Fleet Safety Video Tip: Driving in Heavy Traffic


In congested traffic, many drivers are more tempted to check email, send a text message, fiddle with the music player, or simply daydream. But it’s critical for drivers to maintain focus when traffic is heavy, rather than letting their guard down and becoming distracted.

Inattentive drivers make highway congestion worse because they fail to take measures that can help keep traffic flowing. These are simple steps that also promote greater safety and fuel efficiency.

Here’s a AAA video that explains what those measures are. You may want to pass this advice along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder. Click on the photo or link above to watch the video.


Toyota to recall nearly 6.5 million vehicles for steering, other faults





Toyota recalls about 6.4 million vehicles globally Associated Press

Toyota recalls 6.39 million vehicles worldwide AFP

Nissan recalls 990,000 cars in N. America over airbag issue AFP

GM recalls 1.3 million cars for steering defect Associated Press

U.S. fines GM for not answering recall questions Reuters


TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp, in its second-largest recall announcement, said on Wednesday that it would call back 6.39 million vehicles globally after uncovering five different faults involving parts ranging from steering to seats.


The world’s biggest automaker said it was not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the glitches, which were found in 27 Toyota models including the RAV4 and Yaris subcompact.


Toyota said faults were also found in the Pontiac Vibe and the Subaru Trezia, two models the automaker built for General Motors and Fuji Heavy Industries.


The automaker did not say how much the recalls would cost, and it was not clear if the faults stemmed from Toyota’s suppliers or its manufacturing process.


The move by Toyota to announce five different recalls on a single day from Tokyo comes as major automakers face increasing scrutiny in the United States on how quickly they take preventive safety action and how quickly they share information with regulators and the public.


Toyota agreed last month to pay $1.2 billion to the U.S. government for withholding information related to unintended acceleration in its vehicles. That safety crisis had caused Toyota to recall more than 9 million vehicles.


In a high-profile case that has the potential to change U.S. safety regulation, Toyota rival General Motors is under investigation for failing to act on a known ignition switch defect linked to a dozen deaths. The company has recalled 1.6 million vehicles over the issue.


In the largest of the recalls announced on Wednesday, Toyota said some 3.5 million vehicles were being recalled to replace a spiral cable that could be damaged when the steering wheel is turned. That could cause the air bag to fail in the event of a crash, the automaker said.


In total, about 2.34 million of the vehicles to be recalled were sold in North America. Another 810,000 were sold in Europe.


In the second-largest of the Toyota recalls, some 2.32 million three-door models made between January 2005 and August 2010 are being recalled to check for a fault in the seat rails that could cause the seat to slide forward in a crash, risking injury for the driver or passengers.


The other recalls are for faulty steering column brackets, windshield wiper motors and engine starters.


The recall announcement, which came during late afternoon Tokyo trade, knocked an additional 2 percent off Toyota’s already sagging shares.


They quickly pared the extra losses, however, and ended down 3 percent at 5,450 yen, reflecting an overall weak tone in the market where the benchmark Nikkei average fell 2.1 percent.


Toyota’s 6.39 million vehicle recall is the largest announced on a single day for the company since October 2012, when it called back 7.43 million Yaris, Corolla and other models to fix faulty power window switches.


In the first two months of 2014, major automakers had announced 18 separate recalls in the United States, now the second-largest auto market behind China, according to the latest data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


The recent wave of large-scale recalls represents a source of revenue for auto dealers who are paid by manufacturers to service defective cars.


Elio Motors Inc. Displays Enclosed 3-Wheeled Vehicle At Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition Legislative Breakfast

Futuristic vehicle to retail for $6,800, Achieve 84 mpg

PHOENIX, March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Elio Motors isn’t just building a new vehicle. It’s creating an entirely new transportation category that will change how consumers think about their daily commutes, create more than 1,500 American jobs and help reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

That’s the message company founder and Phoenix resident Paul Elio hopes his enclosed, 3-wheeled vehicle will convey when it takes part in the Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition Legislative Breakfast on the front lawn of the State Capitol today.

“Our high-mileage, low-cost vehicle is causing people to rethink how we approach transportation in the United States,” Elio said. “Many consumers buy vehicles based on the premise that they need to haul their entire family around. But, on a typical commute to work, look at how many big, inefficient vehicles have just one person – the driver – onboard. For those trips where you drive solo – and that’s probably the majority of trips – why not have a vehicle that is affordable and highly fuel efficient?”

The Elio Motors 3-wheeled vehicle is slated for production in 2015, will have a sticker price of $6,800, will achieve 84 miles per gallon fuel efficiency and is engineered for an anticipated 5-Star Crash Test Safety Rating.  The vehicle is perfect for individual commuters looking for an inexpensive and fuel efficient mode of transportation, but who also yearn for a unique expression of their passion for driving.

