What is the cause of the most traffic fatalities—speeding, cell phones or drinking?

LastGary Jaffarian presents the research on the top 5 causes of traffic fatalities. You may be surprised at the findings..

If I had to guess without reviewing all the research, I would guess that the top causes of traffic fatalities are due to cell phone use and drinking. No matter the primary causes, it is very unfortunate to learn that 2016 was the deadliest year on the roads in the past decade, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Approximately 40,200 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year, a 6% rise from 2015 and 14% increase since 2014—making it the deadliest year on the road since 2007. Over 40,000 lives lost on the road – that is a horrible statistic.

While both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the NSC both paint a dismal picture, the two organizations calculate traffic death rates differently. NSC uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the

speeding accident

Speeding accidents are among the most deadly.

Centers for Disease Control. It counts both traffic and non-traffic deaths that occur within a year of the accident, while NHTSA counts only traffic deaths that occur within 30 days. NSC’s data also counts crashes on both public and private roadways such as parking lots and driveways.


Early in 2017, the NSC conducted an independent survey that shows the kinds of high-risk activities drivers are doing while on the road. The survey asked more than 2,000 people who drive at least 15 minutes on a typical weekday a series of questions about driver safety and actions taken while behind the wheel.

The survey shows drivers are concerned about safety and 83% of respondents said driving is a safety concern. But that hasn’t stopped many of them from speeding, texting, or driving while impaired by alcohol, prescription medication, or marijuana. A startling number of those surveyed said they are comfortable speeding (64%), texting either manually or through voice controls (47%), driving while impaired by marijuana (13%), or driving after they feel they’ve had too much alcohol (10%). Ironic, isn’t it?

While seat belt use has increased and air bags and other technologies have helped save accident victims, the rate is still increasing. Here are the facts by cause:

• Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 29% of the total vehicle traffic walking linefatalities in 2015, a whopping 65% decrease since 1982 and a 49% decrease since 1991. Among persons under 21, drunk driving fatalities have decreased 80%.

• Teens continue to have the highest number of traffic fatalities, mainly because of their addiction to cell phones and other electronic devices, according to Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association.SPeeding arrest by age

• The Governors Highway Safety Association also points to data suggesting an increase in distracted driving. While cars and phones now offer advanced voice controls and other features intended to keep drivers’ eyes on the road, apps like Facebook, Google Maps, Snapchat and others have created new temptations that drivers and passengers find hard to resist. “It’s not just talking on the phone that’s a problem today,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “You now have all these other apps that people can use on their phones.” Distracted driving affects drivers of all ages.

• The National Safety Council is calling for all states to ban hand-held cell phones. N.H. is one of those states, Massachusetts is not. Ideally, they would like to extend laws banning all cell phone use – including hands-free – to all drivers, not just teens; upgrade texting while drvingenforcement from secondary to primary in states with existing bans, meaning you can be stopped for that reason only.

• Of all traffic accidents, not just fatalities, 23% are caused by cell phone use or texting, whereby eyes are off the road for at least 5 seconds. That mean 1 of every four accidents is caused by cell phone use and the number of functions that take eyes off the road using smart phones. The National Safety Council believes the number is severely under-reported, however, they believe cell phones are responsible for 52% of all fatalities.

• Depending on the year, speeding related fatalities have accounted for 30-32% of all accidents. The charts clearly show males overwhelming speed more than females and the younger the age, the higher the rate of speeding. Most of the accidents caused by speeding are attributed to males 16-25. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), drivers ages 16-19 are three times more likely to crash than drivers over 20, due to risky behaviors including speeding, cell phone use and texting.

• Illicit drug use is more difficult to count than alcohol because of a lack of testing or measurement for drug use. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported 1 in 3 drivers killed in car crashes tested positive for drugs.

• However, 43% of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a prescription or illegal drug, more than the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, therefore making it hard to know exactly but somewhere in the 33-43% range.

• While drowsy driving statistics are also hard to measure and unreliable from admissions point, especially in fatal accidents, the statistics of driving while drowsy are driving drowsyextremely high as Americans have more stress and less quality sleep. The NHTSA believes that 1550 deaths are caused each year by drowsy drivers.

There you have it—drinking, distracted drivers (using cell phones or other devices), drug use, drowsy drivers and speeding are the main causes of accidents. Unlike weather conditions, these are all controllable factors—and in some ways—you could say not accidents, but choices made by drivers before or during getting behind the wheel. Because of the way the statistics are captured, it is still difficult to rank exactly causes, but most statistics point to the causes in this order:
#1 Distracted drivers including cell phones, texting and other electronic device usage
#2 Drug and prescription drug use
#3 Drunk driving
#4 Speeding
#5 Drowsy driving.

