Is it starting to feel like your car or truck’s out of alignment? (Signs include uneven tire wear, vibration, and a vehicle that pulls or drifts to one side while you’re driving on a straight-away.) Don’t wonder any longer! Print and redeem the coupon above for a FREE alignment check any of our four Butler Service Center locations. If your vehicle’s fine, you’ll be on your way with no cost. If an alignment is needed, and you decide to let us do the work, you’ll be entitled to $20.00 off the regular price. It’s a win-win! Call us to set up an appointment or just drop by. We’ll be ready for you!
If you read our blog earlier this summer about Tomy International’s claim that its new child car seat will alert you to problems with the seat, the seatbelt and the child attached to both, you probably picked up on our skepticism (read that blog here: https://butlerautogroup.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/mobile-ialert-app-sends-messages-from-your-childs-carseat-to-your-smartphone/). Tomy is just one of many companies marketing child safety seats or devices outfitted with sensors, some of which are tasked with reminding you that you’ve accidentally left your bundle of joy in the car, putting the babe at risk of suffering death by heat stroke.
Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is backing up our opinion that those seats should be used as a back-up reminder only. The agency recently released the results of study conducted at its request by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The results shows those “smart” seats are pretty unreliable and recommends you use more than one tactic for reminding yourself to remove Junior from the back seat, like placing your purse or briefcase back there, too. Here is the press release in its entirety:
Monday, July 30, 2012
Contact: Karen Aldana, 202-366-9550
Public Education and Information Campaigns on Child Heatstroke in Vehicles Essential to Preventing Future Tragedies
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) today released the results of a new study on aftermarket consumer products intended to prevent a child from being unintentionally left behind in a hot vehicle. The study found that currently available products are limited in their effectiveness and are unreliable as a stand-alone preventative measure for addressing child heatstroke tragedies.
“With summer temperatures hitting record highs around the country, child heatstroke is clearly an issue of national concern,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Public education is the best way to help parents and caregivers prevent tragic accidents and keep their children safe.”
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children under the age of 14. Data from the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences show 33 children died last year due to heatstroke – medically termed “hyperthermia” – while there were at least 49 deaths in 2010. As part of a comprehensive approach to this issue, NHTSA commissioned CHOP to evaluate a number of commercially available aftermarket products that connect to child restraints and are advertised to help parents and caregivers remember children who they may have unintentionally left behind in a parked vehicle.
The results of the study released today indicated limitations in currently available technology and products designed to detect children left behind in vehicles. Among a range of technological limitations are inconsistencies in arming sensitivity; variations in warning signal distance; potential interference with the devices’ notification signals from other electronic devices; susceptibility of the systems to misuse scenarios involving spilled liquid beverages; and disarming of the devices due to a slumping or otherwise out-of-position child.
In addition, many of the products required extensive efforts by parents and caregivers to set-up, monitor, and operate, which could give parents and caregivers using the devices a false sense of security. The technologies would also not address the 20-40 percent of children who are killed when they gain access to the vehicle without an adult present or are not in child restraints, since the devices are child restraint based.
“Everything we know about child heatstroke in motor vehicles is that this can happen to anyone from any walk of life – and the majority of these cases are accidental tragedies that can strike even the most loving and conscientious parents,” said NHTSA Administrator David L. Strickland. “While many of these products are well intended, we cannot recommend parents and caregivers rely on technology to prevent these events from occurring.”
NHTSA strongly urges parents and caregivers to take the following safety precautions and ask themselves, “Where’s baby? Look before you lock” as part of its national campaign to address this issue:
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away;
- Ask the childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected;
- Do things that serve as a reminder a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a cell phone, purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat; and,
- Teach children a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach.
NHTSA also urges community members who see a child alone in a vehicle to immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. The child should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled with water if in distress.
Read the CHOP report on technology to prevent heat stroke to children in motor vehicles.
To learn more about NHTSA’s “Where’s baby? Look before you lock.” campaign, visit www.SaferCar.gov/heatstroke.
