52316(2)Many people who live in the greater Scottsdale area drive in one part of the Valley on weekdays and other parts on the weekends. Regular routines including work, school, and errands may dominate the weekday schedules but things are more open on the weekends, allowing for some flexibility in scheduling and some impromptu fun. If you are one of those people, make sure you know that the southbound Loop 101 was closed this weekend and will remain closed through today between 90th Street and Chaparral Road.

The affected portion of the Pima Freeway is in Scottsdale and will be undergoing rubberized asphalt paving through the early morning hours today. Officials anticipate the full reopening of the area by late morning and are hoping for as little of an impact on rush hour traffic as possible. Yet to be safe, motorists are being encouraged to avoid the area and to look for alternative routes so that they will avoid the headache of possible congestion. Official detours are available by State Route 51 or Interstate 17.

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12916(2)National estimates indicate that between 70 and 80 million dogs are kept as pets in households across the country, and many of those canines live right here in Arizona. Dogs can be a wonderful addition to many families and can provide anything from entertainment to security to a home but there are certain risks that come with owning a dog that are often overlooked.

Dog bites and animal attacks are a significant issue in Phoenix. It is the duty of anyone who owns a dog to ensure that the dog does not bite others or harm individuals in any manner, and failing to do so may make that owner liable for any injuries that result. Surprisingly, Americans are about twice as likely to be injured in a dog bite incident every year as they are to be hurt in a car accident yet little attention is paid to these attacks until one affects someone you love.

Now, new information from the Insurance Information Institute concludes that dog bite claims in Arizona are more expensive to resolve than those in any other state with a high number of claims.

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51616(2)Bicycling is becoming increasingly popular in Tempe and all across the Valley of the Sun. If you ride in the area, are thinking about riding, or have kids who may ride on occasion, you may realize that there are a lot of benefits to hopping on a bicycle when you want to get somewhere. Bikes are cheap, efficient, and reliable means of transportation. Their maintenance costs are much lower than a typical passenger vehicle and you do not need a license to ride one. Traffic is less of a problem and parking is rarely challenging. In fact, thanks to the proliferation of bicycle racks in and around the city, cyclists can often park their bicycles closer to a building or establishment than even the best vehicular parking spot in the area.

But for all the positives, there continue to be some drawbacks to riding in Tempe. The biggest issue is that presented by bicycle collisions which typical involve a crash between a bicycle and a motorized vehicle like a car, truck, or bus. In some cases, these collisions are the fault of the cyclist but far too often, they are the result of an inattentive or unknowledgeable driver who ignores the cyclist’s rights.

If you are going to ride in Tempe or if someone you love will be using a bicycle, the best thing you can do is to familiarize yourself with the laws and your rights so that you can remain as safe as possible.

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122315(2)Every state in the nation bans drivers from operating their vehicles after they have reached a level of intoxication, but despite these widespread and commonly known laws, millions of drunk drivers plague our public roadways every year. In fact, in 2013, 28.7 million Americans admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol that year based on a survey done by the federal government, and that number is believed to be low since many impaired motorists are unwilling to admit to their conduct.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined that every two minutes, someone is hurt in a drunk driving collision in this country. Unfortunately, far too many of those accidents are happening right in our backyard and across Maricopa County, affecting the lives of those who live in Phoenix or the nearby cities and those who come to the Valley to work.

There is a common misconception about who is driving drunk in Phoenix. Nationally, the rate of drunk driving is highest among 26 to 29 year olds, those who are old enough to consume alcohol legally. So many of these motorists go on to cause drunk driving collisions that in 2014 alone, 9,967 people were killed on American roadways in drunk driving accidents.

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51216(2)Whether you love them or hate them, red light cameras are a part of life if you reside in the greater Phoenix area. Some cities have added them while others have removed them in recent years but as most motorists drive through multiple cities on a daily basis, these cameras affect almost everyone.

