KBB Study: Drivers still multi-task while driving despite risks

 KBB.com Brand Ambassador and Professional Football Player Todd Gurley, NASCAR Driver Chase Elliott Join in 

#DriveSmart Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign

 

IRVINE, Calif., April 14, 2016 – Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. While nearly every state in the U.S., as well as Washington D.C., has laws prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving, a new survey by Kelley Blue Book reveals that 61 percent of drivers continue to multi-task from behind the wheel.

The 2016 Kelley Blue Book Distracted Driving Awareness survey, released today by KBB.com, the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, is part of the company’s #DriveSmart Distracted Driving Awareness campaign, launched during Distracted Driving Month. The national survey reveals that nearly half (47 percent) of respondents have used their phone while driving on roads or residential streets, 40 percent have used their phones while cruising the highway and 86 percent have used their phone while at a stop light or in heavy traffic. Talking on the phone and using the navigation system were the highest rated activities reported with 78 percent and 71 percent, respectively. Texting came in third with 67 percent, followed by using music apps (47 percent) and using social media (31 percent).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 25 percent of all crashes involve some form of driver distraction, and drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. In fact, nearly three quarters of survey respondents (71 percent) believe that cell phone usage is the biggest threat facing today’s teen drivers, with drinking and driving (18 percent) and reckless driving (10 percent) rating as a distant second and third, respectively.

According to Distraction.gov, the average time a driver takes their eyes off the road while texting is five seconds. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. Millennial drivers report the highest rates of texting (74 percent) and checking social media sites (36 percent) while driving. However, young people are not the only drivers reaching for their phones. The survey reveals that Baby Boomers lead the pack, reporting the highest rate overall of talking on the phone while driving (87 percent), followed by Gen X (83 percent) and Millenials (76 percent).

“We all know that texting while driving is a serious distraction, but it isn’t the only reason drivers are taking their eyes off the road,” said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “With the increase of in-car technology, there are more distractions vying for a driver’s attention. Whether it is in-dash navigation, music apps or voice command call or text, more and more drivers are multi-tasking behind the wheel as opposed to focusing on the road.”

Take the Pledge: “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All”

In addition to conducting the nationwide survey, Kelley Blue Book, along with NHTSA and The Conor Lynch Foundation, will host a student assembly at Inglewood High School in Los Angeles on April 21, 2016, to educate students on the dangers of distracted driving. Professional football player Todd Gurley and local officials will be on hand to bring attention to the issue. At the assembly, the students will be directed to take the “One Text or Call Could Wreck it All” pledge at Distraction.gov.

“Texting behind the wheel is dangerous, deadly and completely preventable.  Help make our roads safe for everyone and save it for when you’re not in the driver seat,” said Chris Murphy, regional administrator for NHTSA. “Working with our safety partners and organizations like Kelley Blue Book, we’re calling on drivers to take the pledge and put their phones down.  Our focus is to drive positive behavior change and encourage safe driving habits.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, also has joined the campaign by creating a digital PSA that was released earlier today to help spread the message about the dangers of distracted driving. Elliott, a champion NASCAR driver who himself is only 20 years old, is uniquely qualified to share the importance of giving your full attention to driving, helping to ensure everyone’s safety by reminding people to just drive.

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Bentley launches new GT Speed edition

Bentley Continental GT Speed Black Edition

  • Continental GT Speed increases power and torque
  • Bold new Black Edition joins GT family
  • New and unique styling cues handcrafted to perfection at Bentley’s Crewe factory

(Crewe,  April 2016) Bentley unveils today the revised Continental GT Speed, raising the bar even further in terms of exclusivity and performance. The fastest production Bentley ever, with a top speed of 206 mph (331 km/h), now delivers even more power and torque, and a striking new Black Edition model joins the Speed family.

Engineers at Bentley in Crewe have developed even more muscle from the Continental’s iconic 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine. The GT Speed now produces 642 PS – up from 635 PS – and 20 Nm of extra torque, bringing its total to a forceful 840 Nm. This additional torque is applied through the entire rev range via careful reoptimisation of boost control, raising the Grand Tourer’s renowned “torque plateau” of continuous maximum torque delivery from 2,000-5,000 rpm, and bringing even greater acceleration performance. As a result, the 0-60 mph sprint time has dropped to just 3.9 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.1 secs).

Bentley is also introducing the Continental GT Speed Black Edition which celebrates the rich and striking depth of the GT’s sporting character. Available as both coupe and convertible bodystyles, the customers’ choice of body colour is complimented by a high gloss black finish to the exterior brightware, including the window openings and lamp bezels. All-black 21” five-spoke directional wheels cover distinctive brake calipers, which can be specified in red or black finishes.