A new study by the Australian Association for Motor Insurers (AAMI) finds that a significantly higher percentage of men than women rely on their GPS to get them where they need to go. The results show 64% of men leave the navigating up to their devices, as compared to only 50% of women.
The numbers don’t surprise us, and not because we believe the stereotype that says men won’t ask for directions (…even though we’ve never witnessed it. Even Reuben Aitchison, the Corporate Affairs Manager for AAMI, admits the male desire to find one’s way by one’s self is “a point of honour, sometimes known as stubborness.”) Our opinion is that men just find the technology cool. So we conducted an informal survey that confirmed our suspicions. The guys who love their GPS say they don’t need it to get around so much as they think it’s a kick to play with. And even though they were quick to point out that GPS directions are not always dependable (which may be why women are less likely to use them), we have to give guys props for attempting to make the trip as fun as possible.
How important is your GPS? Is it your primary means of navigation? Or do you have a map handy, just in case?
Butler Auto Group is proud to be one of five Jackson County businesses named to Oregon Business Magazine’s annual list of the ‘Top 150 Private Companies’. The list published in the July 2012 edition ranks Butler as 114th among companies that claim less than $50-million dollars a year in revenue. That’s ten spots higher than last year. Butler has been a regular on the ‘Top 150’ list since 2000. Thank you to everyone who helped us get – and stay – there!
Congratulations go out to the handful of other Jackson County firms that made the rankings. They include Harry and David Holdings (#20), Sherm’s Thunderbird Market (#41), Combined Transport (#68), and Cascade Wood Products (#104). Klamath County window and door manufacturer Jeld-Wen hangs on to the top spot.
Every morning on the way to work at Butler Auto I pass at least two panhandlers upon entry into Ashland. They are usually male; One a young man, the other much older, both appearing to have full physical capacity. Both dress in jeans and sweatshirt – possibly dirty, maybe just worn – and hold pieces of cardboard upon which requests for help, presumably financial, are handwritten.
As both men set up camp near the end of Interstate 5’s exit 19 off-ramp I’ve come to think of them as “greeters”. I’ve been making the drive to Ashland for a year and a half now which means both gentlemen have become a daily presence in my life. And that’s where the dilemma kicks in. By nature, I am compassionate to a fault. My philosophy has always been that it’s not my place to judge a person’s circumstances, but rather to help a fellow human being whenever possible. So, in my travels throughout the Rogue Valley I have often shared dollar bills, spare change, bagged carrots or apple slices, and even heart-shaped sugar cookies baked as Valentines for co-workers (in the winter months I carry spare pairs of stretchy knit mittens as my heart breaks at the thought of someone being cold). At least one of the Ashland “greeters” has benefited from such offerings on more than one occasion.
But, when does the giving become enough? Undoubtedly by now, the “greeters” are as familiar with my face as I am with theirs. On my part, that familiarity leads to uncomfortable feelings of guilt each time I pass by without offering some sort of help. And the same thoughts echo in my head: Am I wrong to deny them some sort of assistance? What is my responsibility? What is theirs? Do I smile and acknowledge them? What if they don’t smile back? What if they’re offended? I so want to help… but, after seeing these guys day after day for nearly 19 months I have to ponder… what’s keeping them from helping themselves? At what point in my giving, I wonder, do I become a sucker?
I don’t think I’m alone in having such conflicted emotions. I believe most people are at heart generous and compassionate, and that many of us experience the emotional tension created by the desire to respond to a genuine need for help contrasted by the very real possibility of being scammed. Nobody wants to be taken for a ride.
Ultimately, though, I don’t see a resolution to this dilemma. I imagine my brief moment of daily emotional discomfort will continue as long as my commute follows the current route. And I’ll probably give in to the urge to toss a few quarters or piece of fruit to my “greeters” every once in a while, if only to quiet my mind. There are those who would say we should deny all forms of assistance to panhandlers for to give in to their requests is only to enable them. But, I can’t help but return to my value against judging. What do I know of another’s life circumstances? Who am I to decide who’s worthy of charity? When all is said and done, the bottom line is this: If the alternative is to risk failing to help another human being in the event of true need, I’d rather be a sucker.
