No Increased Ticket Volume with Higher Speed Limits in Ohio

Troopers in the state of Ohio say they’ve given out fewer tickets on those stretches of the Buckeye State’s highways where the speed limit was raised to 70 mph several months ago.

Why is this relevant? Because those who initially opposed the speed limit increase did so because they were convinced there would be more accidents.

The Ohio highway patrol says that in July-September of 2013, roughly 19,000 speeding tickets were issued on the twelve rural sections of the interstate highway system where the speed limit increase took effect. That’s actually fewer tickets than were issued on the same stretches of road in the previous two years, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Admittedly, though, that number is higher than the five-year average (from 2008-2012) for the same months. This year, there were five hundred more tickets written.

Still, officials remind us that three months of data isn’t enough of a sample to draw any real conclusions, though they also believe the evidence supports the higher speed limit.

Interestingly, the National Motorists Association supports higher speed limits because of “herd mentality” – drivers drive at the speeds where they feel safe, and which allow them to keep up with prevailing traffic. When speeds are too low, more people are ticketed, but when the speed limit is increased, fewer tickets are written.

Nevertheless, the core issue is really one of safety. Most car crashes in Ohio in 2011 were, after all, the result of speeding.

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Vermont Motorists Receive Restitution for Damage Evaluation

Good news for Vermont motorists who had insurance through Wisconsin-based Dairyland Insurance: according to the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, those motorists with improperly evaluated damage claims will be receiving restitution.

Specfically, $16,000 has been allotted to customers whose damage claims were not calculated correctly. There were eleven such claims, which resulted in total losses, between January and November, 2011.

After an investigation proved that errors were made, Dairyland has not only agreed to make restitution, but is also implementing a collection of new policies and procedures, and increased training, for their employees who handle Vermont cases.

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Video: Halloween Safety Tips

Happy Halloween.

While this isn’t directly related to auto insurance, we think it’s important to remind everyone of safety tips for their trick-or-treaters tonight.

The most important, of course, is to BE SEEN ON HALLOWEEN.

(This video is from last year, but we think it’s still relevant.)

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SoCal Judge Sticks With Impounded Cars Ruling

Late last month, a Superior Court judge in California, Terry Green, stood by a ruling that restricted a Los Angeles Police Department policy which would make it less difficult for unlicensed drivers to keep their cars.

According to Green, the policy in question exists in violation of the state’s vehicle code. He thus refused to stay his ruling, even though city officials are in the process of appealing it.

The policy in question was originally implemented by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, and allows unlicensed drivers who are stopped by the police to show a valid ID, proof of registration, and proof of insurance in order to keep their cars from being impounded. It’s supported by local immigrant rights groups, who believe the former policies were unfair to undocumented residents who were unable to get driver’s licenses.

The police union, on the other hand, feels that the policy puts them in the middle of a dispute over immigrant rights and unlicensed driving.

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New York Creates Special Texting Zones

In an effort to further decrease distracted driving in his state, a few weeks ago New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of dedicated “texting zones” along the state’s highways and the New York State thruway. These are special areas, much like truckers’ rest stops, meant to give drivers a specific place to pull over and use their cell phones and other mobile devices.

Rest stops, in fact are among the existing facilities, which also include Park-n-Ride stations and parking areas, that will become dual-purpose areas, gaining signs designated them as Texting Zones. When the signs are all deployed there will be 298 of them, directing motorists to 91 different zones.

At the same time he unveiled this plan, Governor Cuomo also announced a significant increase – 365% – in the number of tickets issued for distracted driving in the summer of 2013, as opposed to the same period last year.

Specifically, New York state police wrote 21,580 tickets this summer, as part of a crackdown which began on the 4th of July and ended on Labor Day weekend. The crackdown involved a greater number of patrols and an increase in the enforcement of existing distracted driving laws.

In his statement to the press, Governor Cuomo said, “New York State is continuing to use every tool at its disposal to combat texting-while-driving. In addition to tougher penalties, new detection methods for state police and ongoing public outreach efforts, we are now launching special Texting Zones to allow motorists to pull over and use their phones.”

He added, “With this new effort, we are sending a clear message to drivers that there is no excuse to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road because your text can wait until the next Texting Zone.”

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IIHS Lists Top Cars for Crash Avoidance

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has recently rolled out a new test program to rate a vehicle’s ability to avoid damage in a head-on crash, using their high-tech features. The 2013-2014 makes with the highest scores were Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Subaru.

Specifically, IIHS looked at two system: automatic braking systems, and front collision warning technology, each of which are often offered only as add-ons to modern vehicles.

Seventy-four different luxury mid-sized cars and crossovers and similar, less expensive models were tested, with seven earning a “superior” rating. This is the top rating given to ABS-equipped vehicles that use the technology to significantly reduce their speed or avoid a crash entirely at speeds at both 12 and 25 mph, without driver intervention. An example of such a system is Volvo’s “City Safety” which is the only system that came as a standard (not add-on) option on a vehicle that participated in the test. Volvo’s S60 and XC60 models are also available with an optional safety package: Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection.

Subaru’s system includes a pair of small cameras, which give it the name EyeSight, and is available as an extra option on the Legacy and Outbook while Cadillac’s Automatic Collision Preparation system is available on the ATS and SRX.

So what were the seven top-scoring vehicles? Here’s the list:
Cadillac ATS sedan
Cadillac SRX crossover
Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan
Subaru Legacy sedan
Subaru Outback wagon
Volvo S60 sedan
Volvo XC60

IIHS also tests and rates new vehicles in side, rear, rollover and front-end crashes.

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Video: Teens and Car Insurance

With school back in session for over a month now, it seems a good time to remind everyone that insurance for young drivers is the most expensive car insurance there is, but that there are also ways to mitigate the cost.

This video explains more:

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