Do Red Light Cameras Reduce Accidents?

2019-01-30 08:48:35

auto insurance repairs Falconer

Red light runners cause over 700 fatalities every year. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 

Violators make the intersection dangerous for everyone. This includes people on foot, motorcycles, bicycles, and in other cars. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), over half the victims killed in crashes caused by red-light runners were not in the violator's vehicle.

Many cities have adopted red light cameras in attempts to reduce red light accidents. If a driver runs a red, it triggers the device to record a picture and video using radar. Then the violator receives a citation in the mail.

Red light camera systems were developed in the Netherlands in the 1960's. They weren't used in the US until New York City adopted them in 1993.

Do Red Light Cameras Make Intersections Safer?

It depends on who you ask. Of course, the private companies that make millions off the systems validate their safety. Some studies have revealed a decrease in accidents at intersections with cameras and even a "spillover" effect of safer no-camera intersections nearby. Yet opponents argue that they are simply a revenue generator with no real benefits. Drivers hate them so much that some political candidates have promised to end red light camera enforcement as a major pillar of their campaign.

Red Light Cameras and Short Yellow Lights?

It was revealed that a red light enforcement company had shortened yellow light duration in Chicago. This turned out to be a dangerous combination. Since drivers were afraid of getting tickets, they began stopping more abruptly when the light turned yellow. Some city officials believe this caused an uptick in rear-end crashes. One driver who protested a citation discovered that the city required yellow lights to be at least three seconds. Judges threw thousands of tickets out where the video showed that the yellow light was less than three seconds.

Getting Rid of Cameras

Miami recently stopped using red light cameras it had been using since 2010. City commissioners—who voted unanimously to discontinue the program—said they wanted to reduce the financial burden on motorists.

Victim advocates disagreed with the decision as did Miami's police union. The union pointed out that they use the photos and videos in crime investigations.

Miami will miss out on a lot of revenue. It was set to rake in $10.5 million dollars from red light violations this year. The company who owns and operates the cameras would have received about 40% of that total.

Do you believe that red light camera enforcement makes communities safer? The auto service team at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below.

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Military Vehicles on the Road Today

2019-01-23 08:45:50

auto service Falconer

Jeep has become a household name for four-wheelers who use them to scale mountains and maneuver over rough terrain. The Mercedes Benz G wagon is another all-terrain vehicle that has become an exceptionally popular luxury SUV. And the Hummer is known for its ominous presence on the road. All three of these cars have a few things in common, but today we’re going to get a little insight on the vital roles each of these smartly-designed vehicles played in war.

The Car That Won World War II

Let us start with Jeep. Back in the heart of World War II, Jeep SUVs were being produced by both Willys-Overland and Ford Motor Company. They were each producing a similar model of the Jeep and both models were made solely for military purposes. This means that not a single Jeep at the time was built for civilian drivers. War officers and commanders relied on the Jeep continually. Jeeps sent to battle were outfitted with huge, mounted rifles, Jeeps with flat bed rears were used to convey goods and wounded soldiers, and Jeeps with extra armor carried important personnel to and from dangerous battle zones. The Jeep was an invaluable asset for troops.

From Military Transport to Suburban Status Symbol

As mentioned above, today the Mercedes G Wagon is considered one of the relatively few luxurious SUVs on the road. Mercedes Benz has taken the big, boxy design and turned it into a modern, well-appointed SUV. But before the G Wagon became so showy, it also was playing a role in combat. What does the G stand for? Geländewagen. Gelandewagen in German translates to "cross-country vehicle." Mercedes engineered the solid G Wagon in the 1970s when the Shah of Iran ordered 20,000 vehicles that could maneuver over any terrain in any climate found anywhere in the world. The G Wagon is currently being used by 63 armies worldwide.

The Gulf War Desert Driver

Lastly is the Hummer which made its debut in 1983. The Pentagon offered $1 billion to AM General Corporation to create 55,000 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles also known as Humvees and Hummers. They were utilized in the war in Panama and also the Persian Gulf War. It was intended for transporting troops and cargo in areas away from active combat, but as the nature of warfare changed, it started being used in urban combat. The all-terrain vehicle is no longer used by the US military (production ended in 2010), but there are still many civilian Hummers still on the road.

