Archive for the ‘Defensive Driving Blog’ Category

Fastest Speed Limits in USA

yeehaw85

Texas is always eager to lay claim to being the best. To be number one drives this state to many extremes and one of them is speed limits. Out of all 50 states, Texas ranks first in the fastest posted limit on a single highway as well as having the greatest overall top speed when you average all of the highest allowable speeds on its rural interstates, urban interstates and other limited access roads.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Organization, a non-profit that represents all state and national highway safety offices, states that Texas’ 85 mph speed limit on Texas State Highway 130, from Austin to San Antonio is the highest in the nation. In addition, Texas can claim the highest overall top speed (78.3) when averaging the highest allowable speeds on urban interstates, rural interstates and other limited access roads. The next in line would be Idaho with an 80 mph top posted speed limit and an average of 76.7.

speedlimitmapTX 85mphsignTX

These outer regions in speed limits represent quite a change to Texans who have been driving for decades. In an effort to fend off an oil crisis in 1974, Richard Nixon signed a law mandating that 55 mph be the highest allowable speed limit in the U.S. This greatly discouraged cross country travel and spawned the Sammy Hagar song “I Can’t Drive 55” in 1984. But thankfully that law was repealed nearly 20 years ago and we have seen speed limit on the rise ever since.

If going slow is your thing, there are places where you will find happiness. Head on up to Alaska or the District of Columbia where the top speed and average top speed is 55. Almost as slow are Delaware, Hawaii, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont with top speeds no more than 65 and average speeds in the upper 50’s.

Whatever the speed limit is in your part of the world it is a good idea to stay within those boundaries. If you find yourself with a ticket because you did not, then log on to WirelessDefensiveDriving.com.

One Last Tip Before Labor Day

As we get ready to hit the roads for the unofficial “End of Summer” celebrations, we at WirelessDefensiveDriving.com want to help you avoid getting a ticket. One law our students are surprised to hear about pertains to what to do when approaching an emergency vehicle with the lights on or flashing. Do you know? There are laws on the books since September 1, 2003 designed to help protect our law enforcement officers. If you don’t follow the rules, you could get a ticket of up to $200.00, and if there is property damage, make it $500.00.

The law is: if you are driving and come upon a stopped emergency vehicle that has it’s lights activated, UNLESS otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer , you have to get out of the lane closest to the emergency vehicle. If they are pulled over on the right shoulder of a highway with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction of the emergency vehicle, the lane next to them, the right lane, needs to be empty of traffic so move over safely.

But what if traffic is backed up or extremely heavy and you can’t safely get out of the lane next to the emergency vehicle? The you MUST slow your speed to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. For example, if you are on a highway with speed limits of 55 mph and you approach an emergency vehicle pulled over to the side, you need to lower your speed to 35mph or less as you pass the emergency vehicle. If you are on a street that has a speed limit of 25 mph or less (a neighborhood street for example) you must slow to 5 mph or less as you pass the vehicle.

You can see how this helps protect our law enforcement officers. Be careful out there and don’t do anything to get a ticket. Hopefully this one tip will help you have a safe holiday weekend for you, your family and our law enforcement officers everywhere. Happy Labor Day from all of us.

New Law in Time for Labor Day

“Lone Star State” is not the only new law that went into effect on September 1st.  Long considered the state’s nickname, it was made official in this last session of the Texas Legislation. Also signed into law was House Bill 2246 aimed at stopping repeat drunk driving offenses, just in time for the holiday weekend.

This law, signed by Governor Abbott on June 19, requires that before driving privileges can be restored to a drunk driving offender they must install an ignition interlock on their vehicle.  This bill also gives judges the discretion whether to allow offenders to use the devices.

interlock interlock2

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 40% of all Texas traffic deaths are caused by a drunk driver. In 2013, 1,337 people were killed by drunk drivers in Texas, making it the leader in drunk driving deaths that year in the country. The law requires the interlock be installed for first time offenders with a BAC of .08 or greater if they want to continue to drive after a DWI arrest during license suspension. Drivers arrested for DWI apply for an interlock 15 days after the arrest or just choose not to drive. The interlock restricted license period is at least 90 days for first time offenders and 180 days for repeat offenders.

