Category Archive: Uncategorized

Alcohol taxes increase

Alcohol Taxes Reduce Fatal DUI Crashes

Increased alcohol taxes caused a large reduction in fatal alcohol crashes in Illinois according to a team of health researchers at the University of Florida in a recently released study. The study found that fatal alcohol related crashes were reduced by 26 percent after Illinois imposed an increase in taxes on beer, wine, and spirits.

In 2009, the State of Illinois increased their alcohol taxes on beer by 4.6 cents per gallon, on wine by 66 cents per gallon and on distilled spirits by $4.05 per gallon. To find out if the new alcohol taxes had an impact on the rate of fatal alcohol crashes, the researchers compared the alcohol related crash rate between the period 104 months before the taxes were imposed and the first 28 months after the taxes were imposed.

In order to control for other factors, such as weather and time of day, the researchers compared non-alcohol related crashes in Illinois during the same time period. They also looked at the crash rates during the same period for the State of Wisconsin, which hadn’t increased its alcohol taxes. The results showed that the reduction in alcohol related crashes was due to the increased alcohol taxes and not other factors.

The impact of the tax was especially noted in young drivers whose alcohol crash rate was reduced by 37 percent compared to the overall reduction of 26 percent among all age groups.

According to the researchers, an increase in alcohol taxes nationwide could save thousands of lives. They called on state lawmakers to see alcohol  taxes as a highway safety measure and to stop allowing alcohol taxes to be eroded by inflation.

If you feel that your state should raise alcohol taxes while at the same time, reducing alcohol related crashes, contact your local state representatives and let them know how you feel.

Read more: Researchers see significant reduction in fatal car crashes after an increase in alcohol taxes

75 car pileup

75 Car Pileup Caused by High Speed

Investigators have determined that most drivers Involved in a 75 car pileup on I-95 near Bangor Maine last week were ignoring the posted, lower speed limit and driving too fast for conditions. As a result of the crash, seventeen people were transported to area hospitals, two in serious condition.

Interstate highways in Maine are equipped with flashing, hazardous weather speed limit signs. When road conditions warrant it, the speed limit can be lowered to a safer posted speed. The signs are also equipped with speed detectors that can record the speed of vehicles on the road. Investigators looking at the recorded data found most drivers were traveling an average of 10 mph above the posted speed of 45 mph. At least one driver was traveling at a speed of 73 mph.

The combination of snowy weather, darkness, and speed led to the biggest multi-vehicle pileup in Maine’s  history.

Speed limit signs are posted for ideal conditions. Drivers have a responsibility to adjust their driving speeds when weather or other conditions warrant.

Read more: Speed led to 75-car pileup on I-95, speed limit sign recordings show

Zero death vehicle models

Nine Car Models Have Zero Deaths

A study, released last week by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), looked at the death rate for 2011 model year vehicles sold in the US and the data showed a record nine models with zero deaths.

According to the authors, the chances of dying in a vehicle crash have fallen by more than one-third over the past three years. Significant improvements in design safety, including; structural improvements, additional safety features, and “an evolving mix of vehicle types” contributed to the decline in the risk of death. The authors estimated that, had vehicle designs remained the same since 1985, an additional 7,700 people would have died.

Vehicle structural improvements and safety features have improved tremendously over the past few years. The 2011 models sold through the 2012 calendar year had an overall rate of 28 vehicle deaths per million registered vehicles compared to 48 deaths per million registered 2008 vehicles sold through 2009. According to the IIHS, eight years ago there were no vehicles with a zero death rate and now there are nine.

The surprising thing about the vehicles that had zero deaths were that two-thirds of them were SUVs. This is surprising because SUVs had some of the highest death rates ten years ago due to the fact that their high center of gravity made them prone to roll over in a crash. When they did roll over, their weak roofs generally gave way, crushing the vehicle occupants. Structural changes and the addition of electronic stability control (ESC) led to lower death rates, not only in SUVs but throughout the vehicle fleet. According to the authors, the 2011 rollover death rate of 5 per million registered vehicle years is less than one-quarter of that for the 2004 model year. A registered vehicle year is one vehicle registered for one year.

The nine vehicles with zero death rates are:

Audi A4 4WD

luxury car


Honda Odyssey


very large

Kia Sorento 2WD



Lexus RX 350 4WD

luxury SUV


Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4WD

luxury SUV


Subaru Legacy 4WD

4-door car


Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD



Toyota Sequoia 4WD



Volvo XC90 4WD

luxury SUV


Smaller vehicles, especially the “minis” or “smart cars” fared poorly in the study. The car with the highest death rate was the Kia Rio, a minicar, with 149 driver deaths per million registered vehicle years. The Rio, along with the Nissan Versa sedan, and the Hyundai Accent, were the only three cars with more than 100 deaths per per million registered vehicle years. In small and mini cars, there isn’t enough vehicle structure to cushion and prevent intrusion into the vehicle occupant space.

To see how your 2011 model fared in the study: visit: Driver death rates by make and model

Top Safety Rating

More Cars Earn Top Safety Rating In 2015

The top safety rating given by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) was earned by even more cars in the 2015 model year than were awarded in the 2014 model year.  While more vehicles went on to win the top safety later in the year, by this time last year, only 39 vehicles had won the rating compared to 71 this year.

The top safety rating was won by more cars in spite of the fact that the IIHS increased the testing criteria in 2012, requiring the small overlap crash test in addition to the front end and side crash tests. The small overlap test crash tests duplicates common crashes where a smaller portion of the front end strikes an object such as a bridge abutment or light pole. After the introduction of the small overlap tests, initially, fewer cars were able to pass the test because manufacturers had designed car frames to absorb the impact of a full front end collision but not necessarily a crash on the front side. Designers had to go back and strengthen the side of the frame and the front door pillar to better protect the occupant space.

According to the IIHS, in order to win the top safety rating, “a vehicle must earn good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap front test.”

In addition to the top safety rating, vehicles may also earn a top safety (+) rating if they score “a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.” Front crash prevention includes passive systems that use sonar or cameras to warn a driver of a possible crash situation ahead or active systems that actually apply the brakes to avoid a possible crash.

For 2015, 33 vehicles were awarded the top safety + rating if the manufacturer offered the front crash prevention system as an option. Four models (all Volvos) included the front crash prevention system as standard equipment.

To see which vehicles earned the top safety rating, read: 2015 Top Safety Picks

Photo courtesy: IIHS

St. Pete Beach

How To Handle A Traffic Ticket In St. Pete Beach Florida

St. Pete Beach is a small town with only 2.2 square miles of land area and less than 10,000 permanent residents but, for a small town, it has some major traffic problems. With thousands of tourists flocking to St. Pete Beach every year and only one major road in and out, the town experiences traffic incidents out of proportion to its small size and population. Continue Reading