Though you probably don't need to transport wounded soldiers in your auto, at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair we recognize that you use it for other vital tasks. We are dedicated to making sure your vehicle is always there to carry you through the everyday battles of life. To make an appointment at our Falconer service center, call us at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair.

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3 Tips For Traffic Court

2019-01-16 08:28:19 car repair Falconer

So you did your best to get out of a violation, but your charm and pleading didn't work. Don’t lose hope, tickets can be dismissed in court. There are several things you can do to improve your odds.

1. Request An Informal Meeting

This may sound crazy, but calling the officer and asking to meet to talk about the fine may work. You help pay the officer's salary, so don’t be afraid to ask to speak with him or her at a convenient time. Be sure to call during work hours at the police department phone number. (That's probably the only number you have, but if you have a cell number from a business card, you don't want to call late.)

If the officer grants your request, be prepared to justify why you should be let off the hook.

Depending on the violation, there are reasons you could be excused from breaking a traffic law. Maybe you crossed the double yellow line to avoid hitting an animal. Or you pulled over on the freeway because your automobile started making loud knocking noises.

Never say you didn't know what the speed limit was. This never works and it is your responsibility to know the speed limit and other traffic laws. 

Help the officer relate to you as a person. Be as respectful as possible. If this is your first offense, ask if you can go to traffic school to avoid having the violation put on your driving record. Let them know you are aware you made a mistake and that you are determined to make it up.

2. Delay The Court Appearance

Delaying the court case can be a successful strategy. This is done by calling the court clerk. Chat a bit by asking questions about the process. Once you have some familiarity with the clerk, ask for a continuance (delay). If the clerk agrees, you will have a few more weeks. You can always ask for another delay as you near that date. In a few weeks, ask again.

Don't be a nuisance for anyone at the court. Be polite and courteous. If you can delay your trial, it will be harder for the officer to remember you or the nature of your violation. This will help your chances. In fact, there is a possibility that the officer will not appear in court. In most cases, if this happens the judge dismisses the violation. This is not a guarantee because state laws vary. But the delay tactic is definitely worth a shot.

You will have two court appearances. The first appearance is for entering your plea. Show up on time dressed suitably. There is no need to wear a suit or a formal dress, but look presentable. It couldn’t hurt to come to another trial beforehand to gauge the level of formality. 

Never enter a plea of guilty. When the judge asks for your plea, candidly say, “I plead not guilty, your honor.” You will then be given a court date.

Once you have the court date, you can again use your charisma with the court clerk to try and delay the trial. Say you need time to prepare your defense.

3. Question The Citation

Study the details of the law you are accused of breaking. The state will have to prove that you violated at least one of the elements of the law. If they cannot prove that, the judge must let you off. 

For instance, if you were cited with distracted driving while using an electronic device, the state will have to prove that you really were using the device AND that you were distracted. Challenge them if you don’t think they have the proof.

Motorists can question the legitimacy of the stop. If you were pulled over for illegally crossing the center line, ask if a video exists.

If you have the time and can’t afford to have your car insurance go up, it is worth trying to fight your ticket in court.

Thanks for visiting the I-86 Truck & Auto Repair blog. We want to provide you with the highest quality automotive service in Falconer. You can reach us at 716-665-2501.

Disclaimer: I-86 Truck & Auto Repair does not condone deliberate illegal behavior behind the wheel. But if you believe you were cited unfairly, we wish you good luck in getting your ticket dismissed!

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Hydrophobic Windshield Coating Improves Visibility

2019-01-09 09:02:57 car repair Falconer

If you've ever been caught in a downpour while behind the wheel you know how perilous it can be. Your visibility is compromised while road conditions become dangerously slippery.

There are some preventative treatments you can take to help keep your windshield clear during torrential rain or wet snow. The first is to have reliable wiper blades and the second is to apply a hydrophobic glass coating.