And last but not least…according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety….

State With The Lowest Death Rate – Massachusetts  0.6 per thousand!

Please drive safely and don’t become one of these statistics.

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Gary Jaffarian

Is this one of those dangerous long holiday weekends? How can we make the roads safer?

Gary Jaffarian explains that by making sure to not drink and drive we can reduce the number of fatalities by at least 20%.

Backyard BBQThis is the weekend to acknowledge the end of summer and is celebrated with barbecues and trips to the beach as a last hurrah. Many of these parties, outings and celebrations involve serving liquor. That’s precisely why thousands of law enforcement officers, state and local safety advocates will participate in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) nationwide Labor Day weekend drunk driving prevention mobilization called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

Research shows that high-visibility police enforcement can reduce drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20%. The NHTSA will also be buying ads and billboards to remind people if they aren’t sober, they will get pulled over. You can’t hide driving erratically.

Labor Day weekend is one of the deadliest times of the year for drunk-driving fatalities. Drunk driving is a life-threatening problem our country faces every day. According to the NHTSA, 10,265 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2015, up from 9,967 in drinking and drive2014. It’s incomprehensible that more than 10,000 people lose their lives in drunk-driving crashes each year, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities.

In 2015, nearly 20 percent of all drunk-driving fatalities for the month occurred over the Labor Day holiday period. The statistics are clear: Labor Day weekend is increasingly more dangerous for people out on the roads. It is important that those considering driving after drinking know that there are deadly consequences to their actions, according to the NHTSA.

Drunk-driving fatalities increased steadily through the summer of 2015, with 891 fatalities in June, 941 fatalities in July, and peaking in August with 1,045 fatalities—moreDrink Drive2 than any other time during that year. But even one fatality is one too many.

I often discuss the options to drink and not drive—or to drive and not drink– and serve as the official “designated driver.” The other culprit for accidents, of course, are cell phones as the major source of distracted drivers. Sad but true, these accidents are 100% avoidable. If you are going to “party” this weekend, here are your only choices:
• Bring a friend who doesn’t want to drink to be your designated driver.
• Sleep over as the host’s house or a local hotel.
• Call a cab, Uber or Lyft.
• Take public transportation.

If you don’t have Bluetooth, no talking on the cell and never text. It is illegal in New Hampshire to talk on hand-held phones. In Massachusetts, it is discouraged. Cell phones now rival alcohol for traffic accidents. If you need help connecting to Bluetooth or want to buy a new vehicle with Bluetooth, this is a great time to come to Jaffarian Volvo Toyota. This is one of the best times to purchase or lease a 2017 model, as the 2018 vehicles are arriving daily. Let’s make this the safest Labor Day weekend ever!

Enjoy this last “unofficial” weekend of summer safely.

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Gary Jaffarian

My children are going back to school, and I’m worried about their safety. What can drivers do to prevent accidents with pedestrians, especially children?

Walk SchoolGary Jaffarian explains that following the rules of the road and using common sense, combined with vigilance near schools, will reduce the potential for pedestrian accidents.

Children are vulnerable as they play outside in summer months and even more vulnerable as they stand on street corners waiting for the school bus, walking to school or riding their bikes. There were a few children in Boston struck while playing in driveways and near the road this summer and that is a few too many. Sadly, the accident rate continues to rise, mostly due to cell phone use and other distractions. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program.

According to a 2017 New York Times article, the most common cause of death in children under the age of 15 is unintentional injury, and the most common cause of unintentional injury is car accidents. Granted, most injuries take place while children are passengers in cars, however many children are victims of injury or death when they are struck by vehicles.

Too many children have been hit by family members when playing in a driveway and not visible behind the vehicle. A child in Boston was recently hit when playing in a cardboard box on her driveway.

The vehicles we represent, Toyota (SafetySense) and Volvo (IntelliSafe), both have advanced safety features to detect pedestrians, back-up cameras and many other safety features. Volvo has a new advance safety feature called “Bird’s-Eye View” with 360° surround view technology, whereby you get a bird’s-eye view of your car and its Pedestrian DetectionPD_hsurroundings so you can see obstacles all around you. Volvo also now offers an integrated booster seat cushion for larger children. Toyota offers a pedestrian detection safety feature. Whether or not you have one of these vehicles, we can all work together to prevent terrible tragedies involving children.