To add a further unique and striking twist, the Black Edition also features contrast colours to the front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser in four different shades: Hallmark, Beluga, St James’ Red and a new shade, Cyber Yellow. Customers can also choose to colour-match the door mirrors as a final exterior accent.

Bentley Continental GT Speed Black Edition(1)Inside, the mix of dark tones and vivid highlights continues. Carbon fibre adorns the fascia, centre and roof consoles to create  a dark opulent ambiance while a dedicated Black Edition colour split sees the seats and centre console bordered by contrasting leather, available in Porpoise, Beluga, Pillar Box Red or new Cyber Yellow to match the exterior styling accents. Corresponding contrast stitching accentuates the diamond quilting of the doors and Mulliner GT Design seats.

Paul Jones, Product Line Director for Continental GT, comments: “We have developed the GT Speed Black Edition to meet demand from customers for a model in the Continental line that offers both increased sporting capabilities and instantly recognisable styling cues. The Black Edition has a subtle but purposeful look that is backed up by exceptional performance.”

It takes 110 hours to handcraft each and every Continental GT at the Bentley factory in Crewe, Cheshire. The upgraded W12 engine applied to all Continental GT Speed models is entirely assembled by 30 dedicated Bentley colleagues over 12½ hours. Meanwhile, the sumptuous and technically complex unique interiors are handcrafted by the experts in Bentley’s Leather and Trim workshop. Each hide is carefully checked by hand and eye before being stitched, shaped and finished entirely by hand, rivalling the quality of the finest furniture and precise tolerances of jewellery and watch craftsmanship.

The new GT Speed and GT Speed Black Edition models are available to order now, with customer deliveries this summer.

For more information visit www.bentleymotors.com

Autotrader offers new car buying tips

Other than a new home, a new car is one of the biggest purchases a person will ever make. In 2016, new car sales in the U.S. jumped 7 percent over last year, but are people prepared before heading to their local dealership? Purchasing a car is an important financial decision whether you are single, have a family, soon-to-be retired, or whether or not you’re planning to receive a big tax refund this year.

Autotrader released the results of its national consumer survey about the shopping habits and preferences of new car buyers as it relates to the test drive. According to the survey, 80 percent of new car shoppers would prefer a guide, checklist or tip sheet to prepare them before their test drive.

Here are some of the highlights from the report:

Taxes:

  • The majority (70%) of tax filers expect to get a refund

  • Among those expecting a refund, 47% plan to save the money, 35% plan to pay off credit card debt, and 27% plan to use it toward a car related expense.

  • Among those using their refund for a car related expense (n=102), Most (61%) are using it toward the purchase of a new or used car. 28% are using it for repair and only 10% are using it to pay off their existing car.

Test Drives:

  • 90% of buyers said that they test drove their vehicle before buying it.

  • 84% said test driving the vehicle they are considering is extremely important (97% said extremely or somewhat important)

  • Most (58%) only need one test drive with the vehicle before making a decision on it. [This varies a little from what we saw in our Car Buyer Journey research]

  • Over half (51%) said that they need less than 30 minutes to thoroughly test drive a vehicle. Only 2% said that they need the vehicle overnight/24 hours.

  • While only 13% included Electronics/infotainment in their Top 3 things that they look for on a test drive, this could be because those features are evaluated at the dealership and not on the actual test drive.

  • Salespeople are generally seen as helpful to have in the vehicle during the test drive (59% said it is very or somewhat helpful). Only 18% said it was somewhat or very unhelpful.

  • 64% said that the most helpful thing a salesperson could do during the test drive is to show the features and functionality of the vehicle.

  • 80% said a guide, checklist or tip sheet would be helpful for them.

 

When looking to purchase a new car, the test drive is considered one of the most influential parts of the decision making process. The problem? Most people take less than 30 minutes on a test drive, and they only take one test drive in the vehicle they’re planning on purchasing, which is not long enough to make an informed decision.

Autotrader also released a guide of helpful tips and other resources for new car shoppers, along with its annual list of “Must Test Drive Vehicles.”

2016 Must Test Drive Vehicles:

  • 2016 Chevrolet Malibu
  • 2016 Fiat 500X
  • 2016 Honda Civic
  • 2016 Kia Sedona
  • 2016 Lincoln MKC
  • 2016 Mercedes Benz GLC300
  • 2016 Nissan Titan XD
  • 2016 Subaru Legacy
  • 2016 Toyota Prius
  • 2016 Volvo XC90

 

Must Test Drive Tips

1.     Come prepared with people and stuff.

Your test drive should mimic closely the way you use your car in day-to-day driving, so you need to bring the people and items that typically ride with you. If you have a family, take them along. Try a child safety seat to see how it fits. Throw your golf bag in the trunk. See if your lanky teenager can sit comfortably in the backseat. If you’re single and typically drive alone, bring a friend. You’ll benefit from the help of a sidekick anyway.