Publicly, most local governments state that the purpose of the cameras is to promote public safety. They can also be significant revenue generators as well as these cameras issue a greater number of tickets than a typical officer would patrolling an intersection during a shift.

But are red light cameras really making Phoenix safer? The answer to that question depends on who you ask.

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51016(2)Millions of Americans have already learned that their vehicles are equipped with faulty air bag inflators and need to be replaced, but recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) announced the problem was much larger and more widespread than was previously known.

The inflators are associated with Takata air bags and more than 28.8 million vehicles have been recalled previously due to this condition. Experts were able to determine that the inflators could degrade over time due in part to fluctuating high temperatures and exposure to moisture, which in turn leads to a breakdown of an ammonium nitrate propellant. Without this propellant in proper working condition, the inflator fails and the air bag will not deploy in the event of a collision. Not only does the air bag fail to deploy but in some instances, the inflator degrades to the point that it becomes shrapnel which can be expelled through the car, potentially injuring the occupants of any vehicle.

Based on the determination of why these ignitors are failing, the NHTSA has expanded its recall to include another 35-40 million vehicles. Before this expansion, the recall was the largest of its kind in U.S. history; now, its size is unparalleled.

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112515(2)When it comes to a driving record, there is great variability among motorists in the Phoenix area. Some have squeaky clean records without so much as a parking ticket to their names. Others have received so many moving violations that their licenses have been suspended or revoked, leaving them without the ability to drive legally. So with this wide range of conduct by motorists, it may not be surprising to realize that some drivers are more likely than others to cause a car accident.

But now, data from a new study indicates that these risky drivers, who are more likely than others to be at-fault for a collision, do not realize that they are risky or that their conduct may be threatening.

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5416If you blinked, odds are that you missed it: May arrived in the Phoenix area without a lot of fanfare of attention. But if you are one of the tens of thousands of homeowners here who have a backyard pool, if your children will spend time at a daycare, summer camp, or youth activity with water, or if you take advantage of the many public water resources that Maricopa County has to offer, know that May is more than just a new month. Rather, May marks National Water Safety Month, a time to refresh your own knowledge about water-related issues and to teach your children about safety in and near the water.

A swimming pool or other body of water can be a great way to burn off some energy or to relax after a long day. In Arizona, it can also be a lifeline as the brutal summer heat can make anything other than swimming unbearable. If done properly, people of all ages can have fun in the water without having to worry about the potential for a swimming pool accident or drowning, but unfortunately, dozens of such incidents happen in our community every year.

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5216(2)Americans who are in the market for a new or used vehicle often make several assumptions. They assume that the cars they consider buying have met minimum safety standards and that they are legal on public roadways. They assume that there are no defects in the vehicles which would make them unreasonably safe to operate. And often, they assume that they will have no problems with basic driving tasks including starting the car, moving forward, and turning.

But if you live in the Phoenix area and you drive a Fiat Chrysler vehicle that is covered by a recent recall, odds are that you may have a hard time telling if you put your vehicle in park.

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42716(2)How do you get around Phoenix? Do you walk, take a bus, or take your own personal car? Ever hop on the light rail for a quick trip? If you are like most residents, you probably have a primary mode of transportation but may use other forms on occasion. Even if this is the case, though, it is unlikely that you appreciate how interconnected these transit forms are to one another and how their actions can affect the safety of others.

Many people in Arizona drive on a daily basis. These motorists may focus on their safety on the roadways, at intersections, and at stop signs but they may give less thought to non-drivers. Simply put, people tend to focus on issues that affect them personally, and if a driver never takes a city bus, for example, the driver is likely to be less aware of safety issues surrounding bus passengers. This flawed logic holds true when it comes to train safety as well.

There may not be a ton of train traffic in Phoenix when compared to the rest of the nation but that which exists often crosses paths with vehicular, pedestrian, and motorcycle traffic at street-level crossings. Now, new data states that five of the nation’s 13 most dangerous railroad crossings are located right here in the Phoenix area.

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