What can you do to reduce or eliminate pedestrian accidents?
• Know where your young children are at all times. When they play outside—whether or not they are in the driveway or on the lawn, if they are not in a fenced-in yard—do not leave children unattended.
• Stay with your children or take turns with another parent watching your children until the school bus arrives. Keep them out of the street until the bus arrives.
• When you are driving in neighborhoods, or near schools, drive slowly and adhere to the lower speed limits posted in school areas.
• Be certain your children are always properly strapped in and in the rear seat where injuries are less likely to be severe in the event of an accident.
• Children are required by law to wear a helmet when riding a bike. That is the best way to prevent head injuries. No exceptions – even if it’s just a ride around the block.
• Look around every time you drive in or out of your driveway if you have small children.

The National Safety Council recommends:
• Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.
• Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school.
• Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.
• Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic.
• In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
• Always stop for a crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
• Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way.
• Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
• Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way.

Be certain to drive carefully in neighborhoods, around parks and schools and let’s make this the safest back-to-school season ever. Also make sure your brakes are in excellent condition in case you do have to stop quickly. Lastly, never text or look at your cell phone while driving. If we can help with your brakes or safety equipment, Jaffarian Service Department is open Monday through Saturday for your convenience. You can also schedule an appointment 24/7 on line with our Service Scheduler.

Enjoy these last weeks of summer safely.

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Gary Jaffarian

Are you doing a charitable drive again this fall?

Gary Jaffarian explains the next community drive is for back-to-school supplies for Emmaus House clients’ children in local public schools.

Yes, Jaffarian Volvo Toyota participates in a charitable drive at least three times a year. This past summer we sponsored sneakers and supplies for children in our area attending School Suppliesbasketball and other camps in the area. This month we are again collecting back-to-school supplies for those children in the Haverhill Public Schools who are the less fortunate clients of Emmaus Inc., which provides services for homeless and needy families. I love their slogan: “Where everybody matters.” They provide both immediate assistance and long-term solutions through emergency shelters, affordable housing, job training, and more.

Without the generosity of the community, the clients of Emmaus House may not have new backpacks or school supplies that are needed. There are some great sales on school supplies this month, so please consider picking up some extra supplies and dropping Emmaus house and tagthem off to the Jaffarian Showroom by Monday, August 21st. The first day of school in Haverhill is August 29th, and we’d like to get the supplies to them in advance of opening day.

If you are a business owner or work in a company that has an overstuffed supply cabinet, consider asking for permission to donate extra supplies to Emmaus House clients. The children will be so excited to have new backpacks and supplies.

The administration did an inventory of the supplies and indicated they really need the following this year:
• Larger size backpacks in neutral colors for the older kids
• Binders
• Notebooks
• Folders
• Pens, Pencils, Crayons, Markers and Highlighters.

Truck and signage 2 (002)

2016 Emmaus Back-to-school drive.


“Anything that gets donated will be used and very much appreciated,” said the Emmaus House spokesperson. Let’s fill up a truckload full of supplies again this year. I’d like to top last year’s successful drive. Thanks for anything you can contribute.

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Gary Jaffarian

What do I do to replace a lost key and how do I know it will only work on my car?

Volvo keyGary Jaffarian explains how most keys can be replaced the same day or next and what owners need to know to safely replace a key.

The Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Parts Department can order a key for you and get it the next day, however, some can be made the same day, depending on year, make and model. Out of curiosity, I did a web search on replacement keys and there are hundreds of places to order from. Why not just buy your replacement key online? Certain keys are on a different radio frequency and cannot be programmed for your vehicle. People also sell dead keys online that cannot be programmed.

Keys for vehicles manufactured before 2001 have no vehicle engine immbolizer, which is your vehicle’s security device, and do not need to be programmed. Keys made for vehicles from 2001 and newer need to be programmed and that works in accordance with your VIN (vehicle identification number) and engine immobilizer. I wouldn’t suggest giving out a VIN number on line. You run the risk of being hacked. YouTube also doesn’t provide the answer. While the online services claim to be less costly than the dealership, they also come with risks in terms of ability to program.

To protect our customers’ security when requesting a replacement key, we ask for name, address, VIN number, year, make and model. Even if you cannot get into the vehicle, the VIN is generally visible from the outside driver’s side dashboard. It may also be located on a rear wheel well or the front of the engine block, or on the frame of the car between the carburetor and windshield washer. You can also call your insurance company to get the VIN.