“In addition to the practical message of affordability and high fuel efficiency, this is an eye-catching design that will turn heads,” Elio said. “There’s no reason drivers can’t have a practical vehicle and still have some fun, too.”

The Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition event is an opportunity for automakers to showcase current and future technologies for reducing fuel consumption and developing and manufacturing transportation options that are more environmentally friendly.

Thus far, consumers are showing significant interest in Elio Motors. The company has taken nearly 11,000 reservations at its web site (Eliomotors.com) ranging from $100 to $1,000. A non-refundable reservation provides customers with an additional discount worth 50 percent of the initial deposit (a $1,000 deposit would receive an additional $500 toward the price of a vehicle at the time of purchase). Although refundable deposits can be made, more than 80 percent of customers have opted for the non-refundable reservation, again reinforcing how strongly consumers feel about this vehicle.

About Elio Motors: Founded by car enthusiast Paul Elio in 2008, Elio Motors Inc. represents a revolutionary approach to manufacturing an ultra-high-mileage vehicle. The 3-wheeled Elio will attain a highway mileage rating of more than 80 mpg while providing the comfort of amenities such as power windows and air conditioning, accompanied by the safety of multiple air bags and an aerodynamic, enclosed vehicle body. Elio’s first manufacturing site will be in Shreveport, La., with plans for the first production vehicle to roll off the assembly line in 2015 and significant production, sales and distribution during the next two years. For more information, visit www.eliomotors.com or  www.facebook.com/ElioMotors.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140306/DE78034



SOURCE Elio Motors


Fleet Safety Video Tip: Driving in Thick Fog


March 02, 2014


<p>Photo by Anita Hart via flickr.</p>

Photo by Anita Hart via Flickr.

VIDEO: Driving Safely in Fog 


Thick morning fog in Cape Coral, Fla., on Feb. 26 led to a T-bone collision between a school bus and a sports car, resulting in injuries to the sports car driver. Fortunately, just one of the 22 students in the bus suffered an injury and it was minor, WBBH NBC-2 News reported. Eyewitnesses noted that the sports car’s headlights hadn’t been on, prompting local authorities to warn the public about a trend they’ve noticed recently. 

Because many cars today have headlamps programmed to automatically turn on at night, some drivers have come to assume their lights are on whenever needed. It’s a wrong assumption because these lights don’t turn on automatically in foggy conditions during daylight hours. 

Last week this sports car collided with a school bus during thick morning fog in Cape Coral, Fla. Photo courtesy of Cape Coral Fire Department Twitter page.
Last week this sports car collided with a school bus during thick morning fog in Cape Coral, Fla. Photo courtesy of Cape Coral Fire Department Twitter page.

Here are some other tips, provided by the California DMV, to help your fleet drivers stay safe in fog conditions:

  • If possible, postpone your trip (if you’re lucky enough to know about the fog beforehand).
  • If you’re not so lucky and must drive, then drive slowly and use your low-beam headlights. The light from high beams will reflect back and cause glare. Never drive with just your parking or fog lights.
  • Increase your following distance and be prepared to stop within the space you can see ahead.
  • Avoid crossing or passing lanes of traffic unless absolutely necessary.
  • Listen for traffic you cannot see.
  • Use your wipers and defroster as necessary. If the fog becomes so thick that you can barely see, pull completely off the road. Stop driving until visibility improves. Turn off your lights or someone may see your taillights and drive into you.

To watch a video from DefensiveDriving.com that offers more advice on driving in fog, click on the top photo or link above.

Tire Safety Myths and Tips


Tire safety goes beyond a quick check of the pressure — it also includes ignoring the myths that can lead to dangerous outcomes.

February 2014, Automotive Fleet – Feature

by Staff

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.com.
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.com.

Whether it’s the middle of a historic winter blizzard or a scorching, sticky summer day, properly maintained tires keep vehicles on the road and running safely. When it comes to tire safety, though, in addition to the high number of tips out there to help keep the rubber on the road, there are also some myths that can get drivers in a heap of trouble if they are blindly followed. To sift through this pile of possibilities and find the gems — and discard the fables — AF reached out to experts on the subject.

Roger Marble, consultant, spent four decades in the tire industry, working for a major manufacturer developing tires for applications in North, Central, and South America. In that time, he came across a handful of tire safety myths that have never ever been true:

Myth #1: You can check air pressure by just looking at your tires or kicking the tires. According to Marble, this method is usually off by 10-20 percent or more.

Myth #2: A plug-type repair or using flat fixer fluid injected through the valve is OK. Neither tire companies nor the U.S. Department of Transportation accept this practice, and it will void the tire warranty.

Myth #3: Re-inflating a tire that has been run more than 10 percent low will make it A-OK. “This is like believing that putting the potato salad back in the refrigerator after it sat all day out in the sun will make it OK to eat,” Marble noted.

