Is Car Ownership Actually Decreasing In The U.S.?


The first half of the twentieth century witnessed the domination of Americans in the automobile industry, with three big auto companies (Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler) emerging by the 1920s. History has shown us that automobiles had their greatest economic and social impact in the U.S. in 1980, when about 87.2 percent of American residents owned one or more vehicles, 51.5 percent owned more than one, and 95 percent of domestic car sales were for a replacement.

Recent studies and trends, however, indicate that Americans won’t be needing or purchasing as many automobiles in the future. But why is that?

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Ways to Liven Up Your Long Commute

It’s no surprise that in many cities, traffic is getting worse— much worse. You get out of the house on time and start your commute to work only to be held up in a traffic snarl long enough to count to a ten thousand, recite all the nursery rhymes you know, write a four page essay, and memorize your to do list for the coming months. And still have time to kill.

Being stuck in traffic during your commute can be incredibly and mind-numbingly boring. It can seem as though your wasting your life away spending hours sitting in the car, and trying to configure a different route to work to hopefully avoid some traffic, while praying you get a work-from-home job as soon as possible.

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When it comes to getting behind the wheel of a car, many drivers are buckling up with an intense amount of anxiety building inside. There’s a name for it, actually. Vehophobia is truly the fear of, or the phobia of, driving.

Tucson Auto Body repair Estimates

How do insurance companies decide to total vehicles in Tucson Arizona?

If you have been in a car accident and the damage is more severe than the typical fender bender our customers are usually worried that the car will be totaled. This is a reasonable fear to have as accidents come unplanned and most people are not prepared to have to buy a new or replacement vehicle.

The Rules are changing for Arizona Insurers
If you would have asked me this question even a year ago the answer would have been very concrete. Insurance companies total a vehicle when the cost to replace the vehicle is within 80% of the cost to repair the vehicle. The latter 20% is a buffer zone to account for supplements that usually come with a repair. So if your car would have a replacement value of say $10,000, the threshold for the repair would be at the $8,000 mark. If the repair was $7,500 or below, the car would get fixed, if the estimate was $8,500 or more, the car would be totaled and you would get a check for $10,000 to go buy a replacement car.

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Drowsy Driving Same Risk As Drunk Driving New Study Shows

Missing an Hour or Two of Sleep Doubles Crash Risk

We have all done it, even though we didn’t know it: we put other drivers lives at the same risk as if we were drunk driving. In one of the most shocking studies on auto crashes to come out in 2016, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published a new study which shows that drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period nearly double their risk for a crash.

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7 Tips To Protect Your Car From Christmas Tree Damage in Tucson AZ

Arizona drivers, it is that time of year when families get their Christmas tree. It is also a time when we see a lot of paint damages, dents and even broken sunroofs here t our body shop O’Rielly Collision Centers in Tucson AZ.
We know that strapping a tree to your roof or putting it in your trunk can cause expensive damage to your vehicle. Keep that shopping money in your pocket by following these tips for worry-free tree-hauling!

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Arizona one of 10 costliest states to insure a teen driver

Arizona’s rising costs to insure teen-aged drivers.

As a parent, you know that your kids can be expensive. One big expense that parents face is when their teenagers become licensed drivers. It’s no secret: Adding a teenage driver to an auto policy can be pricey.

Insurance companies and their data show time and again teen drivers are often inexperienced, nervous or reckless when behind the wheel. The insurance industry-sponsored Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, notes that the fatal crash rate per mile driven for drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 is almost three times higher than all other age groups.

So what happens when you add a teen driver to your family insurance policy?

It is a well-known fact that adding a teen driver to your car insurance policy often causes a significant rise in annual auto policy premiums, possibly even doubling them in some states. The industry insurance industry reports that the average spike most families see is 79% According to, on average U.S. families who add a young driver to their auto insurance policy will see an annual premium increase of 79%.

The Good News

Results from a recent study published by the firm, to examine the economic effect of adding a driver between the ages of 16 and 19 to a family’s car insurance policy indicate a downward trend in insurance premium spikes. According to the study, this year’s average premium increase is down from last year’s average of 80%, and is even lower than 2013, when the average increase was as high as 84%.