Previously the law allowed DWI offenders who were arrested to get a non-interlock restricted license following an arrest.  There is great hope that this new measure will reduce the number of offenders that re-offend thus reducing the number of deaths due to drunk driving. MADD is in support of the use of ignition interlocks for all offenders because license suspension has been shown to be difficult to enforce and is often ignored. This law will help protect the public while allowing offenders to continue to be able to get to work and fulfill other obligations.

On this Labor Day weekend stay mindful of the fact that there will be drivers on the road who have had too much to drink. Drive defensively and for more information on drinking and driving and its impact, log on to WirelessDefensiveDriving.com.

Drinking and Driving Crack Down During Labor Day Holiday

backyard BBQlake

Labor Day is next weekend. The un-official end of the summer brings with it backyard BBQ’s, pool parties, going to the lake one last time, fun with family and friends, and a heavy police presence looking for drunk drivers. Increased enforcement will run from Friday August 21st until September 7th, 2015. That’s over two weeks and covers 3 weekends.

TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) and all of us at wirelessdefensivedriving.com wish to remind everyone that might consume alcohol not to get behind the wheel and drive. “Last year in Texas, 21 people were killed and 42 were seriously injured in 338 alcohol related crashes over the Labor Day holiday” according to a recent TxDOT statewide news release.

“Too many people are killed on our roads each year – especially during holidays – due to impaired driving. These crashes are inexcusable and 100-percent preventable. We are grateful to our law enforcement officers who will be keeping Texans safe by pulling over and arresting impaired drivers.” said TxDOT Executive Director Lt. Gen. Joe Weber, USMC (Ret).

drink keys                            no tolerance sign

Impairment of the most important skills can occur at a very low blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The skills involved in driving a motor vehicle include psychomotor skills, vision, perception, tracking (steering), information processing, and attention. All of these functions are impaired by alcohol, although they differ in the extent of their impairment at any given BAC as taught in the wirelessdefensivedriving.com course.

TxDot goes on to say that “Many Texas communities implement “no-refusal” programs over Labor Day weekend, authorizing law enforcement officials to obtain blood samples from suspected drunk drivers and motorcyclists. Drivers convicted of DWI in Texas face costs up to $17,000 plus possible jail time, limited career prospects and loss of driver’s license.”

If you plan on consuming alcohol, just don’t drive! Take a taxi, have a designated driver, plan to stay where you are overnight, or use mass transit. Plan ahead. You can also go to SoberRides.org to locate other alternatives to driving after having a “few”.

Have a great holiday and let’s make sure everyone gets home to loved ones alive.

Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Defensive Driving

texas leg up

The 2015 Legislative session recently passed legislation that moves the Defensive Driving and Driver Training programs from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). As of July 15, 2015, the transition has begun. This will require different offices and locations for these programs.

This information will take time to filter out to all the Texas Courts and even longer to be reflected in their paperwork, forms and language used in each court. There will be an overlap of forms and notifications that refer to the driver safety program as TEA approved course and then possibly the TDLR approved programs but the purpose and function of approved Defensive Driving will stay the same and be accepted by all courts in Texas to dismiss your moving violation.

The physical move of offices to the TDLR should be completed by September 1, 2015 or shortly thereafter but whether the courts refer to defensive driving as TEA approved or TDLR approved could take much more time to complete.

Rest assured that during this transition, wirelessdefensivedriving.com is approved for all courts in Texas to get your ticket dismissed.

We will update you as things change and help assist you with defensive driving needs.

Where Did Wireless Defensive Driving Come From?

WHO WE ARE

You should be well aware by now that WirelessDefensiveDriving.com is a Texas defensive driving course approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for the purpose of ticket dismissal or insurance reduction. But did you know that the owners and creators of this defensive driving course go way back in the industry? Let’s take a stroll down memory lane.

In 1990 there was the development of a great little Texas defensive driving course called Comedy Defensive Driving. One of the partners in that endeavor was Kyle Collins, who, incidentally, developed the course driving this blog – WirelessDefensiveDriving.com. Kyle built Comedy Defensive Driving into a statewide success story – with franchises in most major cities. Defensive driving had never seen such a surge in students. It was a phenomenon and the TEA became familiar with Kyle and the innovation he brought to Texas defensive driving.

