112515(2)The threat posed by car accidents continues to be one of the biggest safety issues faced by Americans each and every year. In fact, in 2013 alone, 32,719 people lost their lives in traffic collisions in the United States and hundreds of thousands more suffered from serious injuries. This loss of life and the overall harm caused by collisions have led to many questioning what can be done to improve safety on the streets of Phoenix and to make sure that as many people as possible remain injury-free.

The primary cause of accidents in the Valley continues to be driver error. This can include a motorist who is traveling too fast for conditions, someone who cuts off another driver, someone who is distracted or even intoxicated behind the wheel, or just someone who makes a bad decision and causes a crash. Regardless of the elements that lead to a collision, it is clear that as long as humans continue to operate cars, accidents will keep happening.

This reality has led some in the tech industry and others in the automobile world to work on self-driving cars as the next wave of transit to hit the nation. Generically called autonomous vehicles or sometimes even referred to simply as the “Google cars,” self-driving vehicles are at the prototype stage for multiple companies who are eager to introduce their products to the customers. But with this new technology has arisen some safety concerns and even legal issues at the state and national level that must be addressed before the public can take advantage of a car that drives itself.

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TurkeyMany in the Valley are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend by preparing to welcome friends and families to their homes. But others are packing up, preparing to take to the roadways to travel outside of the Phoenix area either alone or as a group as part of their celebrations. This year, AAA predicts that 42 million Americans will make a road trip of at least 50 miles during the Thanksgiving weekend and a large number of those travelers are believed to live in Arizona.

So what can you do if you will be driving? While it may seem like you will get bogged down in traffic no matter what, officials with the Arizona Department of Transportation report that timing your trip can make a big difference in terms of what level of traffic you will encounter.

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112315(2)Now is the time of year when many families in the greater Phoenix area begin the frenzied march towards the holidays. Kids are gearing up for Thanksgiving break from school and many adults will enjoy holiday time away from work. More time with a family often provides an opportunity to look forward into the future, and at this time of year, the future for many includes new drivers becoming licensed to drive on their own.

While teens have birthdays year-round, many choose to take driver’s education classes through local high schools which run them either concurrently with a school semester or during the summer months. At this time, 21 high schools in Maricopa County alone offer driver’s education services to their students which means that hundreds of additional, brand-new drivers could be taking to the roads any day.

If you are the parent of a teenager, you may give extra thought to the safety of these teens when behind the wheel as it can present a real issue in your household. If you are not the parent of a teen, though, you should still be aware of issues surrounding teenage motorists as their actions can have a direct impact on the safety of all those on the road, including those in other vehicles.

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Advances in vehicular design have been rolling out with such speed that many drivers do not even realize the full range of features their vehicles possess. While some changes can’t help but be noticed – like a car that parallel parks itself – others are more obscure and may function behind-the-scenes, making a drive safer, more comfortable, or even more efficient all without any action on the part of a motorist. One of those features that gets less attention and less recognition than others is the advent of automatic tire pressure monitoring systems which have been around for some time but have only been standard in recent years.

If your vehicle was manufactured on or after September of 2007, it is required to have a tire pressure monitoring system. These systems work by automatically monitoring the tire pressure in a vehicle’s four tires. If the pressure in any tire is either too high or too low, a driver will be alerted to the issue by an on-dash visual cue, an audible tone, or a combination of both. All tire monitoring systems check for underinflation but only some monitor for pressures that are too high so it is important to know the basics of the system used by your car.

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111815(3)The safety of children who live in the Phoenix area is of utmost concern to the city as a whole, and it should be: after all, children are the next generation who will grow up to run businesses, teach in schools, and make Arizona an even better place to live. But despite all the efforts to keep our kids safe, accidents continue to happen every year and some of them tragically claim the lives of our most vulnerable members.