These gradual decreases directly correlate to an increased focus on teen driver safety and the newer trend towards fewer teens being behind the wheel. According to a study from the University of Michigan, 69% of 17-year-old Americans had a license 30 years ago. Today it’s 45%.

So how does Arizona rank amongst the rest of the nation for teen drivers?

 Here are the top 10 U.S. states where adding a teen driver to an auto policy is the most costly:

10. Tennessee- 92.21%

Tennessee is new to the top 10 most expensive states in 2016, just making the list at No. 10 with a 92.21% average auto insurance premium increase after adding a teen driver to a policy.

Last year, Vermont also ranked ninth, with a 94.99% increase.

9. Vermont- 95.06% increase.

Connecticut moved down one spot this year. In 2015, the state ranked seventh, with a 98.31% increase.

8. Connecticut-96.33% increase.

Maine also makes the top 10 again this year, though it ranks lower than it did in 2015. Last year, Maine was fourth with an average premium increase of 102.76%.

7. Maine- 99.13% increase.

Once again, Oregon comes as the sixth most expensive state to add a teen driver. In 2015, adding a teen driver averaged a 99.10% average increase to an auto policy.

6. Oregon-99.87% increase.

Ohio is new to the top 10 in 2016, coming in as the fifth most costliest state to add a teen driver.

5. Ohio- 100.17% increase.

This year Wyoming has fallen a couple of spots, from second to fourth most expensive state to add a teen driver. In 2015, the average premium increase in the state was 104.45%.

4. Wyoming-105.77% increase.

The price of adding a teen driver in Arizona has spiked from the previous year. In 2015, the Grand Canyon State ranked eighth, with an average premium increase of 95.89%.

3. Arizona-109.36% increase.

In 2015, Rhode Island ranked fifth, with an average premium increase of 101.76%

2. Rhode Island-119.19% increase.

Once again, New Hampshire is the most expensive state to add a teenaged driver to an auto policy. The average increase is up nearly 11% from last year’s average of 114.92%.

1. New Hampshire-125.39% increase.

How to lower the impact on your Family insurance

So what can families do to reduce the impact from adding teen drivers to their policies?

Don’t overlook car insurance discounts that might be available by your policy holder, check with your insurer to see what types of discounts for teenagers might be available.

Many auto insurers offer good-student discounts to teens maintaining at least a “B” average. At Nationwide, that discount reaches 25 percent.

Many car Insurance companies also offers discounts if your teen completes a driver’s education course. Bundling multiple insurance policies if you haven’t already like auto, homeowners and life insurance, will also cut costs.

And as with adults, the cleaner the driving record, the lower the insurance costs.

If your teen is old enough to head off to college, lives more than 100 miles from home and doesn’t have a car, you’re also likely to get a break on your auto insurance. That’s because the teen isn’t a regular operator of the vehicle, but still can drive it when he or she comes home on break.

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Distracted Driver

Is Your Family To Blame For Your Distracted Driving?

You may not know this, but April is National Distracted Drivers Awareness Month. So kick off this month we discovered a very in-depth new study on Distracted Driving conducted by the National Safety Council which you can read here.

Besides the typical survey sampling questions about family size, household income levels and hours spent driving, the study also aimed at uncovering why we text / email/ chat/ selfie and drive.

It turns out most drivers feel obligated to respond to phone calls texts and messages from family members while behind the wheel, versus the same distractions from work, or friends. In other words if a friend or work calls, we might not answer it, but if a family member does, we typically feel obligated to respond.

According to the National Safety Council, our commitment to our loved ones could prove dangerous on the road, as drivers are more likely to be distracted by family members than their job or friends.

President of the National Safety Council, Deborah Hersman said “It is a sad irony that the people we love are actually jeopardizing our safety.” “If you really care, don’t call to say, ‘I love you.’ Instead, encourage your family to set everything else aside, disconnect and focus only on the road.”

