Dandelion a Possible Substitute for Tire Rubber?

dandelions-66719_640The tire industry uses up two-thirds of the world’s rubber supply, and it depends on very few countries in Southeast Asia to grow the rubber tree for raw materials. A Dutch biologist believes she and her team may have found a sustainable alternative to rubber — dandelion.

Dandelion-based rubber would give the tire industry a better handle on rubber supplies. According to an MSN article, brands like Bridgestone and Continental are putting millions into this research.

Dandelion Tires?

The taproot of a type of dandelion native to Kazakhstan is said to produce a fluid that contains tire-grade rubber particles. Unlike tropical rubber trees, dandelions are a pretty tough plant. As anyone who’s ever put up a strong fight with these weeds knows, they grow in any soil and climate. Although rubber trees originated in South America, a fungus made it impossible for them to be reestablished there. Some scientists worry that the same thing could happen in Southeast Asia.

Although it’s doubtful dandelions will ever fully replace rubber trees, they could still be an excellent, natural substitute. Should fungus or any other force threaten rubber tree supplies or rubber cost, U.S. companies would be able to cheaply produce this substitute right here at home.

How do you feel about dandelion tires? We want to know!

PA DUI Laws Don’t Always Keep Repeat Offenders Off the Road

100_1498Pennsylvania law states that any DUI re-offenders must serve two months in jail for the second offense and an additional year for every following offense, in addition to having his or her license suspended. However, this law hasn’t prevented a former CNN courts commentator from being arrested for drunk driving five times within a year, and never serving more than 10 days in jail.

According to an article on Philly.com, Joseph Lawless was able to find a loophole in the law that allowed him to plead guilty as a first time offender for each case of DUI. In addition, he was driving with a valid license for each of these arrests. This was possible because the law only requires license suspension after an offender has been CONVICTED of DUI. In other words, drivers have free reign of the roads while awaiting trial.

In comparison with other states’ DUI laws, Pennsylvania seems pretty lax despite recently lowering the blood alcohol requirement to be considered an impaired driver and increasing jail time for repeat offenders. In 41 states, authorities immediately suspend the licenses of drivers who fail sobriety tests. Thirty-one states, but not PA, require the use of an interlock device after the first conviction. These devices don’t allow drivers to start their vehicles if they are drunk and DUI rearrests are said to fall two-thirds when they are used.

According to the article, the biggest PA loophole abusers can be found in Philadelphia. Philly.com states that one in every four DUI offenders gets away without punishment, mostly because they just don’t show up for court. Philly traffic court is so backed up that it isn’t always prepared to effectively go after offenders.

Be sure to read the article to get the full story of Joseph Lawless and to see how harshly DUI re-offenders have affected local families.

September 11th Remembrance Day in Delaware County

download (1)Delaware County’s annual Remembrance Day Ceremony will be held at Rose Tree Park in Upper Providence Township this Thursday on the 13th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m., and will be hosted by District Attorney Jack Whelan. Other speakers will include NBC10 reporter Harry Hairston, Delaware County President Judge Chad F. Kenney, and Delaware County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle. Kenney will also talk about Officer Edward Wehe, who suffered a fatal heart attack while on duty last November.

During the ceremony, wreaths will be lain at various memorials including the Delaware County Victims of September 11th Memorial, the Delaware County Law Enforcement Memorial, and the Delaware County Fallen Firefighter and EMS Memorial. Delaware County chooses to perform this ceremony annually to not only pay tribute to the fallen first responders and over 3,000 victims of the tragedies of September 11th, but to also thank those currently serving our community.

Another Delaware County commemoration ceremony will be held at Aston Township Memorial Gardens at 7 p.m. Called the Patriots Day Ceremony, Boy Scout Troops plan to honor local police officers, firefighters, and EMS workers.

We at Direct Paint & Collision are grateful to our first responders everyday, but especially on this anniversary. Your commitment and sacrifices do not go unnoticed!

Preparing Students to Take Cars to College

Students_work_on_robots_at_Cañada_CollegeAs August comes to a close, it doesn’t just signify the end of summer. Tons of college students are heading back to dorms and apartments, many of whom are living on their own for the first time. In addition to living apart from their parents, these students now have to care for their vehicles as well.