That alert your smart phone just sounded? It’s a message from your child’s car seat. And no, we’re not kidding. Tomy International is touting a new child safety seat complete with sensors that monitor everything from proper seat installation to whether you accidentally left your kid in the car. Download the mobile IAlert app and, should your toddler’s seatbelt, among other things, come un-buckled, The First Years convertible carseat will, you guessed it, send you a message.
Tomy maintains that the app is not meant to be used while you’re driving. Motortrend.com quotes Greg Kilrea, the President of Tomy International, as saying, “Our mission is to help parents and caregivers keep kids safe by making our quality products easy to use and install and by building in features and functions that take some of the guesswork out of using infant gear properly.” But we’re skeptical. If the alert does sound while you and your kiddo are on the road, wouldn’t you want to check it? And wouldn’t the mere act of doing so take your eyes off the road, thereby putting you and your wee one more at risk of crashing? And not just crashing but crashing while something’s wrong with the car seat that’s designed to keep your kid safe. Are we missing something here?
Maybe so. Maybe most drivers would be conscientious enough to pull off the road before glancing at their phone. Maybe most parents would find the IAlert app beneficial. But, let’s face it, if you need a car seat sensor to remind you you left your kid in the car, you’ve got bigger distraction problems. And no, there’s no app for that.
(If you’d rather do things the old-fashioned way, the Jackson County Sheriff’s office will check your child’s car seat for proper installation free of charge:
Because we in the Rogue Valley live so close to California news that the Golden State had banned the use of all hand-held cell phones by drivers a few years back made local headlines. Not long after, Oregon followed suit with a similar ban. But what about cell phone laws in other states? Washington and Nevada also ban the use of hand-held devices on the road. But the rules radically change the further east you go. Before traveling by car this summer, take some time to check the legalities of using your cell behind the wheel at all locations between home and your destination as some city regulations differ from those of the state. And then, even if the laws do allow you to use your phone, consider imposing a ban of your own. After all, the ultimate measure of any good road trip is that you return safely home.
Cell phone laws by state: http://www.iihs.org/laws/cellphonelaws.aspx
Summer’s a’comin’! So, it’s time again to treat your vehicle to a little TLC. Last November, we posted a list of everything you might need to tackle winter driving conditions. Now that the studded and snow tires have (hopefully) been removed, here’s how to travel worry free into the warmer months:
1. Check tires. Remove and store your winter tires, and rotate all-season radials.
2. Check tire pressure. And check again. Because air pressure increases with temperature you’ll want to check your tire pressure more frequently during the summer months.
3. Check brakes for noise. You’re looking for grinding, squealing, screeching or chatter. Excessive amounts of any or all mean it’s time to invest in new ones.
4. Replace windshield wiper blades. They took a beating over the winter.
5. Wash it! And not just the parts you can see. Spray the underbody and undersides of both bumpers to get rid of build-up. As for the body, wash it in the shade. Then wax it. But wait until it’s completely dry before doing so.
6. Apply “sunscreen”. Hours in the sun can result in the cracking of any vinyl surface or the fading of cloth. Apply a protectant… reapply when needed.
7. Clean – and clean OUT – the interior. You don’t want your old trash blowing around when it’s finally warm enough to drive with the windows down.
8. Change the oil. Consider synthetics… they’re specifically designed for warm weather engine protection.
9. Check all fluids. That means brake, transmission, coolant, power steering and windshield washer fluid. Replace, or refill, to proper levels.
10. Test the AC.
11. Examine belts and hoses for wear or deterioration.
12. Consider assembling a car care kit, if you don’t already have one. Include a couple large bottles of water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit. Maybe throw in a blanket, just in case.
Finally, be aware that heat often makes people uncomfortable and thus, irritated. Irritated drivers tend to be impatient and less apt to pay attention. Give drivers their space and stay alert.
Now all that’s left to do is plan a road trip! Happy travels!
(To read up on Winter Driving Preparations, visit: https://butlerautogroup.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/oh-no-snow-everything-you-and-your-vehicle-need-for-winter-driving/)
We’ve caught Pintrest fever! Won’t you join us? http://pinterest.com/butlerauto/