The survey, conducted between March 2 and March 10 surveyed 2,409 licensed drivers and found that 82 percent of Americans feel pressured to deal with family distractions, such as phone calls and text messages, while behind the wheel.

That compares with 54 percent for work-related intrusions and 50 percent for friends. The survey discovered that teen drivers, however, are more likely to be distracted by friends than family.

The National Safety Council is a non-profit organization focused on reducing risks in the workplace, on the roads and in homes, and Spokesperson Deborah Hersman is a former Chairperson of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Insurers, safety groups and police are increasingly highlighting the risks associated with the growing use of electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and even watches.

Some states such as Maryland have declared Distracted Driving as public enemy number one and have stepped up its enforcement. That is because new research shows the problem isn’t just dangerous but deadly.

Distracted driving has now surpassed other dangerous driving habits including drunk, drugged and even aggressive driving. Research reveals that perhaps even more shocking is the number of drivers who admit to doing it.

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hacked car cyber threat

Can your car be wirelessly hacked and cause a crash?

Can your car be hacked and cause a crash?

Imagine the following scenario: one day you are driving along at 70 MPH, and suddenly your air conditioner comes on, full blast, but you cannot turn it off. Next, loud music begins to blast from the vehicle’s sound system. Next your wipers turn on and the start squirting fluid into your view. Suddenly you loose control of the steering and braking systems. All this is followed by your transmission locking up, forcing you to come to a complete stop on a highway. You look into your rearview mirror to see a large truck headed right for you. Terrifying isn’t it? We this exact same situation occurred in St. Louis this year, luckily it was controlled demonstration of how a car could potentially be hacked. This hacking was actually a controlled experiment to reveal potential automotive cyber risks.

Two years prior, another team demonstrated their ability to hack into a vehicle’s controller area network, known technically as a “CAN bus”. This is basically the brain for the car, basically a communications system that connects components inside a vehicle. Last year, an automotive software company demonstrated their ability to install a Trojan horse on a an aftermarket plug-in device used by insurance companies on some insurance policies. This company was then able to wirelessly and remotely control a vehicle’s mission-critical components, including the engine, brakes, and steering.

The Jeep Cherokee that was hacked into and described in the first scenario exposed wireless networks as the weakest link in high-tech, and automotive safety. The attack on the entertainment system seems to work on any Chrysler vehicle with Uconnect from late 2013, all of 2014, and early 2015.

What makes this latest hacking demonstration so much more frightening is that it was done without having to attach anything or any device to the car. Instead, the hackers used sophisticated software that allowed them to send commands through the vehicle’s entertainment system from a laptop.

Can remote hacking really happen to your car?

Opinions among auto makers and Insurers vary with regard to the likelihood and ease with which a vehicle’s control system may be hacked, but the proof that something like this could actually happen concerns makers of usage-based insurance and telematics experts.

The type of vehicle hijacking described by the SUV breach hackers is unlikely to occur, because vehicle connectivity is still too limited to accommodate hacking on the scale carried out by those hackers. The only reported hacking incidents to date were the product of long-term research conducted by dedicated teams with access to the specific programming and code of the vehicles that were hacked. In the future the auto manufacturing industry will address the hacking threat before it has the potential to become a danger.

Current reports indicate that manufacturers are already developing significant efforts to encrypt and secure vehicles to protect them from hacking. There is also a new group of security companies who are working on providing safeguards for car makers with continued growth indicated in in the coming years.

Among Insurance providers, the trend is moving away from aftermarket devices to track your car and driving habits, such as plug-in dongles, which are potentially more vulnerable to hacking.

The connected cars of the future will also be safer and more reliable vehicles. These cars will be both safer in overall construction and materials used, but also safe from cyber attacks. In addition, carmakers could add technologies that could facilitate the collection and usage of telematics data for insurance purposes, realizing that it also has a positive effect on vehicle security. This will make it easier for customers to share their driving habits with their insurance companies in an exchange for lower insurance rates.

Automakers need to be held accountable for their vehicles’ digital security. “If consumers don’t realize this is an issue, they should, and they should start complaining to carmakers,” Miller says. “This might be the kind of software bug most likely to kill someone.”