According to AAA, there are several common mistakes that college students make when it comes to cars. If you or your child are leaving for college soon, be sure to consider the following “Rookie Mistakes”:

Letting a friend borrow the car- Not everyone at college has a car, so friends asking to borrow isn’t uncommon. However, car insurance sticks with the car not the driver. If a friend gets in an accident, it will affect the owner of the vehicle. In the cases of many college students, the owner is Mom or Dad.

Ignoring regular maintenance- Students might try to save money by avoiding small maintenance without realizing that doing so could contribute to a bigger, more expensive problem. Talk to your son or daughter about knowing when to change oil, rotate tires, and how to check tire tread.

Not preparing for roadside emergencies- Another aspect to consider is that college students can’t always call home when they have car trouble. Some type of roadside assistance service, like AAA, could help them with car trouble and even find a trustworthy auto shop in the area.

Discussing these mistakes with your college student might help to avoid some pesky, pricey accidents in the future. Also, you’ll be giving him or her a great lesson in vehicle responsibility.

Are You Prepared for an Auto Accident?

Head_On_CollisionAt one point or another, we’re all bound to be involved in some type of car accident. If you’re lucky and no one is injured in the accident, your biggest worry will probably be, “What do I do next?”

Typically, you don’t know if you’re prepared for a car crash until after it happens. With this post, we hope to help you feel prepared for anything out on the road. Hopefully, this knowledge will afford you some peace of mind during an undoubtedly hectic time.

Precautions

There are a number of items you can keep in your car daily that will come in handy should something happen out on the road. The first is your cell phone. Most people carry this anyway, but you should always try to charge it before taking a car ride. Should you need help, the cell phone will be invaluable.

Next, be sure to stow a pen and some paper into a compartment. This will make it easier to record information immediately following an accident. Other helpful items include a list of contacts and medical allergies in case you were injured, and traffic cones or road flares.

Post-Accident Safety

Although you’re bound to feel shocked immediately after a collision, it’s important to think clearly to keep yourself and passengers safe. If the accident was serious, try to remain in the vehicle wearing a seat belt until help arrives. If you’re involved in a minor fender bender, you as well as any other involved vehicles should attempt to pull off of the main road into a safe area before getting out of the car.

Information Exchange

You need to make sure you get the proper information from the other driver, especially if you live in an area like Philadelphia where police may not always respond to accidents. Be sure to write down the following info from the other driver:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • License Plate Number
  • Insurance Company
  • Insured Name (if different from driver)
  • Policy Number

You should also take note of the make and model of the other vehicle, as well as the location of the accident. Although emotions are bound to be flying after a collision, remember how important it is not to mention fault to the other driver or police. Do your best to be polite and discuss only the necessary information.

Don’t forget to call Direct Paint & Collision if you need a tow, auto body repair, or a loaner vehicle.

Accidents Happen: 2013 PA Crash Statistics [Infographic]

What are drivers in Pennsylvania hitting the most? Take a look at the stats from last year’s crashes.

PA Crashes with Roadside Objects

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After reviewing some data from PennDOT’s 2013 Pennsylvania Crash Facts & Statistics Book, it’s clear that Pennsylvania drivers face many roadblocks.

We used 2013′s data to create this infographic, depicting what drivers hit most.

Other PennDOT stats:

On Average in Pennsylvania:

  • Each day 340 reportable traffic crashes occurred (about 14 crashes every hour).
  • Each day 3 persons were killed in reportable traffic crashes (one death every 7 hours).
  • Each day 228 persons were injured in reportable crashes (about 9 injuries every hour).

Based on Pennsylvania’s 2013 population (12,773,801 people):

  • 1 out of every 45 people was involved in a reportable traffic crash.
  • 1 out of every 10,574 people was killed in a reportable traffic crash.
  • 1 out of every 154 people was injured in a reportable traffic crash.

At Direct Paint, we urge all PA drivers to use caution on the road. We also recommend keeping an accident checklist in your car in case of emergency. Sign Up for Our Newsletter & Download the Direct Paint & Collision Accident Checklist.

 

PA Drivers: Expect Delays on the Blue Route

I-476_signs_on_Ridge_PikeAccording to PennDOT, construction teams will be resurfacing different deteriorated areas of I-476 over the next two months.

This project began in our area on Sunday, August 10th. Parts of the Blue Route in Haverford and Radnor townships, Lower Merion township, Delaware County, and Montgomery County are among the designated construction spots.