Types of Keys:

Traditional key—They are usually found in use for vehicles prior to 2001 and before 1981. They can simply be cut from a standard key blank like a house key.

Encoded key—These contain a programmed chip and must be programmed properly to work.

Smart key—It is a programmable device that allows the owner to open the door with a key and start the engine with a button.

Detached key fobs—This is a separate device from the key that starts the engine. It can unlock the doors and control the vehicle’s alarm.

Jaffarian Parts Department to the Rescue!

I was so happy to hear this story from my Parts Department personnel. A senior was at the market and discovered her keys were missing. No one turned them in, and she was frantic. She called us up and was so upset that the Parts Department employee tried toSenior Woman calm her. He asked for all her information, and while she hardly sounded like a criminal, he still asked for all the pertinent information for her own security. They were able to cut and program the key immediately and bring it to the market. She was so grateful that she sent me a beautiful letter complimenting the Parts Department staff for their immediate response and concern!

Let us know if we can help. Our Parts Department is open Monday-Saturday and ready to serve!

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Gary Jaffarian

How do I remove bugs, sap and bird droppings from my shiny, new car?

child wash carGary Jaffarian presents his best tips on how to remove these summer “evils” of sap, bugs and bird droppings from your vehicle’s exterior—if you prefer to do it yourself—rather than treating your vehicle to the Jaffarian Auto Spa.

We usually think of winter as being the toughest season for taking care of our vehicles—but you’re right that summer has its own challenges. The biggest challenge with bugs, bird droppings and sap is that they really stick to the vehicle’s exterior like a sap on windshieldmagnet. Washing them off is much more tricky than your everyday dirt and road debris.

Whenever possible, try to remove these pesky forms of debris as soon as they happen before they dry up. If you have a garage, use it in the summer too as it protects your vehicle from such items as well as limits harmful UV rays that damage the exterior paint. .

Here are the best tips to cleaning your vehicle’s exterior:

1. Soak the bugs, sap or droppings area with a hose. Ideally wash your vehicle in the shade. Don’t blast your car with a high-pressure setting on the hose or a pressure washing nozzle, as this could damage the paint. Soak the troublesome spots thoroughly,man wash car then rinse off the debris. You may need to repeat the process. Apply a generous amount of car wash soap. Combine one part soap with three parts water in a large bucket until it’s sudsy. Dip a soft sponge or absorbent cloth into the soap solution and spread it across the car’s exterior. Preferably use a specialty car wash product, not household soaps or cleaners (Ivory soap is ok). Household soaps may contain ingredients that can damage your vehicle’s paint. It’s a good idea to go ahead and wash your whole car, just in case there are a few spots you’ve missed.

2. Scrub away the sticky gunky debris. Use smooth circular motions on the most difficult part of the mess. Keep wetting the sponge as needed and continue scrubbing until your exterior is spotless. Make sure to check for insects in less noticeable areas, like the grill, headlights, mirrors and the base of the windshield. Baking soda is safe andBugs on Toyota mixed with water can be a good paste to take off bugs and gunk. WD-40 or other oil-based removers are alternate ways to remove sticky gunk. It can also reduce the appearance of scratches in a car’s paint. You may want to purchase a special product for bug and tar removal.

3. Clean the wheels and covers. Use a separate cloth or sponge to clean your wheels and purchase a spray cleaner special for the wheel covers. Be careful not to transfer substances like sand, brake fluid and grease from your wheels to your vehicle’s exterior.

4. Clean the windows carefully with a razor blade or box cutter if sap is stuck to the windows and did not come off easily with soap and water.man-washing-car-windshield-scrubbing-sponge-glass

5. Rinse and dry your vehicle. Once you’ve washed your vehicle, spray it off with the hose to remove any remaining traces of soap or debris. Wipe water off with a microfiber towel or squeegee, then let the vehicle air dry. Don’t skip the final wipe down—especially if your town has hard water, it can leave behind stains that can permanently damage the paint.

6. Wax your vehicle. If you’re really ambitious, wax your vehicle every 2-3 months.

While it requires a lot of time, patience and products to remove these tricky substances from your vehicle, there is a simpler way—bring it to the Jaffarian Auto Spa—and treat your vehicle and yourself to a vehicle that looks like new inside and out! We even have coupon specials online for detail packages.

Enjoy this last month of summer!