So the short answer is, your car is safe, for now. But it is physically possible for someone to hack into your car in the future as has been demonstrated. So Far Congress has taken notice, and so have auto makers. Potentially 471,000 vehicles on the road right now could be vulnerable.

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police refuse to show up to minor car accident

What To Do If The Tucson Police Don’t Show Up To File An Accident Report

What To Do If The Tucson Police Don’t Show Up To File A Report For Your Car Accident

It used to be that when you got into an accident, you called the police, they showed up, wrote a report, assisted with towing if necessary, and then moved on to the next call. However new trends are emerging in the auto claims industry that could have a big impact to you, the car owner regardless of where you drive.

Right now gas is cheap, and the economy is improving, the unemployment rate is steadily declining and more cars are on the road in the daily commute than in years past. With more cars on the road and cheaper gas we now have year over year increases in miles driven of 3.4%. With increases in miles driven, come increases in accident frequency, and severity of accident claims.

But there is also another problem that could be affecting you right now, especially if you were just involved in a minor collision without injuries. Police departments are not responding to fender benders as often and in some cases, not at all.

So how does this impact the Tucson driver?

I can almost guarantee that your auto insurance policies contain a contract clause requiring you, the policyholder, to report any and all accidents to your insurance company. Nearly every state has a law that requires all for all car accident involved drivers to report any accidents involving injury or death, hazardous materials, apparent property damage over a specified threshold (typically $1,000-$1,500) to the police within a prescribed number of days, Failure to do so could result in the suspension of their drivers’ licenses by the state Department of Motor Vehicles for failure to report, or in some cases, jail time.

Insurance companies typically use the police reports to independently validate any damage, claims, determine fault or negligence, and other critical facts for use in making any formal decisions in first- and third-party property, injury and liability automobile damage claims.

However the majority of all property damage-only accidents that do not involve personal injuries are the majority of all insured auto accidents. Recent trend reports from the property and casualty resource industry indicates that fewer and fewer police departments are responding to non-injury auto accidents, and is thus presenting so this is a serious problem to both you the driver, your insurance company, and your local body shop.

Most body shops, such as our shop here at O’Rielly Collision centers in Tucson and Green Valley Arizona, will handle the property damage claims and dealings with the insurance company on your behalf. In fact, such a service is a major decision making factor in choosing an auto body shop, as the relationships between the shop and the insurance company can often get your car repaired faster.

It has also been reported that even when police do show up to a minor car accident and file reports, in some jurisdictions it can take up to six weeks for those reports to become available to insurance carriers. Additionally, an increasingly higher percentage of these reports are missing all of the information required for the insurance company to properly complete claims adjustment.

Why are Police departments responding to less minor, non-injury auto accidents?

Although this issue has been developing for some time, it is just now becoming widely apparent that police departments nationally are no longer able to respond to or document routine auto accidents.

Several reasons are to blame for this issue. For starters, a large amount post-recession municipalities have faced years of shrinking operational budgets. Increases in the priority to security demands from law-enforcement agencies, news breaking issues of civil unrest and preparedness domestic and foreign terrorism, are shifting some of the more mundane police duties like accident reporting, down to the bottom of police priority lists.

The media has taken notice to the withdrawal of police duties over the past 18 months in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Nevada, Texas and Virginia. Private discussions with chiefs of police from New York to California reveal similar intentions.

In these jurisdictions, police will now respond only in cases involving serious injury, criminal activity, hazardous materials or suspicious circumstances.

Finding new solutions to the accident reporting issue.

What can Tucson area drivers do to obtain the required accident information in jurisdictions where police do not respond to minor collisions?

1. Take damage photos on scene and self-report to your insurance company.
2. Some car insurance companies offer fully staffed company inspection centers or independent appraisal resources.
3. Your insurance company can rely on the trust built with their collision repair shops to inspect, document, estimate and repair the damage honestly and fairly.

While we have no control over how insurance companies handle their own claims reporting policies, a shift in how claims get reported could eventually drive insurance carriers to devise alternatives to the traditional method of reporting collisions as these alternatives could son become the new norm.

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