This week specifically, crews will be resurfacing I-476 between I-76 and Lancaster Avenue (Route 30) as well as between West Chester Pike and Montgomery Avenue. The majority of work will be happening on weeknights between 9 pm and 5 am, so motorists can expect lane closures and delays during that time.

The Haverford Patch also relayed the other construction areas you can beware of until late September:

  • Northbound travel lanes between the Route 3 (West Chester Pike) and U.S. Route 30 (Lancaster Avenue) interchanges in Delaware County;
  • Northbound right lane from the Delaware County line to the Montgomery Avenue overpass, just south of the Interstate 76 Interchange in Montgomery County;
  • Northbound middle lane at the Montgomery Avenue overpass in Montgomery County;
  • Southbound right lane from the County Line Road overpass to the Route 30 (Lancaster Avenue) Interchange in Delaware County;
  • Southbound middle and right lanes from just south of the Marple Road overpass to the Route 3 (West Chester Pike) Interchange in Delaware County;
  • Southbound middle lane at Marple Road in Delaware County; and
  • Southbound acceleration lane and right lane from the Interstate 76 East on-ramp to the Delaware County line.

If you would like to check the status of I-476 or any other major highways before hitting the road, you can do so for free at 511PA.com.

Maintenance for your Next Vacation

people-23789_640Now that it’s summer, there is one thing on all of our minds: vacation. While vacations are something we look forward to all year, they can also be pretty rough on our cars. That’s why we’ve compiled some simple maintenance tips you use before you leave. The following will help to keep you on track during your travels:

  • Search your battery for corrosion and consider replacing if more than 3 years old.
  • Check your oil and change if needed. Your owner’s manual can tell you often you need to change the oil.
  • Look for even wearing, correct air pressure, and plenty of tread depth on your tires.
  • Assess the conditions of your wiper blades and wiper fluid. Typically, wiper blades have a lifespan of about one year.
  • Be sure you have your spare tire in the vehicle, and that it is properly inflated. Also, you’ll need the proper tools should you have to use it.

We hope these tips help you to better enjoy your vacation. Imagine how much fun having car trouble with a car full of kids on the way to the shore would be…or not.

If you do encounter trouble on the road, we offer towing and auto body work.

New Study Says Young Drivers Still Don’t Wear Seat Belts

car-44127_640A study produced by the Governors Highway Association in Washington D.C. shows that there has been a nationwide increase in teenaged drivers fatally injured while not wearing a seat belt. In Pennsylvania, 106 teenagers were killed in car accidents in 2012. Of that 106, 92 were not wearing seat belts.

Nationwide that same year, more than 51 percent of teen drivers killed in fatal accidents were not wearing seat belts. Since 2010, this number has been on the rise. More than 60 percent of passengers killed weren’t wearing seat belts. However, the percentage of adults 20 and over killed while not wearing seat belts was less than half.

In the United States, car crashes are still the number one cause of death for teenagers. Although the number of fatal car crashes has dropped dramatically in the past decade, the number of teens riding without seat belts involved in those crashes has risen. This fact alone says something serious about how important seat belts are to our safety — and the safety of our children.

However, this group did credit Pennsylvania as one of the 12 states with increased efforts to encourage teen drivers to buckle up. Some of these efforts include education initiatives and ticketing individuals who ride in a car unbuckled. Most notably, the group mentioned the three-week campaign called, “Teen Seat Belt Mobilization.” During this campaign, there is serious educational outreach followed by heightened legal enforcement. This campaign was repeated in 2013 and 2014.

For more information about this study, check out the article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Turnpike Commission Warns About E-ZPass Phishing Scam

Courtesy of PA Turnpike Commission

Courtesy of PA Turnpike Commission

Many all over the country have been reporting an email going around alleging that they owe money for tolls. However, E-ZPass and the PA Turnpike Commission are teaming together to spread the word that this email is a fake, and likely part of a phishing scam.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, a phishing scam typically includes an email where scammers pose as a company and ask for personal information like social security or credit card numbers. This email string in particular was identified as a scam because many of the recipients were people who don’t own E-ZPasses.

The email includes a link to a supposed invoice. However, E-ZPass does not send invoices through email. Authorities recommend not clicking the link, and not opening the email at all if you’re able to identify it beforehand. Instead, just delete it. You can see a screenshot of the email to the right of this post.

While you should not take this email as an indication that you owe any money, you can reach a representative at 877-736-6727 if you have any concerns about your E-ZPass account.

Share this information with friends and family to ensure no one else falls victim to this scam.