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Red Light Running Deaths Hit 10 Year High

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug 29, 2019) - More than two people are killed every day on U.S. roads by impatient and reckless drivers blowing through red lights, according to data analysis performed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The most recent crash data available shows 939 people were killed in red light running crashes in 2017 — a 10-year high and a 28% increase since 2012. With the number of red light running crashes on the rise, AAA calls for drivers to use caution when approaching signalized intersections, and for pedestrians and cyclists to stay alert when crossing the street.

According to the AAA Foundation:

28% of crash deaths that occur at signalized intersections are the result of a driver running through a red light.

Per capita, Arizona has the highest rate of red light running fatalities while New Hampshire has the lowest rate.

Nearly half (46%) of those killed in red light running crashes were passengers or people in other vehicles and more than 5% were pedestrians or cyclists. Just over 35% of those killed were the drivers who ran the red light.

“Drivers who decide to run a red light when they could have stopped safely are making a reckless choice that puts other road users in danger,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The data shows that red light running continues to be a traffic safety challenge. All road safety stakeholders must work together to change behavior and identify effective countermeasures.”

According to the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, 85% of drivers view red light running as very dangerous, yet nearly one in three say they blew through a red light within the past 30 days when they could have stopped safely. More than 2 in 5 drivers also say it is unlikely they’ll be stopped by police for running a red light. Nevertheless, it’s against the law and if a driver is involved in a deadly crash, it could send them to jail.

While enforcement is the best way to get drivers to comply with any law, it is impossible for police to be at every intersection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that when properly implemented, red light cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate of large cities by 21% and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 14%.

“Deaths caused by red light running are on the rise,” said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS Vice President for Research. “Cameras increase the odds that violators will get caught, and well-publicized camera programs discourage would-be violators from taking those odds. Camera enforcement is a proven way to reduce red light running and save lives.”

Preventative Maintenance More Important As Vehicles Age

The average age of vehicles on the road is rising, and as cars get older, they need more service and repair. The non-profit Car Care Council recommends that motorists who own an older car, truck or SUV become more diligent about preventative maintenance.

“With the average vehicle age exceeding 11.5 years, the chance of a breakdown or service issue on an older vehicle is much greater,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “The Car Care Council urges drivers of older vehicles to implement a preventative maintenance plan for their vehicle to minimize the chances of a roadside breakdown and to also help their vehicle run more efficiently and economically.” According to Experian Automotive, the average age of passenger vehicles on the road is rising, up from 11.29 years in the first quarter of 2015 to 11.61 years in 2019.

The most common maintenance procedures to keep a car operating safely and reliably, while maintaining its long-term value, involve checking the oil, filters and fluids, the belts and hoses, brakes, tires and air conditioning. An annual tune-up and wheel alignment are also recommended.

Porsche Expands New Mobility Models 'Passport' & 'Drive' To More North American Cities

Atlanta pilot grows to include Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego, Toronto

ATLANTA, Aug. 29, 2019 -- Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) is expanding on-demand access to the Porsche experience. Four new cities in North America will host Porsche Passport and Porsche Drive, which offer up to 20 current model variants from the German sports car maker for shorter-term enjoyment than a traditional lease or purchase. The programs are rolling out to Porsche dealers in the new markets after a successful pilot in Atlanta, which will continue but also be transitioned to local dealers.

Porsche Passport is a monthly subscription plan that offers members unlimited swaps between models at the touch of an app. Cars are delivered and picked up by concierge anywhere a customer chooses within their service area. All operating costs except fuel are included in the flat monthly fee - $2,100 (+ taxes and fees) for the "Launch" membership that includes eight model variants and $3,100 (+ taxes and fees) for the "Accelerate" level that adds 12 higher-performing variants to the menu.

Porsche Drive in the U.S. grew out of the Passport program to offer customers shorter commitments than a month, such as weekend getaways, date nights, or vacations. It is also app-based, with hourly (four-hour minimum), daily, and weekly usage options. As with Passport, the cars are delivered and picked up by concierge at the customer's preferred location – home, work, hotel, restaurant, or wherever specified.
"Why is Porsche creating new mobility models? Because consumers increasingly want more flexibility, more individual choice, and to have this on their mobile devices. We want these consumers to have the same superb level of Porsche experience that we provide for our customers who buy or lease," said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of PCNA.

"This innovative approach to the Porsche experience has already opened the door to an entirely new clientele. In our first year and a half, more than 80 percent of Passport members in the Atlanta pilot were not previous Porsche owners," Zellmer said.

