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.

What Causes Rust

rust-218097_640Chances are, you’ll see rust on your car at least once in your life. If left unattended, this rust will spread and cause your vehicle serious damage. Of course, you’ll want to find an auto body shop that performs rust repair in Delaware County once it’s seen. However, you’ll probably also wonder what caused the rust in the first place and how you can prevent it.

Common Causes of Rust

Weather

Most of us are aware that rust forms after metal is exposed to the rain or sun. This means that the bumpers, engine, trunk, and frame are particularly susceptible to rust. However, you should also be aware that any areas on the body where the paint is chipped or scratched are likely to rust as well. In these cases, the rust could cause structural damage — a repair best left to the professionals. You can trust us with your auto body rust repair in Havertown.

Salt

If you live in a coastal region, salt is definitely a major factor when it comes to potential car rusting. That sea air is bound to leave the particles all over the surface of your car, and they will slowly eat away at your paint job. But, don’t think you’re safe just because you live a distance from the nearest body of water. Road salt can be just as detrimental when it comes to rusting.

Neglect

No surprise; if you don’t take care of your car, it will rust. You should remember to clean it regularly, especially if there may be salt stuck to the exterior. Rain water will not be enough to protect it from rusting. Additionally, do your best to keep your automobile out of extreme weather by parking in a garage.

Auto Body Rust Repair Delaware County

Don’t let rust compromise the structure of your car. Although it may seem like no big deal, rust can spread and actually make driving dangerous. At the first sign of rusting, make an appointment at an auto body rust repair shop — like Direct Paint and Collision in Havertown, PA.

It’s a Bad Commuting Summer for the Tri-State Area

Philadelphia_skyline_sunsetSummer 2014 is shaping up to be a difficult one for commuters all over the Tri-State area. Between construction on I-95 in Pennsylvania, the temporary closing of the I-495 bridge in Delaware, and work on the Ben Franklin Bridge, commuters just can’t catch a break.

What’s worse, all of this congestion will force more people onto public transportation. It’s safe to say you can expect packed and delayed trains for some time, especially for those coming from Jersey.

The Delaware Port Authority and PATCO are replacing train tracks on the PATCO Speedline for the first time since the 1980′s while simultaneously working on electric lines that in some cases were installed in the 1930′s. This is all part of the $103 million overhaul that began back in February.

The southbound tracks as well as a few lanes on the Ben Franklin Bridge are now closed, as you may have noticed during your own commute. When this is finished, the same work will be done to the northbound side. All in all, this construction is expected to last for four months.

For the time being, officials are recommending that Jersey commuters telecommute as much as possible or try some of the alternate routes like the Betsy Ross Bridge. That is, if you haven’t already found a route you’re comfortable with. While all bosses should be advised that delays are expected, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Direct Paint and Collision wishes you the best on your daily commute!

Were you a Victim of Hail Damage?

downloadIt will probably be a while before any of us forget the images of golf-ball-sized hail that plagued parts of Pennsylvania just last month. These chunks of ice suddenly came crashing down, leaving a decent amount of destruction in their wake.

In Allentown and surrounding areas, there was enough hail to require plowing. Reading hail totaled over 2″ in some places. Such extensive hailing was shocking — especially for a May thunderstorm!

The exact numbers for car damage won’t be known for some time because many people wait before making a claim to insurance. However, auto body shops are now packed with vehicles awaiting windshield and dent repair. While the volume of calls isn’t nearly as bad as the hail storm a few years back, business is definitely booming more than usual.

If your vehicle was damaged by hail, you’re probably more concerned with cost. The good news is most major insurance companies consider hail damage “an act of nature,” meaning it’s covered under many comprehensive plans. Additionally, we here at Direct Paint perform paintless dent repair whenever possible so that your vehicle can retain its factory finish. Many auto body shops prefer to replace damaged panels and repaint, which reduces the value of your vehicle.

For more information about hail damage and repairs, visit our page.

Delaware County Car Thefts

Silver_Bracelet,_Orange_4x6Some Delaware County residents recently fell victim to car thefts right outside their homes. A man from Upper Providence allegedly stole credit cards, cash, a Pandora bracelet, and even Phillies tickets from parked cars last weekend.

Police then learned that those stolen credit cards had been used at Red Box, CVS, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Giant locations in Prospect Park, Glenolden, and Aldan. They were able to secure surveillance footage from these venues and released it to the Daily Times. Soon, the police received calls identifying the suspect as Dustin Allen Bielawski.

When police approached Bielawski’s apartment, the same dark colored Jeep seen leaving the locations was parked in the driveway. Additionally, the same hat the suspect was wearing in the video was sitting out in plain view. After they knocked on the door, things did not get much easier for Bielawski.

He answered the door, and on the table next to where he had been sitting were the two stolen Phillies tickets. Police confiscated these, the credit card receipts, and subsequently learned he had pawned the Pandora bracelet (which was recovered). Bielawski was arraigned Thursday morning for several crimes including theft from a motor vehicle. He was taken to Delaware County Prison in lieu of bail.

We hope that a theft so close to home reminds all of our customers to keep their cars locked, and not to leave any valuables in a vehicle overnight!