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Building on the success of Comedy Defensive Driving, Kyle and now partner, David Ianni, wrote and created the first online defensive driving course in Texas. In the late 90’s they developed and spent 2 years gaining approval from the TEA (before the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation). The agency had never had an online defensive driving course developed in Texas and spent a great deal of time assessing its credibility. The course was txdriving.com and was approved in 1999 and went online in 2000. It was a great success! During this process Kyle helped introduce legislation in Austin to shorten the required Texas defensive driving course from the eight hours taught back then to the more manageable six hours required now. He was successful and the length of the course taught today is a credit to his hard work and diligence.

Following the entrance of online defensive driving courses into the mix there was an enormous growth in the number of new courses being offered online. All other courses online owe their success to the development of that first course, txdriving.com. But there was something missing and Kyle Collins and partner David Ianni decided to innovate once again. In 2011 Kyle wrote a new curriculum and he and David launched WirelessDefensiveDriving.com. The intention of this new Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation approved online defensive driving course is to make it even more convenient to get your 6 hour requirement done. This course can be taken on any compatible wireless device and listened to anywhere. No longer do you have to sit in front of your computer or sit through a class for 6 solid hours. You can take as little, or as much, of the course as fits into your schedule. It doesn’t have to be taken in one sitting. Made as a primarily audio course, it can be downloaded to your device and listened to while you work out, sit by the pool, do housework, sit in a café, etc. For those who like to read along there is also an option for reading the text.

So, from classrooms across the state of Texas, to plugging in to your Ipod, defensive driving has transitioned greatly in the last 25 years. But one thing has remained certain – Kyle Collins will continue to improve the Texas defensive driving scene in order to make taking a course more educational and convenient.

Take To The Streets

BUT BE SAFE and practice defensive driving.

Bicycle safety is a big deal but a subject that few bike riders know much about. That is because, for the most part, children and young adults ride more than any other age group. In fact, children (5-14 years), adolescents, and young adults (15-24 years) have the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries, accounting for almost 60% of all bicycle-related injuries seen in U.S. emergency departments. Because of the relatively young age it is up to adults to be certain that young bike riders in the family know the essential rules of the road for riders.

turn signals

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010 in the U.S., almost 800 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 515,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries. Males are much more likely to be killed or injured on bicycles than are females and adolescents (15-24 years) and adults aged 45 years and older have the highest bicycle death rates. All of these statistics are just here to show how deadly this favorite recreational activity can be.
But, of course, not all bicycle accidents involve a motor vehicle. Let’s talk about defensive driving and the safety aspects when it comes to bikes and cars on the road together. Here are some certainties:

  • A bicyclist should always obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals.
  • Never ride opposite the flow of traffic.
  • A bicyclist is required to stop at all signs and stop at red lights.
  • Persons riding two abreast cannot impede the normal flow of traffic and must ride in a single lane.
    A person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as possible to the right curb or edge of the roadway unless:
    -The person is overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
    -The person is preparing for a left turn at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway.
    -There are unsafe conditions in the roadway such as fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, potholes, or debris.
    -The lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.

In case you are curious, the three most common car-bicyclist crashes are:

  • A motorist running left in the face of oncoming bicycle traffic.
  • A motorist turning right across the path of the bicycle traffic.
  • A motorist pulling away from a stop sign, failing to yield right-of-way to bicycle cross traffic. At intersections, right-of-way rules apply equally to motor vehicles and bicycles.

So, as you take to the streets be in a defensive driving mode, enjoy all this spring weather and be sure to practice bicycle safety – whether you are on the bike or in your car. And if you need information on this or any defensive driving subject just log into Wirelessdefensivedriving.com.

Don’t Take Light Rail Too Lightly

According to NPR, it’s hard to find a city in America that isn’t planning, proposing, studying or actually building a light rail system. There were 35 light rail systems operating in the U.S. in 2010 with many more in the planning stages. Dallas and Houston are the most notable in Texas but Austin and San Antonio have been debating the issue for years.

defensive driving tips for light rail

Whether light rail is a daily occurrence in your life or not, you will have occasions while driving your car to cross paths with one of these trains. Have you given any thought to the rules that govern these encounters? Here are just a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Light rail is very quiet; in fact the trains are quieter than most buses and cars.