Mopar-Powered Drivers Chasing History in NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge Title Fight at U.S. Nationals

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Aug. 27, 2019  --

Three-time defending champion James Daniels aims to extend winning streak to four

Dodge brand continues FCA's title sponsorship for 19th consecutive season of fan-favorite event

Current NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge entry list includes drivers from 12 states and two countries competing for $15,000 winner's purse

HEMI Challenge qualifying and eliminations scheduled for Aug. 30-31 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis

Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak drivers looking to repeat Factory Stock victory at U.S. Nationals

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Funny Car, Top Fuel drivers bring momentum to Indy

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Simulator "Dragstrip Showdown" fan contest continues at U.S. Nationals


Three-time and defending NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge champion James Daniels leads a group of 20 drivers at the popular NHRA Sportsman event during the iconic U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis Aug. 28 – Sept. 2. The balance of the field of competitors piloting Mopar-powered 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars will look to end Daniels' juggernaut of the event, now in its 19th consecutive year of sponsorship by FCA US LLC.

Daniels' run of three straight NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge victories in his Dodge Dart are the most consecutive wins by any driver, and the 23-year-old Pennsylvania native is looking to continue his quest to catch six-time event winner Charlie Westcott, Jr. Daniels and Westcott are also part of the only father-son combinations to win the event. Charlie Westcott, Sr. and Jim Daniels, James' father, won the HEMI Challenge race in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

DESC

COSTA MESA, Calif., Aug. 27, 2019 -- Some alerts on Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are so annoying or bothersome that many drivers disable the systems and may try to avoid them on future vehicle purchases, according to the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study,SM released today. This is a major concern for automakers keen to market these lucrative technologies and pave the way for more highly automated vehicles in the future.

"Automakers are spending lots of money on advanced technology development, but the constant alerts can confuse and frustrate drivers," said Kristin Kolodge, Executive Director of Driver Interaction & Human Machine Interface Research at J.D. Power. "The technology can't come across as a nagging parent; no one wants to be constantly told they aren't driving correctly."

A prime example of this is lane-keeping and centering systems. On average, 23% of customers with these systems complain that the alerts are annoying or bothersome. This ranges from just 8% for one domestic brand to more than 30% for a couple of import brands. For these owners, 61% sometimes disable the system, compared with just 21% of those that don't consider the alerts annoying or bothersome. Owners wanting the feature on their next vehicle ranges from 63% for those that consider the alerts annoying or bothersome to 91% for those who do not.

Kolodge also points out the significant differences across brands. "Some brands are succeeding at making their safety technology effective without being overbearing. Some are good at one aspect but weaker at another, and some are struggling with both. This is why one brand has 90% of its customers wanting lane-keeping/centering on their next vehicle, while another brand has just 59% of its customers saying the same thing."

Overall satisfaction with new-vehicle technology ranges widely across the vehicles in the study. The best-performing vehicle in the study is the Kia Stinger, scoring 834 (on a 1,000-point scale). The overall average is 781, with the lowest-scoring model achieving just 709.

The study, now in its fourth year, measures owners' experiences, usage and interaction with 38 driver-centric vehicle technologies at 90 days of ownership. The study provides clarity to auto manufacturers, insurance carriers, telecommunications companies and consumer electronic companies regarding ways to minimize the gap between driver experience and technology feature execution. The major technology categories analyzed in the study are entertainment and connectivity; collision protection; comfort and convenience; driving assistance; smartphone mirroring; and navigation.

National Gas Price Average for Labor Day on Track to Be Cheapest in Three Years

At $2.59, the national gas price average is poised to be potentially the cheapest Labor Day weekend average in three years. Today’s average is already nearly a quarter cheaper than during last year’s holiday ($2.83) and four cents cheaper than 2017’s Labor Day ($2.63).

“For Americans who bookend summer with road trips, they will find gas prices this coming weekend that are cheaper than this past Memorial Day and last year’s Labor Day holiday,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “At the start of the week, two-thirds of all states have gas price averages that are nearly a quarter cheaper than last year.”

While some states may see gas prices increase by a few pennies ahead of the holiday weekend, which isn’t atypical, any jumps will be short-term.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest yearly decreases: Idaho (-43 cents), Louisiana (-38 cents), Indiana (-38 cents), Florida (-36 cents), Kentucky (-35 cents), Delaware (-35 cents), Utah (-35 cents), Mississippi (-35 cents), Alaska (-34 cents) and Oklahoma (-34 cents).
The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets: Hawaii ($3.64), California ($3.57), Washington ($3.21), Nevada ($3.13), Oregon ($3.05), Alaska ($3.00), Utah ($2.85), Idaho ($2.82), Arizona ($2.81) and New York ($2.79).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices are cheaper across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states by as much as a nickel, but that large drop only happened for one state: North Carolina (-5 cents). New Jersey (-4 cents) saw the second largest decline followed by these four states with a three-cent weekly decrease: Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Maryland. But the real savings for motorists in region is compared to this time last year – gas prices are at least 19 cents cheaper. Heading into Labor Day weekend last year, state gas price averages ranged from $2.59 – $3.03 whereas this year they are $2.29 – $2.79.