2.     Don’t follow the usual route.

When you take a test drive with a dealership salesperson, it’s likely that the route won’t be very long. Nearly any salesperson will allow a longer test drive, if a shopper requests it, especially if they’re serious about making a sale. Make sure you test the road in your typical driving conditions—through neighborhoods, on the highway, and in rush hour traffic if your daily commute has you in tenuous stop-and-go traffic. And don’t forget to try driving it home, if possible, and parking it in your garage to see if it fits.

3.     Drive on rough roads.

One of the most important places to go on a test drive is on rough roads to find out how a car drives on harsh surfaces. It would be no fun to drive home in a new car and discover later that the ride is too jarring for you to handle.

4.     Drive on curvy roads.

After you’ve driven on a rough road and on the highway, your next stop should be a road with some curves. You’ll want to do this in order to feel the physics of the car. Is it too top-heavy? Do its motions make you carsick? And, of course, do you feel like the steering and handling is adequate for your needs? A curvy road is the best place to answer each of those questions.

5.     Try parking the car in various scenarios.

Many shoppers on a test drive forget a crucial aspect of driving that can be very stressful: parking. That’s why we strongly suggest that you take any vehicle and try to park it in different parking places like a crowded parking lot and even a parallel parking space. If you do, you might discover potential flaws with the car, such as a large turning radius or poor visibility. Of course, you also might find out that the car is easy to park, which can only be a good thing.

6.     Test the infotainment system and connect your phone.

The interface for making phone calls, answering texts and accessing the maps on your phone is probably the portion of the car you’ll interact with many times per day – second only to the steering wheel and seats. Make sure the pairing is easy, that the graphics are large enough to read at a glance. If at all possible, look for a system that is very easy to use like Chrysler’s Uconnect or either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

 

AAA: Cost to drive hit 6-year low

Annual cost to own and operate a vehicle falls to $8,558 in 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 2016) – Due to falling gas prices, the annual cost to own and operate a vehicle in the United States has fallen to a six-year low of $8,558 according to AAA’s 2016 Your Driving Costs study. This year, a driver can expect to spend 57 cents for each mile driven, approximately $713 per month, to cover the fixed and variable costs associated with owning and operating a car.

“Thanks to lower gas prices, American drivers can expect to save hundreds of dollars in fuel costs in 2016,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Fortunately, this annual savings more than offsets the moderate increases in maintenance, insurance, finance charges and other costs associated with owning and operating a vehicle.”

Based on 15,000 miles

mall Sedan  Medi. Sedan    Large Sedan    Sedan Avg.    SUV (4WD)    Minivan
Ann. Total Cost  $6,579    $8,604   $10,492    $8,558    $10,255    $9,262
Ann. Cost/Mile   $0.4386  $0.5736   $0.6994  $0.5705    $0.6837  $0.6175
Fuel: DOWN 24.62 percent to 8.45 cents per mile/$1,267.50 per year (-$414).

Compared to last year’s study, the average price of regular fuel fell more than 25 percent to $2.139 per gallon in the fourth quarter. At the same time, vehicle redesigns and improved powertrain technologies increased the average fuel economy of the sedans used in the study to 26.71 mpg.

Insurance: UP 9.60 percent to $1,222 per year (+$107).
Insurance rates vary widely with driver, driving habits, issuing company, geographical area and more. While AAA’s insurance cost estimates are based on low-risk drivers with good driving records, even this group has seen rates rise over the past few years. Rising costs are likely attributable to lower gas prices, which have resulted in more miles driven, greater numbers of collisions and higher insurance payouts.

Depreciation: UP 2.87 percent to $3,759 per year (+$105).
The single largest ownership expense, depreciation, rose for 2016 due to robust new-car sales and, therefore, increasing numbers of used and off-lease vehicles entering the marketplace. This reduces retained value and resale prices, thus increasing depreciation.

Maintenance: UP 3.33 percent to 5.28 cents per mile/$792 per year (+$25 per year).
While there is significant variation among individual vehicles, modest increases in vehicle maintenance are attributable to engines requiring more expensive semi- or full-synthetic motor oils, and increases in extended warranty pricing and shop labor rates.

A recent AAA survey found that 35 percent of Americans have skipped or delayed service or repairs that were recommended by a mechanic or specified by the factory maintenance schedule. According to AAA’s certified Approved Auto Repair shops, consumers that forget or ignore recommended maintenance ultimately pay higher repair costs.