Just as the name describes, hydrophobic glass repels water. Windshields treated with this sealant cause water to bead up more quickly so it doesn't block your view of the pavement and the traffic around you.

Hydrophobic glass coating not only helps when visibility is obstructed, it can increase the life of windshield wiper blades. It does this by minimizing the workload and smoothing out any imperfections in the glass. This curtails the friction your blades encounter.

Some auto owners use hydrophobic coating mainly because of its self-cleaning properties.

Another windshield coating that some car owners use is a hydrophilic coating. This coating pushes the water off in sheets and can chemically break down dirty water when it is exposed to the sun. This results in less grime left on your windshield. Hydrophilic coatings, however, will not improve your view of the road during a thunderstorm. That is why many auto owners choose hydrophobic coatings.

There is a range of prices for hydrophobic coating. DIY brands run anywhere between $50-$200. The effectiveness of the more affordable brands is the same as higher priced brands, but the coatings do not last as long and will wear off earlier.

Having a professional apply the coating will ensure that it is done properly, will be more effective, and last longer. Call I-86 Truck & Auto Repair for details about windshield coating services. Professional treatments are usually worth the extra cost. Do your vehicle (and yourself) a favor and apply some hydrophobic coating to your windshield.

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Slow Down! Watch Out For These 8 Small Town Speed Traps

2019-01-02 08:23:05

automotive maintenance and repair Falconer

Most Americans who have driven in rural areas are familiar with the shady "small town speed trap"— a stretch of road or relatively small location where local law enforcement unfairly targets drivers. Before we present our list, we want to assure you that I-86 Truck & Auto Repair does not advise motorists to travel at unsafe speeds. If you need quality automotive service, however, we invite you to drive safely to I-86 Truck & Auto Repair in Falconer and we will take care of you.

Here are 8 communities that warrant vigilant adherance to posted speed limits.

1. Waldo, Florida
Population 1,015

The community of Waldo straddles Highway 301 and covers a mere two square miles—but don't let its minuscule size fool you. The speed trap was deemed so nefarious that AAA decided to post warnings to auto owners. And the local police force (one officer?) does not have a reputation for mercy. A woman in labor reported that she was detained for more than a half hour after being nailed for speeding.

2. Cornersville, Tennessee
Population 1,000

"According to a state comptroller audit, the small town of 1,000 people, with roughly 200 homes, got about 50 percent of its revenue—nearly $250,000—from traffic citations, fines and fees."

3. St. Ann, Missouri
Population 13,020

The hustling St. Ann police force gloats of writing, on average, a ticket every hour, 24/7/365.

4. Mantua, Utah
Population 694

It is reported that one-third of the Mantua's $649,000 annual revenue comes from 2,000 hapless drivers nabbed for speeding on Highway 91 that runs through this very small Utah town.

5. Selma, Texas
Population 207

This small town procures about $168,000 annually from lead-footed drivers. If you do the math, you discover that this amounts to an amazing $800 for every resident.

6. Woodworth, Louisiana
Population 2,024

Though this community is infamous for its speed trap, apparently Woodworth police are expanding their repertoire of crafty sting techniques.

"Instead of stopping people for speeding, the new tactic is for the officer to sit on the side of the road with their lights flashing. If you do not get into the other lane, they stop you for improper passing an emergency vehicle."

7. Hopewell, Virginia
Population 22,196

"Hopewell's controversial 'million dollar mile' generated $1.6 million last year. It's the only program in the state to hire a dozen part-time workers to perform round-the-clock patrols on the interstate."

8. Haverford College, Pennsylvania
Population 48,498

With almost 50k residents, many individuals would consider this a medium-sized municipality, but due to its infamy, we decided to include it anyway.

The speed limit here is a curious 13 mph, which many automobiles can exceed while idling. The township has a history of being unapologetically open about planting a speed trap; the minutes of a 1965 city council meeting includes the following:

"A speed trap will be set up on Lawson Avenue to control speeding and requested press to publicize same.",%201965.pdf

Consider yourself warned.

Note: The population statistics listed are based either on the 2010 census or more recent estimates.

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