Despite a 1% dip in regional refinery utilization, gasoline stocks built by 781,000 bbl, per the Energy Information Administration (EIA). This is the fourth straight week that utilization fell, yet three straight weeks of stock increases. As previously reported, imports are easing concerns related to the decline in utilization due to the pending closure of a regional refinery. Stocks sit at a nearly 1 million bbl deficit compared to this time last year.

Honda Announces New Passenger Front Airbag Design to Reduce Traffic Injuries and Fatalities in Wider Variety of Frontal Collisions

New airbag development led by U.S. engineers at Honda R&D center in Ohio

New design focuses on enhancing protection of front passengers in angled front crashes

Effort to advance airbag technology reflects Honda "Safety for Everyone" initiative

RAYMOND, Ohio, Aug. 23, 2019 -- Honda today announced the development of an innovative new passenger front airbag technology designed to better protect occupants in a wide range of frontal collision scenarios, including angled crashes between vehicles or a vehicle and another object. Honda plans to begin applying its advanced airbag design to new products in the United States in 2020.

Development and testing of the new airbag was led by engineers at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. in Ohio in partnership with Autoliv, one of the company's safety systems suppliers. The new design is based on Honda's commitment to developing technologies that better protect vehicle occupants in a wide range of crash scenarios. In 2017, upwards of 37,000 people lost their lives on U.S. roadways as a result of motor vehicle traffic crashes, a slight decrease from the previous two years, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

"This new airbag technology represents Honda's continuing effort to advance safety performance in a wider variety of crash scenarios and reflects the innovative thinking that our engineers are bringing to the challenge of reducing traffic injuries and fatalities," said Jim Keller, President of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. "Guided by Honda's 'Safety for Everyone' commitment, our engineers recognize that their work on this type of breakthrough safety technology will have far-reaching effects on peoples' lives for many years to come."

CarGurus Announces 2019 Best Used Car Award Winners

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 8, 2019 -- CarGurus (Nasdaq: CARG), a leading online automotive marketplace, today announced the winners of its third annual Best Used Car Awards. The 2019 awards identify the best recent-year used models across sixteen body style categories based on the company's analysis of long-term projected value retention, driver satisfaction, expert reviews, and both model popularity and availability.

"CarGurus knows that research is the bedrock of a great car-buying experience and we hope that our third annual Best Used Car Awards help today's car shoppers in that process," said Matt Smith, Senior Editor at CarGurus. "These award-winning vehicles are popular, plentiful, well-reviewed and—based on our projections—should retain their value for years to come. For people shopping for a great used car, these vehicles are certainly worth considering."


The 2019 Best Used Car Awards recipients and finalists are:

Mercedes-Benz Debuts New Augmented Reality Technology at 2019 U.S. Open

ATLANTA, Aug. 22, 2019 -- Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) today announced an all-new Augmented Reality (AR) experience featuring 2017 U.S. Open champion and Mercedes-Benz Ambassador Sloane Stephens. The interactive consumer exhibition will debut at this year's U.S. Open in which the brand is also an official sponsor. From August 21 through September 8, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, NY, spectators can try their hand at a virtual lesson from the tennis pro as she competes in real life on the court. Following the U.S. Open, on September 15, Mercedes-Benz' AR activation will travel to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, available during the first Atlanta Falcons home game of the season featuring Falcons quarterback and Mercedes-Benz Ambassador, Matt Ryan.

Mercedes-Benz developed a new kind of AR technology experience by capturing the style and play of beloved athlete Sloane Stephens and translating the footage into AR features, with no mobile device target or facial recognition software needed. To capture Sloane's superior performance in high quality, Mercedes-Benz recorded the 2017 U.S. Open Champion in front of a green screen as an alpha-channel enabled video, which creates an illusion mimicking her real-life behaviors and motions.

To activate the game, guests approach the tennis court backdrop and verbally ask, "Hey Mercedes, teach me to play like Sloane," and she will appear in the game. Guests will be fully immersed in court side play with an untethered racquet in hand to experience a highly personalized and sometimes comical, one-on-one tennis lesson, learning form and precision from the tennis superstar.

Getting Your Car Ready for School

It’s back-to-school time and the Car Care Council wants to help families get their vehicles ready for car pools, playdates, soccer games and more. An informative new video from the non-profit organization provides motorists a with a five-point checklist to be performed before the start of the school year.

“There is always a lot to do before school starts and making sure your vehicle is running safely and efficiently should be at the top of that ‘to-do’ list,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Our new back-to-school video offers maintenance and safety tips to help parents and their precious passengers travel safely to and from school and all kinds of activities.”

Produced in conjunction with AutoNetTV (ANTV), the Car Care Council’s Back to School video highlights five areas that should be checked to make sure vehicles are kid-safe and road ready:

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