License/Registration/Taxes: UP 3.31 percent to $687 per year (+$22).
License, registration and tax costs are impacted by vehicle sales prices and state/local tax rates. In addition to rising vehicle prices, many states, counties and cities have increased their fees related to vehicle purchasing, titling, registration and licensing.

Finance Charges:  UP 2.09 percent to $683 per year (+$14).
The average vehicle finance rate remained relatively unchanged in 2016. The modest dollar increase in finance charges is attributable to higher new car prices combined with increased tax, title, license and registration fees, which are typically rolled into the vehicle financing.

Tires: UP 2.04 percent to 1.00 cent per mile/$150 per year (+$3).
Due to the competitive and dynamic nature of the tire market, tire costs in 2016 are relatively unchanged, rising by just .02 cent per mile.

In addition to calculating the driving costs for sedans, AAA determined annual costs associated with both minivans and sport utility vehicles.  Owners of these vehicle types also benefit from lower driving costs in 2016, at $9,262 and $10,255 respectively.

“One-in-five Americans plan to purchase or lease a new vehicle in the next year, and many consumers may mistakenly believe minivans are more expensive to drive than a large sedan,” continued Nielsen. “With lower gas prices, these vehicles offer drivers the flexibility of transporting additional passengers and cargo while remaining more affordable to own and operate compared to a large sedan.”

AAA has published Your Driving Costs since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.

The Your Driving Costs study employs a proprietary AAA methodology to analyze the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the United States. Variable operating costs considered in the study include fuel, maintenance and repair, and tires. Fixed ownership costs factored into the results include insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. Ownership costs are calculated based on the purchase of a new vehicle that is driven over five years and 75,000 miles. Your actual operating costs may vary. See AAA’s 2016 Your Driving Costs brochure for a list of vehicles and additional information on the underlying criteria used in the study.

Rand report: Autonomous vehicles can’t be driven enough to prove they’re safe

Autonomous vehicles would have to be driven hundreds of millions of miles and, under some scenarios, hundreds of billions of miles to create enough data to clearly demonstrate their safety, according to a new RAND report.

Under even the most-aggressive test driving assumptions, it would take existing fleets of autonomous vehicles tens and even hundreds of years to log sufficient miles to adequately assess the safety of the vehicles when compared to human-driven vehicles, according to the analysis.

Researchers say the findings suggest that in order to advance autonomous vehicles into daily use, alternative testing methods must be developed to supplement on-the-road testing. Alternative methods might include accelerated testing, virtual testing and simulators, mathematical modeling, scenario testing and pilot studies.

“Our results show that developers of this technology and third-party testers cannot drive their way to safety,” said Nidhi Kalra, co-author of the study and a senior scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “It’s going to be nearly impossible for autonomous vehicles to log enough test-driving miles on the road to statistically demonstrate their safety, when compared to the rate at which injuries and fatalities occur in human-controlled cars and trucks.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of premature death in the United States and are responsible for over $80 billion annually in medical care and lost productivity due to injuries. . Autonomous vehicles hold enormous potential for managing this crisis and researchers say autonomous vehicles could significantly reduce the number of accidents caused by human error.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 90 percent of automobile crashes are caused by human errors such as driving too fast, as well as alcohol impairment, distraction and fatigue. Autonomous vehicles are never drunk, distracted or tired; these factors are involved in 41 percent, 10 percent and 2.5 percent of all fatal crashes, respectively.

However, researchers acknowledge autonomous vehicles may not eliminate all crashes, and the safety of human drivers is a critical benchmark against which to compare the safety of autonomous vehicles.

Although the total number of crashes, injuries and fatalities from human drivers is high, the rate of these failures is low in comparison with the number of miles that people drive. Americans drive nearly 3 trillion miles every year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. In 2013, there were 2.3 million injuries reported, which is a failure rate of 77 injuries per 100 million miles driven. The related 32,719 fatalities correspond to a failure rate of about 1 fatality per 100 million miles driven.

“The most autonomous miles any developer has logged are about 1.3 million, and that took several years. This is important data, but it does not come close to the level of driving that is needed to calculate safety rates,” said Susan M. Paddock, co-author of the study and senior statistician at RAND. “Even if autonomous vehicle fleets are driven 10 million miles, one still would not be able to draw statistical conclusions about safety and reliability.”

Researchers caution that it may not be possible to establish with certainty the reliability of autonomous vehicles prior to making them available for public use. In parallel to creating new testing methods, it is imperative to develop regulations and policies that can evolve with the technology.

The report, “Driving to Safety: How Many Miles of Driving Would It Take to Demonstrate Autonomous Vehicle Reliability?” is available at www.rand.org.

Funding for the report was provided by philanthropic donations to RAND Corporation.