Car Care, Fatigue, Holiday Travel, Road trips, Vehicle maintenance

Happy #NationalRoadTripDay

red_convertibleToday is National Road Trip Day – the Friday before Memorial Day that kicks off the summer road trip season. According to a survey conducted by the AAA last month, two-thirds of leisure travelers (64% percent) are planning to take road trips (vacations) this summer. Just last week, the Zeno Group conducted a study on what makes a good road trip. If you guessed having good music, audio-books or podcasts to listen to, you have joined 63% percent of those surveyed as the top two must haves for a successful road trip.  Add to the list of other important considerations: having good snacks and drinks for the road, finding great places to eat on the way and finding clean bathrooms to use while traveling.

Road trips are best with a little planning.  Look for travel apps, handly to map out stops ahead of time, saving you time and money.  The Pilot Flying J app features an enhanced trip planner to filter locations by amenities, parking availability, fuel type, restaurants & food offerings, even shower reservations.

Don’t forget to keep your vehicle in tip-top condition to maximize safety during road trip season:

  • keep up on scheduled oil changes – you will save thousands by maintaining your engine, and don’t forget the check the condition of your brake pads
  • check your wipers and wiper fluid
  • make sure your spare tire and jack are in place
  • test all lights and signals to make sure they are working
  • check the registration – don’t risk a ticket for having expired plates

Are you a tourist or a pilot road tripper? One likes to take time to check out unexpected sights and the other sets a course that avoids delays or side trips. If you have a driver and passengers with different road trip personalities, it is important to discuss compromises before getting behind the wheel. And don’t forget – driving while you are tired or sleepy is a hazard. If you are feeling drowsy, pull over and enjoy new places.

On National Road Trip Day, celebrate the open road that leads to places unknown – and enjoy the journey. The city streets and country roads await you!

autonomous vehicles, car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, driverless technology, Driverless Vehicles, NHTSA, Road Safety Research, Self-Driving Cars, Technology, traffic fatalities, Traffic Safety

Defining safe behavior standards for autonomous vehicles

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The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, in an average month, more than 150,000 people a month will be killed in traffic accidents around the world.  Around 90% of crashes are caused by human error – so will driverless cars reduce the number of incidences that lead to too many fatalities on the road?

In 2015, Nevada led the way in passing legislation regarding self-driving cars at the state level. Since then, several other states including California, Hawaii, Florida, Arizona and Oklahoma have proposed similar legislation to set standards for regulating self-driving cars. The problem with passing laws that regulate safety standards for autonomous vehicles (AVs) lies in not having a consistent standard defining “safe driving” in terms of how an AV can understand robotic rules of the road – every company that has forayed into the field is writing their standards in a different way. That is why some in the industry think the time has come to devise a standardized set of rules for how AVs should behave in different situations.

A team of researchers at Mobileye, a provider of AV technology, published a paper on a framework, “Responsibility-Sensitive Safety”, that outlines mathematical rules for various activities performed by AVs – lane-changing, pulling out into traffic and driving cautiously when pedestrians or other vehicles are partially occluded, etc. The framework covers all 37 pre-crash scenarios in the accident database maintained by National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It is hoped that this framework would be adopted as the basis of an open industry standard. A similar proposal, “Open Autonomous Safety”, was put forth by Voyage, another player in the AV field, that defines the correct, safe behavior for vehicles in a range of circumstances, including pedestrians being in the road, nearby vehicles reversing and arrival at a four-way stop. In addition, Voyage has made its internal safety procedures, materials and test code all open source, with the aim of providing a foundational safety resource in the industry.

Dr. Bryant Walker Smith, assistant professor in the School of Law and School of Engineering at the University of South Carolina, was interviewed about how self-driving cars can change the way people travel.

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Professor Smith welcomes the proposals from Mobileye and Voyage, but warns that it is too soon for regulators to “calcify dynamic conversations that are fundamentally technical in nature”. Researcher predict it will take years rather than months for the industry to cohere around a standard, but are optimistic it will eventually happen because discussions are already under way and because many people working in the field of autonomous vehicles are recent recruits from academia, who consider sharing and open-sourcing to be second nature.

 

blood alcohol concentration - BAC, blood alcohol levels - BAL, cannabis, Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, DUID, DWAI, Field Sobriety Tests

Got a DUI/DWI Ticket?

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Were you pulled over by the police under suspicion of driving impaired? Here are some tips to help you get through the arrest:

  • Stay calm and don’t become belligerent. If you are nervous, police officers may think that you are hiding something or are intoxicated. Remaining calm and being polite are good ways to ensure that police officers do their job efficiently.
  • Clean out your glove box. Fumbling through these compartments to find your registration or insurance can be easily misinterpreted as intoxication. Keeping the glove box or center console neat and clean allows you to swiftly grab your identification and present it to a police officer.
  • Follow instructions without challenging the arresting officer. Be aware that any evidence found in your car could be used to support a DUI conviction. This includes open containers, drugs and paraphernalia.
  • Take the sobriety test. Many DUI/DWI defendants have been found not guilty due to a malfunctioning breath analyzing machine or an improperly administered blood or urine test. The truth is, you yourself may not know how intoxicated you are, so the breathalyzer might result in blood alcohol levels and concentration below the legal limit.
  • Get a blood test after release. Alcohol detection devices can be unreliable and malfunction.  It is a good idea to measure your BAC with a blood test after arrest. At trial, your attorney can use that evidence to raise possible defenses. This won’t work for driving impaired under the influence of cannabis, as BAC tests do not register the THC poisoning in your blood since it is deposited in the body’s fatty tissues such as the brain.