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Gary Jaffarian

Where do you recommend for summer day trips or overnights for a family with children?

Gary Jaffarian recommends both fun and educational places to visit as a family.

Though you didn’t indicate how old your children are, I’d be happy to highlight a few different places to travel around New England with children of various ages. Before you leave for an extended road trip, please be certain to be up-to-date on your vehicle maintenance. If you are not sure, please come see us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota’s Service Department. You can even book an appointment 24/7 on line.

I’ve chosen one place in each of the six New England states:

Be a Boston tourist—There is so much to do in our great City of Boston! People spend so much money traveling all over when there is so much to see right here! My suggestions for Boston day trips include:
JFK Library and Museum
Boston Children’s MuseumCharles River
Museum of Science
Walk the Freedom TrailBoston Duck Boats
Ride the Swan boats
Take a Duck Tour
New England AquariumNE Aquarium model-shark-1260x900
• Walk along the Charles River

There is so much history and so much to learn in Boston and summer is the best time to visit. Millions of people from all over the world visit Boston every summer. There are a lot of low-cost and free things to do in Boston! You can also visit Old Ironsides docked at the USS Constitution Museum.

New Hampshire
Storyland is in New Hampshire’s White Mountains on Route 16, six miles north of North StoryLandConway in Glen and 150 miles from Boston and about 124 miles from the Haverhill area. There are loads of fun rides for young children including an antique German carousel, Alice’s Tea Cup, Roar-o-Saurus, Bamboo Shoots, a water ride, Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach, the Crazy Barn, a Buccaneer Pirate Ship and my favorite—Antique Cars!

Portland—a beautiful area to visit for a day trip or to vacation. The Portland Waterfront offers so much including great food, shopping in the Old Port area and ferry rides out to local islands. There is a Children’s Museum and Theatre where they are currently showing Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz. There is also an Arts District, a Museum of African Culture; and the nearby Casco Bay Lighthouse. Just south of Portland, you can visit Palace Playland at Old Orchard Beach which is a beautiful beach with plenty to entertain kids of all ages. Greater Portland offers plenty of outdoor adventure, parks, and hands-on fun that suits every family member. You can plan a family outing that includes a day trip to a wildlife park, a visit to one of the state’s many fairs and festivals that cater to active kids and family entertainment, or a trip to one of the coast’s many sandy beaches where kids can play and cool off in the ocean waves.

Rhode Island
Block Island—a secluded island with a great beach and two light houses along with Block Islandsome quaint shops and inns—can be accessed from a regular or high-speed ferry ride from Narragansett or Newport—both great places to visit. This is a perfect weekend trip. Southern R.I. has some of the best beaches, without the crowds of the Cape. Block Island is a great place to rent bikes or mopeds to tour a beautiful, scenic island 12 miles off the R.I. coast. This kidney-shaped island has been designated by the Nature Conservancy as “one of the 12 last great places in the Western Hemisphere.”

Mystic Seaport—This is an easy day trip to the place made famous by Julia Robert’s first Mystic Aquariummovie “Mystic Pizza” and the restaurant is still there. This quaint seaport town is known for its shops and restaurants and its great Mystic Aquarium. You can board the largest Viking Longship or the Sabino Steamship. You can rent a row boat or sailboat to sail around the harbor. My favorite place to visit is the Olde Mistick Shopping Village off Route 95 before you get into the downtown area. It’s a shopping village that is set up like a quaint village from years ago. A lot of the shops are so unique—you never know what you’ll find there.

Stowe—Lots for families to do including taking a guided tour of the Ben & Jerry’s ice Stowe-kayakcream factory and sample the flavor of the day; visit the Trapp Family Lodge from the Sound of Music fame; watch the colorful balloons take to the air during the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival held in July; take a dip in Foster’s natural swimming hole; hit the “links” at the Stowe Golf Park, a beautifully landscaped and contoured miniature golf course; or tour the nearly 600-foot granite quarry, watch artisans carve stone, and try your hand at sandblasting your own stone souvenir at Rock of Ages. Who knew you could have so much fun in Stowe when it’s not ski season!

Wherever you decide to go, please post a photo and share with us on our Jaffarian Automotive Facebook page. We love to see where you and your family explore during these summer months (and don’t forget to include your pets and your vehicle in the posts!) Hope you have fun and safe travels for the rest of the summer! Oh boy, it does go by so quickly! Make every day of summer family time count.

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Gary Jaffarian

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