  • Do not walk in front of, between, or behind the trains.

  • Do not drive, stop, or park your vehicle on the tracks. It is dangerous and illegal.

  • Although quiet, light rail trains are still heavy and can’t start or stop quickly, regardless of traffic flow.

  • Cross the tracks only at designated pedestrian crossings and only when it is safe to do so.

  • Look both ways before crossing the tracks. Trains travel in both directions.

  • Obey all warnings signs, flashing lights, signals and crossing gates. Police will issue tickets to violators.

  • Stay alert, you may not hear them coming.

  • Listen for bells and horns.

  • Never race a train or run in front of a train.

  • Never try to beat a train to a crossing.

  • Never drive around crossing gate arms.

  • Never put anything on or near the tracks.

Texas is ranked with four other states as having the most crossing collisions in the U.S., as well as the most fatalities from those collisions. Nationwide crossing fatalities increased in 2014 by almost 16%. It is worth your time and effort to make a note of the guidelines we have provided and keep yourself and your loved ones from being a statistic.

Whenever you have a question about anything driver related in Texas, be sure to log in to WirelessDefensiveDriving.com.

Texting and Driving – A New Law on the Horizon

Members of the Texas House of Representatives had a preliminary vote on March 25, 2015 that passed House Bill 80, banning texting and driving in Texas.

At about the same time, AAA released a new report on how distractions played a factor in almost six out of every 10 crashes – four times as many as had been thought.

Defensive Driving Law

These two events mark the increased concern Texans have had over texting and driving. According to 2013 data, 459 Texans died in distracted driving crashes. Distracted driving can, of course, refer to more than just texting but law enforcement concur that teens and texting are contributing the most to the increase in crashes. One state trooper says that teens are used to texting and multitasking but not as familiar with driving a car. This is the time in life when all their attention needs to be on driving.

House Bill 80 would ban texting and driving. It would be considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of between $25 and $99. Currently 39 states along with Virgin Islands, Guam and the District of Columbia prohibit texting and driving. Drivers in Texas would still be able to make phone calls or use voice activated or hands free technology, use GPS or report illegal activity or an emergency. The bill, as it stands now, would allow texting while stopped in a travel lane, like at a red light.

Representative Chris Paddie is on the committee where the bill was originally heard and supports it. “I think when we talk about government infringing on our personal freedoms, that’s certainly one thing but when it crosses over into public safety where it not only can affect you but certainly can affect someone else, I think government needs to look at that, “ Paddie said.

Watch the news for more information on this important bill and if you find yourself with a ticket for any reason log into WirelessDefensiveDriving.com.

Link to House Bill 80 is here: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/84R/billtext/html/HB00080I.htm

Driving Tips for Your Spring Break Trip

Spring break and March go hand in hand. Sometimes it means a trip to the beach (to escape all this cold weather!) or it can mean a ski trip (to further embrace the cold weather!). Wherever your destination this spring break, if you are driving you should plan ahead to be safe.

spring break defensive driving

Here are a few guidelines for your trip:

*Have your vehicle checked out by a qualified mechanic.  Have any required maintenance performed.

*Time your trip appropriately. This means drive in daylight hours, avoid rush hour, do not travel during peak hours on major holidays and avoid days when the weather will be bad, if at all possible.

*Wear your seatbelt!!! This is highlighted because it is so important – not just on vacation, but anytime you are in the car. And this includes all your passengers!

*Turn on your headlights and try to pick a route that is well maintained and lit. Use your headlights, even in daylight because it helps other drivers to see you.

*Practice good defensive driving, yielding right of way even if you think you are correct. This will avoid accidents. Drive at the posted speed limit, unless weather conditions cause you to have to slow down. When coming to an unexpected stop on the highway be sure to put your flashers on. This will alert drivers behind you that there is some kind of problem to be aware of.

*Take a break often, every 90 minutes if possible. Get out of your car and stretch. Rotate drivers often if possible.

Staying safe should be your priority every time you get behind the wheel. Teaching you to be safe is our priority at WirelessDefensiveDriving.com. Log on for all your defensive driving needs.

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