Stop Big Brother Maryland merges with Maryland Driver’s Alliance

I thought Maryland drivers would like to know that the organization that used to be known as  Stop Big Brother Maryland has now joined forces and merged with the Maryland Driver’s Alliance.   Stop Big Brother Maryland advocated against automated traffic enforcement measures such as speed cameras, mobile speed vans, and red- light cameras

The Maryland Driver’s License has the same mission and looks like it has been around since 2008.  There website has information regarding traffic enforcement bills and measures, cameras errors, and shows how your local Maryland representative voted.  All useful information that should help people make informed decisions whether you are for or against these automated traffic enforcement measures.

StopBigBrotherMD.org is now part of the Maryland Drivers Alliance.

Our mission is to protect the rights of Maryland drivers. We oppose the corrupting effect which automated enforcement has on our justice system. We are your source of information for everything Maryland officials don’t want you to know about speed cameras.

We support responsible enforcement of traffic laws by human officials and the proper application of traffic engineering principals to improve safety. Drivers should always make safety their first priority.

Visit the website if you would like to learn more: http://www.mddriversalliance.org/

What? Men Pay More Than Women for Auto Insurance!

auto insurance
This can Happen to the Best of Us!

What? Men Pay More Than Women for Auto Insurance!

In preparation to write this story, I did an Internet search for “men or women” and the auto-complete feature suggested “better drivers” as the top choice. Apparently, I am far from the only person who seeks answers to the age-old question of who makes better drivers — men or women? As my headline suggests, the news isn’t good: Men have poorer driving records than women and, therefore, we pay more for auto insurance.

Men vs Women: Driving

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), men drive more miles and are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as speeding, not wearing seat belts and driving under the influence. I know I’m being a real downer, and here’s one more stat you won’t like: Accidents that involve men drivers tend to be more severe. In 2010, motor vehicle deaths with male drivers behind the wheel were over 22,902 in the U.S.; while deaths involving women drivers were much lower at 9,979.

That’s just a fact, and where you live greatly affects how much men may pay in premiums.  (For instance living in Baltimore city vs Baltimore county is a huge difference!) That doesn’t mean men can’t find coverage that is inexpensive  it just means they have to do a little bit more homework. Many auto insurance companies lower rates for safe-driving records.  Keep a clean-driving record or move to a city or state where it’s cheaper to drive with insurance to help decrease premiums.  Driving eco-friendly hybrid or electric vehicles can also result in lower auto insurance rates.  Along with many auto insurance providers, Kemper is full of great online resources to help you find a better deal.

Shop Online Insurance Providers

Some online sources offer monthly payments significantly lower than traditional providers. Of course, there’s an app for that: Apps that find and price insurance on your smart phone simplify the process, as they can run the numbers and provide comparisons from wherever you are.  As with so many things nowadays, there are apps for this.  The Cheap Car Insurance Finder helps find you insurance quotes and lead you to the right coverage.  If you want another app be sure to read user reviews to find the best app for you.

You Have to Shop Around

Don’t grab at the first policy that looks good on paper. Some insurance companies may not charge you up-front for your policy but might get you on the backside through the deductible. Read the fine print. Know what your deductible is, what your payments will be, how often you have to make those payments and what is actually covered in the event of an accident. Don’t get caught holding your pants up with rope because your policy doesn’t cover medical bills or damage to the other driver’s vehicle.

Look for Discounts

If you are a homeowner, combine homeowners’ policies with auto insurance and bundle premiums. Your age, your career, whether you have a clean-driving record, who else will be driving your car, and a host of other factors affect how much you pay and and the total amount of your discounts. Young male drivers are more expensive that young teenage women drivers, so letting your son drive your vehicle will cost you more.

The good news is in the last five years, the number of fatal automobile accidents involving both men and women drivers has decreased about 75 percent, according to the IIHS. Unfortunately, that’s not reflected in our premiums. The Insurance Research Council looked at claim payouts in Michigan, which has the highest premiums in the country, and reported that while the number of accidents has decreased, the payouts have increased. Twenty-two percent of 2011 payouts were more than $250,000; in 2002, only 5 percent of payouts exceeded $250,000.

5 Most Dangerous Countries to Drive In

Driving can have its share of dangers, but there are certain countries where drivers have to take special care. These places have roads and other conditions that make them more of a challenge when taking to the road. If you are traveling to these countries, be sure that you are aware of traffic laws, safety precautions and prepared for any emergencies that could arise. All figures in this article are for the period from 2006-2007.

United Arab Emirates

1. United Arab Emirates
This country is in the top ranks of the most dangerous countries to drive in. It has more than a million vehicles that are registered to drive on the roads. The United Arab Emirates also has an astonishing 1,056 car-related deaths, with a rate of deaths in accidents at 37.1 per 100,000 residents in the country. This number of accidents also leads to a higher rate of filing auto insurance claims.