 

Does Speeding Really Get You There Faster?

speedingYou woke up late, it’s raining, or you hit traffic — whatever the reason, you’re running behind schedule and are in a hurry. The road opens up and you’re ready to hit the gas, but will speeding actually benefit your commute?

Is risking a traffic ticket or car accident worth going a few miles over the speed limit? In hindsight, most of us would probably agree that it isn’t. However, speeding can be pretty tempting in the moment. Luckily, AAA did some math that will definitely make us think twice in the future.

The following formulas are based on a 30 mile trip at a constant speed:

55 miles per hour = 32.7 minutes
65 miles per hour = 27.7 minutes (5 minutes saved)
75 miles per hour = 24 minutes (8.7 minutes saved)

Since most commutes require stops at signs and lights, you’re probably saving even less time. This really makes you consider if saving 8 minutes is worth a few hundred dollars in speeding fines. Additionally, speeding is involved in 33% of all fatal car accidents. When we drive faster, we reduce our reaction time and the likelihood we can avoid a potential crash.

Will this math make you rethink your speedy driving?

Electric Vehicle Drivers, Rejoice!

electric vehicleCongratulations to all of our local electric vehicle drivers, your commute just got much more convenient. In honor of Earth Day last month, the PA Turnpike Commission installed two Blink Level II EV charging stations at two different turnpike service stations.

The first is at the Bowmansville Service Plaza in Lancaster County, and the second is nearby at the King of Prussia Service Plaza at milepost 290. Each EV charging station provides 220 volts with 32 amps of power. The charging cost is $1 per hour for Blink members and $2 an hour for customers using a credit card. To start a charging session, you can call a toll-free number to charge your credit or simply use your Blink InCard. If you don’t have a Blink InCard, you can get one for free online.

The Haverford Patch reported that the PA Turnpike will eventually install EV charging stations at all 17 service plazas. Additionally, the Turnpike Commission is looking into other types of alternative fuel including compressed natural gas (CNG). Turnpike COO Craig Shuey reported that Mack Truck of Macungie, PA built a CNG-fueled truck to lease to the Turnpike for just $1 a year.

Are you excited that our state is moving toward reducing vehicle pollution? How will these stations affect commuting for EV drivers? Give us your opinion below!

Is Your Check Engine Light Trying to Warn You?

check engine lightWhat do you do when your “check engine” light flicks on? If we’re being honest, a lot of the time you ignore it. You think to yourself, “the last time I got this checked out, it cost a lot of money.” What you probably haven’t considered is the fact that the longer you wait, the more expensive your repair will be.

The truth is, many major engine problems come from neglecting much smaller, cheaper repairs. By looking into your check engine light early on, you’ll probably save yourself a lot of money, time, and aggravation. Below are some of the most expensive repairs reported by CarMD’s Vehicle Health reported by Philly.com. And get this, they could have been prevented by routine maintenance.

1. Replace Ignition Coils and Spark Plugs

When a spark plug needs replacing, it will ignite your check engine light. While you can probably perform a simple spark plug replacement yourself for under $10, letting it go will cause serious damage to your ignition coil. This repair can cost over $400, and it will seem more expensive once you realize how easily that sum could have been avoided.

2. Replace Mass Air Flow Sensor

Right off the bat, we’ll tell you that this repair is expensive. And there was no simple trick you could have done to avoid the $420 cost. However, avoiding the repair will be much more expensive even if you don’t take your car to the mechanic. The Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor controls the air entering your engine and decides how much fuel needs to be injected. When your MAF Sensor is bad, your fuel economy diminishes and could be wasting up to a fourth of every gallon of gas. While $420 seems like a lot, imagine how much gas money you’ll be wasting by letting this repair go for a month or two, or longer.

3. Replace Catalytic Convertor(s)

This is another costly repair caused by the cheapest replacements in the book — the spark plugs and spark plug wires. However, this item will cost you upwards of $1,000. The catalytic converter reduces the toxins in your car’s emissions before they leave the exhaust system. These pieces are very expensive, which is why they’re one of the most commonly stolen car parts. According to Philly.com, this repair is responsible for 6% of check engine lights. Just think, ignoring a $10 repair could cost you $1,000.

We hope this post comes to mind the next time you see a light on your dashboard. Never ignore what your car is trying to tell you, especially if you need collision repair.

Automakers Now Required to Install Rearview Cameras

automobile havertown paThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a new rule that will raise safety standards for all vehicles built beginning May 1, 2018. Every car, van, truck, and SUV will be made with rear-view visibility systems giving the driver a field of vision measuring at least 10 by 20 feet. The proposal becomes final May 30, 2014.

The new rule comes after heartfelt urging by groups and families affected by back-over accidents. The most memorable of which involved children. The Boston Globe quotes back-over accidents as responsible for 210 death and 15,000 injuries each year. The victims of these accidents tend to be children under the age of 5 or adults over the age of 70. The rule is part of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act and is expected to save 13 to 15 lives each year. By 2054, NHTSA estimates it could save up to 69 lives a year. The act is named after a 2-year-old boy who was backed-over by his father in their driveway in 2002.

Congress originally intended the rule to be in effect by 2011, but it was held up by disagreements over the details. However, a team of car safety advocates and parents sued the Obama Administration in September to get the ball rolling.

At Direct Paint, we always believe in safety first. For more information about safe driving, read our dangerous driving habits post.