Myth #4: As long as there is tread design left, the tire is safe to use. Certain applications do not put a lot of miles on a tire, so the tire rubber can get too old to properly stretch, causing it to crack. “Tires should be inspected by a tire dealer and a written report issued after five years of use and every year thereafter, and replaced at 10 years, no matter how much tread is left,” Marble said.

Myth #5: It is OK to ignore the warning from tire pressure monitor system (TPMS), as you can probably drive for hundreds of miles before service is needed. As with any vehicle warning system, drivers need to take them seriously — ignoring them could cause damage to the vehicle or possibly an accident.

Kurt Berger, manager, consumer sales engineering for tire manufacturer Bridgestone Americas, offered a trio of tips to help fleet drivers ride on road-ready rubber:

  • Inflate: The most important aspect of tire maintenance is proper tire inflation. “Tires can lose one pound per square inch per month under normal conditions,” Berger explained.
  • Rotate: Regular tire rotations also will help prevent irregular and premature wear. According to Berger, as many as 40 percent of drivers have not rotated their tires within the recommended distance of 5,000-7,500 miles.
  • Evaluate: Routinely look for signs of tread wear or damage. “The ‘penny test’ is a simple way to check tread wear,” said Berger. “Place a penny in the tread. If Lincoln’s head is visible, the treads are too worn and need replacing.”

Cutting corners is the last way to keep you safe on the road, according to Brian Remsberg, a spokesperson for Michelin North America. Whether its inspection, inflation, or repair, fleet departments need to take the safest route instead of the quickest one.

“Do not inflate tires to the maximum pressure molded onto the tire’s sidewall,” Remsberg explained. “The optimum tire pressure required for your vehicle can be found on a sticker in the door jamb, on the inside of the glove compartment door, or in the owner’s manual.”

The time of day can affect the tire’s pressure reading, which is why Remsberg suggestted checking the pressure when the tires are cold, usually first thing in the morning.

When it comes to repairing a flat, it is best to take extra time to ensure that your tire doesn’t suffer the same fate soon after.

“The proper way to have a tire repaired is to patch the tire from the inside and fill the puncture hole. Do not have your tire plugged,” Remsberg advised.

All four tires need to be checked monthly, since keeping the tires inflated to optimum pressure allows for maximum fuel efficiency and longevity.

GM Expands Ignition Recall to 1.36 Million Vehicles, Including Chevrolet HHR, Saturn Ion



GM is expanding its earlier recall of over half a million 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact sedans and coupes for an ignition switch issue that could cause the car to inadvertently turn-off to four additional models: the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice, and 2006-2007 Saturn Sky. The GM ignition recall total now includes some 1.36 million vehicles. The Problem: Too much weight on an affected vehicle’s key ring and poor-quality ignition switches is the culprit for this recall. If there’s too much weight on the key ring, or if the car hits a rough patch of road, the ignition could inadvertently be turned off, resulting in a loss of power. If the vehicle is still in motion, this could cause a crash – and because the vehicle is off, the airbags may not deploy. According to GM, the ignition switch issue could be behind 31 crashes, with 13 front-seat fatalities. The Fix: In addition to notifying all affected customers of the recall by mail, GM will be reaching out through its customer care centers and social media channels to notify customers affected by the expanded recall. Owners of affected vehicles will have their ignition switches replaced free-of-charge by GM dealers. GM says it and its dealers will work with customers on an individual and case-by-case basis to minimize any inconvenience associated with the recall. Owners of affected vehicles should only use the ignition key without a key ring until the recall has been performed. Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: GM says 619,122 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5s are affected by this recall. In addition, the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR, and 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky are affected by this recall. In total, GM is recalling 1,367,146 vehicles.


Illinois DOT Warns Drivers About Threat of Standing Water

Photo via Wikimedia.
Photo via Wikimedia.

With winter coming to a end soon the rains will begin. We know what that brings, that is right standing water in the roadways and flooding. 

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has issued an advisory warning motorists to travel with extreme caution since rain and thawing snow could lead to standing water on low-lying roads.

IDOT offered the following driving tips:

  • Do not drive through flooded areas.
  • If a road covered by water seems shallow enough to cross, do not attempt to do so.
  • If your car stalls, do not attempt to push it out; seek higher ground.
  • Allow extra time for travel.
  • Don’t crowd the plow – a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.
  • Be aware that black ice can form on roads that appear clear, and the unseen ice can be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas — all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.
  • Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
  • Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary. If you must make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.
  • Always carry an emergency car-care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first-aid kit.
  • Carry a few extra blankets in your car, and perhaps an extra coat to ensure protection in case of a breakdown.
  • Carry a cell phone and dial *999 for roadway assistance in case of emergency (but remember using handheld phones while driving is illegal if it is not an emergency situation).
  • Always wear a seat belt, front seat or back – it’s the law.