Among the threats faced by our kids are swimming pool accidents and drownings, an issue that reemerges every few months and with regularity during the hot summer days. Accidents like those involving a pool are frightening to parents because they take only a moment to occur and yet can alter a family’s course forever.  To prevent as many of these incidents as possible, each city in the Valley has established rules and regulations that apply to public and private pools with safety in mind, forcing owners to take action to limit unintended exposure of the pool to a child and to make it as hard as possible for young children to access the water without a parent’s knowledge.

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111615(2)Takata Corporation has had a footprint in the United States since the 1980s, primarily in the automotive arena and usually with respect to seat belts, child restraint systems, and airbags. Yet the company is much older with its roots dating to the 1930s in Japan, the country that still hosts Takata Corporation’s headquarters today. The modern world knows Takata as a global provider of airbags with approximately 20 percent of the international market share as of 2014.

In 2013, the public became aware of potential issues with the Takata airbags in numerous makes and models of American-sold vehicles, leading to massive recalls among auto manufacturers and others associated with the industry. The problems with the airbags may have begun a decade before the recall started which may put countless lives at risk should those airbags malfunction. As of November of 2015, Takata Corporation is responsible for the largest automobile recall in history with an estimated 34 million vehicles affected by faulty airbags.

Takata agreed to fix affected vehicles but now, at least two senators are expressing concern over Takata’s financial ability to do so in the event its U.S. subsidiary goes bankrupt.

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102715%282%29.jpgMore than the majority of America, the Phoenix area has experienced a substantial boom in population in recent decades. With nearly a growth of 500,000 residents between 1990 and 2013, the Valley has sprawled in all directions, spurring new development, new housing, and new businesses.

All of this growth has led to massive construction projects in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, Chandler, and Tempe as well as across the remainder of Maricopa County. Those who have lived in the Valley for all of their lives may remember a time before the Loop 202 existed or may recall a smaller, more condensed Phoenix area without the urban sprawl that marks the city today.
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102615%282%29.jpgIf you live in the Phoenix area but do not ride a bicycle, chances are that you do not pay a lot of attention to bicycle safety or the threat of bicycle accidents. But that could be a massive mistake as anyone can be involved in a bicycle crash – even those who do not ride. The fact remains that most of the collisions involving bikes in Arizona also involve a vehicle, whether it is a car, truck, or bus, so even those who utilize vehicular transit must be cognizant of bicycle-related safety concerns.

First, know that it is the right of cyclist to ride their bikes in the roadways around Phoenix. This means that drivers do not have the right to ignore cyclists or their bikes as they ride and that drivers must respect the right of cyclists to be present on the streets. If you drive, accept in your mind that cyclists will be present just as you accept that other vehicles will be on the roadway. Understanding their right to ride and accepting it can eliminate the frustration some motorists feel when they see bicycles in their path.
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102215%282%29.jpgIf you are the parent of a young child, you are probably familiar with infant car seats, regular car seats, convertible seats and boosters. You may have a variety of them that you have used over the years or you may just be starting your journey with infant restraints. While it can seem complicated at times, it is important to understand the importance of car seats and the role they play in your children’s safety.

If you live in Arizona or if you drive in the state, you are required to follow the laws governing children in vehicles. That means if your child is younger than eight years or or shorter than 4’9″, your child must either be in a car seat or a booster seat, depending on her actual age and size.
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102115%282%29.jpgThere are many issues that come into play when discussing truck traffic in the Arizona area, and chief among those issues are the safety concerns presented to other vehicles near a truck. When a standard passenger car and a semi-truck hauling a trailer are compared, the differences in size, weight, and force between the vehicles are stunning and enough to make any driver realize that there could be problems if the two vehicles collided.

Yet truck accidents happen every day and many of them involve smaller vehicles, making the threat of a crash a reality to thousands of people every year. The reasons behind a truck accident can be similar to those that cause collisions among cars but the results of a truck crash are usually more extreme, more likely to cause injuries, and more likely to cause death to those involved, making truck accidents a priority when it comes to understanding traffic issues and safety in Phoenix.
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