, plus drug rehab classes and other penalties.

There is an issue with this approach, though. Regular marijuana users can exceed this limit, even if they haven’t smoked in hours or days and are not currently impaired.

Colorado

Colorado has chosen a different approach. There is no set legal limit for THC in the blood, with potential for a DUI based solely on driving impairment. Although this avoids the pitfalls of a blood measurement, the approach introduces a subjective element, where it is purely up to the discretion of law enforcement to decide if the driver is too impaired to drive. Without an objective solution, we envision heavy legal challenges to marijuana-related DUIs in Colorado.

If convicted, the driver faces similar penalties to in Washington. That means fines, driving privilege suspension, and even jail time upon multiple convictions.

Be Safe, Be Smart

If you choose to use marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes and then drive, know that you will be impaired to a degree, even if you don’t realize it at the time. You could be subjecting yourself to serious legal trouble. Experts advise waiting at least 3 hours; at least 10 hours, some say; before driving.

Still, moderate-to-heavy users could find themselves subject to DUI even when following this advice as current Washington law is constructed. Legal marijuana and DUI laws are still in development. Everyone has the goal of keeping motorists safe, but the right solutions are still very much in question.

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Do Women Make Better Drivers Than Men?

November 16th, 2012

Are Women Better Drivers Than Men? Study Says Yes.

A new study by Carrentals UK suggests that women may well be better drivers than men. Asking 700 adults about their driving records and ability to identify common road signs, the car rental shopping service found women were less likely to have been caught speeding, carried fewer “points” on their driving records, and were less likely to have been involved in an accident.

According to the sample, 67% of men and 44% of women had been involved in at least one accident in their driving careers. Men were also twice as likely to have been caught speeding, while each gender was equally poor at identifying common U.K. road signs.

However, nowhere in the findings do researchers take into account that men drive more miles, on average, than women. A separate American study of 6.5 million traffic collisions we reported on last year found women disproportionately likely to be involved in a crash per mile on the road.

While men certainly tend to think they’re the better drivers, we’ll leave that judgement up to you. Be the best driver you can be: learn and observe traffic laws, avoid distracted driving and leave the racing on the track.

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How to Assemble a Emergency Car Kit

October 19th, 2011

Carrying an emergency kit specially tailored to use in your car will help keep you safe and comfortable should you become lost or stranded. Here are the essential items to a good emergency kit. As the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than… well, you know the rest.

Water and Food

Carrying enough food, and especially water, to last at least a couple days could mean the difference between life and death. Look for high-calorie food bars and individual boxes or pouches of water to save space.

Warmth

Keep a heavy wool blanket as well as some emergency blankets or bags in the truck. Instant-activated warm packs and rain/snow ponchos are a good idea as well.

Light

A flashlight—LED lights last longer—has many benefits in an emergency, from helping you perform emergency car repairs to finding assistance. Lightsticks and emergency candles are other options.

First Aid

You can buy a compact first aid kit or build your own. A good kit should include pain relievers, sterile pads, alcohol prep pads, bandages, soap, gauze pads, and micropore tape, while toilet paper and safety pins are nice to have.

Tools and Roadside Safety

Signal flares warn other motorists they are approaching a broken-down vehicle and can be used to find help if you become lost. A basic tool kit should include a multi-purpose knife and shovel.

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The Ten Commandments of Hypermiling [video]

September 26th, 2011

Hypermiling

Hypermiler (noun): Any individual who goes to extraordinary lengths to squeeze every last mile out of every gallon of fuel. Practices obsessive and sometimes unsafe techniques to save fuel as a matter of principle.

Hypermilers have achieved some amazing feats of transportation glory, like traveling 1,445 miles on a single tank of gas in a Ford Fusion Hybrid (81 mpg!!). You don’t need to be a trained expert to start saving gas today.

The Ten Commandments of Hypermiling

  1. Minimize Mass in Car – Get everything you don’t need out of your trunk and interior. Every pound shaved saves fuel.
  2. Turn Off Air Conditioning – The AC indirectly uses fuel by increasing load on the engine.
  3. Shift to Neutral on Downhills – Why make your engine work when it doesn’t need to?
  4. Inflate Tires to Max Pressure – Underinflated tires waste gas. Period.
  5. Coast to Lights & Stop Signs – This is a huge one. Why power toward a red light, only to slam on the brakes?
  6. Draft Off Another Vehicle (Unsafe) – Stay in another car’s slipstream to reduce drag. Careful, this one’s dangerous, and usually illegal.
  7. Shift Frequently – It may be fun to hold each gear to redline, but you’ll pay for it at the pump.
  8. Gradually Ascend Hills – Climbing hills uses lots of fuel. Take it easy to maximize your savings.
  9. Drive at a Steady Pace – See how many miles you can go on the highway without touching the brakes.
  10. Plan Routes for Best MPG – Every mile you go out of your way leads to wasted fuel, and money.

Special thanks to AOL Translogic. See more info on hypermiling from AOL Autos here.

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Allstate Study Ranks the Safest Drivers in America

September 13th, 2011

America's Safest Drivers Study

For the second year in a row, drivers hailing from Fort Collins, Colorado have been named America’s safest in the Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report. The study uses reported collision data to determine how likely drivers in a given city are to experience a crash. At once every 14 years, Fort Collins drivers are 28.6% less likely to be involved in a collision than the national average of 10 years. For cities with at least 1 million people, Phoenix, Ariz. drivers are the safest.

See where your city ranks and find full details on the study from Allstate here.
City & Overall Ranking
Collision Likelihood
Compared to National
Average
Average Years
Between Collisions
1. Fort Collins, Colo. 28.6% less likely 14.0
2. Boise, Idaho 25.5% less likely 13.4
3. Lincoln, Neb. 22.7% less likely 12.9
4. Chandler, Ariz. 20.4% less likely 12.6
5. Huntsville, Ala. 18.9% less likely 12.3
6. Knoxville, Tenn. 18.3% less likely 12.2
7. Springfield, Mo. 17.9% less likely 12.2
8. Reno, Nev. 16.6% less likely 12.0
9. Eugene, Ore. 16.3% less likely 11.9
10. Chattanooga, Tenn. 16.3% less likely 11.9
Here’s some quick tips from Allstate you should remind yourself of every day.
  • Minimize distractions
  • Be aware of road conditions
  • Leave a safe distance between your car and others around you
  • Steer clear of road rage
  • Maintenance matters
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