Gambia

2. Gambia
Gambia has a large population of over 1,000,000 people with over 14,000 vehicles that can legally be on the road. There have been at least 54 deaths in vehicle accidents, with an accident death rate of 36.6 individuals out of 100,000. This makes for a lot of traffic and busy streets while driving, so if you are visiting, watch for possible accidents on the road.

Niger

3. Niger
This is a beautiful, prospering country that boasts a population of over 14,000,000 people who drive over 76,000 vehicles on its roads. The busy traffic has led to a total of 570 deaths in car accidents, with a vehicle accident death rate of 37.7 per 100,000 people.

Iraq

4. Iraq
Iraq’s population of over 28,000,000 people has had to contend with war over the years, and have also garnered a top spot on the list for being dangerous to drive in. There are over 2,000,000 vehicles on the road daily, with a total of 1,932 deaths from accidents. Every 38.1 out of 100,000 people die in vehicle crashes.

Egypt

5. Egypt
Egypt is a country that is popular with tourists, since it has the pyramids, its history and beautiful cities to tour. It has one of the highest spots on the list of dangerous countries to drive in with a total of 15,983 deaths from automobile accidents. This is possible with over 75,000,000 people in the population and more than 4,300,000 cars on the road. There is a mortality rate of 41.6 per 100,000 people.

If you are planning to travel overseas, make sure that you are prepared for the possibility of an accident. Preparation includes knowing the traffic laws, having good car insurance and being aware of the heaviest traffic zones. This knowledge is vital to making your drive overseas smoother and safer.

Written by Christina Jones

Asbestos in Cars

Written by Brian Turner, an Adam’s Auto Advice blog contributor 
Most people know that automobiles can be dangerous at high speeds, or when they are improperly operated. However, many people do not realize that automobiles can be dangerous, even deadly, when they are parked completely motionless. Many chemicals go into the making of an automobile, and exposure to many of these substances can have dire consequences. The following is a guide to some of the more hazardous chemical substances used in the construction of automobiles.

That new car smell that everyone is so fond of is actually a nasty chemical cocktail used in the construction of many of the plastics that compose an automobile interior. Three of the worst offenders are chlorine, bromine, and even lead!

Chlorine is used to make a type of plastic called polyvinyl chloride, usually referred to as PVC. The chlorine in PVC is responsible for releasing chemicals called phthalates into the environment. These phthalates have been associated with a whole host of medical conditions, including infertility and premature deliveries of babies. Phthalates have also been known to cause problems with the testes, kidneys, blood, liver, ovaries and thyroid gland. The use of PVC plastic in a car is irresponsible by the auto industry.

Automobile manufacturers use bromine to make substances called brominated flame-retardants, usually referred to as BFRs. These BFRs are used as a way to increase the fire safety of the plastics in an automobile. Unfortunately, these BFRs have been associated with many medical problems. They have been shown to lead to problems with the thyroid gland and reproductive health. There is also evidence that they can contribute to learning disabilities and memory loss.

Lead has been known to cause health problems for decades, yet it is still used as an additive in automobile plastics today. It can cause damage to the brain, nervous system and kidneys. It has also been shown to impact reproductive health and lead to learning disabilities.

One of the most disturbing chemicals used in auto part components is asbestos. Although regulated by the government in the 1980s, asbestos is still found in many cars on the road today. It was used in brake pads, hoodliners, clutch linings, gaskets and valves. Exposure to asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma, which is an extremely deadly form of lung cancer.

All of these chemicals found in automobiles are scary. Manufacturers need to stop using them, and consumers need to educate themselves on how to protect against unnecessary exposure.

Brian Turner is also a staff contributor to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog where he posts about the cancer risks that toxins such as asbestos pose.  


Watch it in Wet Weather!

I am sure everyone in the Baltimore area and Maryland experienced the rather quick switch in weather from sunshine, to heavy rain, some sunshine, light rain, sunshine, heavy rain!  It was a little bit ridiculous.  It’s a good reminder to be prepared for anything when driving and to stay alert.  You need to be constantly aware of the driving conditions you are dealing with, espicially in wet weather.

A few weeks ago when I was headed to the Baltimore Grand Prix Economic Press Conference, it was raining like nobody’s business!  Not far from my house these was this accident.  It was pretty serious as you can see from the pictures.  These two small SUVS did a lot of damage hitting each other, at what I assumed was relatively low speeds.  This was most likely due to the fact that one of the drivers did not adjust their driving for wet conditions.  Since they were relatively the same size and type of vehicle, it seemed nobody was seriously injued. (Actually both were Honda CRVs).  Consider if one of the vehicles was a truck hitting a compact car.  Not good!