Cell phone users twice as likely to be involved in a crash, study finds

JAN 24, 2018 | BY DENNY JACOB, PROPERTYCASUALTY360

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety compared drivers’ odds of crash involvement when using a cell phone relative to driving without performing any observable secondary tasks

The role of cell phones in our society faces greater scrutiny in recent years, particularly when it comes to the world of driving.

Distracted driving can happen in a number of ways, but smartphones are often behind a case of distracted driving more often than not.

study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety compared drivers’ odds of crash involvement when using a cell phone relative to driving without performing any observable secondary tasks, both overall and stratified by selected environmental and crash-related factors.

Related: Smartphones are killing Americans on the roads, but nobody’s counting

Data came from a sample of 3,593 drivers, whose driving was monitored using in-vehicle video and other data collection equipment for a period of several months between Oct. 2010 and Dec. 2013. Men (1,712) and women (1,878) represented age groups ranging from 16 years old to 75 years old.

Making roads safer

While the great debate over cell phones — along with many other topics, such as the future of autonomous vehicles — and distracted driving has no end in sight, studies like this one will prove useful for researchers, the automotive and electronics industries, and traffic safety advocates, among others, in making tomorrow’s roads a safer place for drivers and pedestrians alike.

Distracted driving study

Asterisks in tables denote instances in which there were too few crashes and/or baseline epochs involving a specific cell phone task to compute an odds ratio.(Photo: Crash Risk of Cell Phone Use While Driving: A Case-Crossover Analysis of Naturalistic Driving Data)

The results

The study found that “visual-manual interaction with cell phones while driving, particularly but not exclusively relative to text messaging, was associated with approximately double the incidence of crash involvement relative to driving without performing any observable secondary tasks.”

Notably, 42 of 65 crashes that involved any form of visual-manual interaction with cell phones involved texting. Hand-held cell phone conversation, location/reaching for/answering the phone, and overall cell phone use (all manner of cell phone use combined) were associated with elevated risk of crash involvement.

Related: America’s roadways need to be digitalized

Assocations between visual-manual cell phone interaction and crash risk tended to be stronger in free-flow traffic and in types of crashes in which the subject driver played a clear role, such as rear-end and road-departure crashes.

While hopes for a world without distracted driving may be ways away, drivers who continue to use their cell phones on the road will remain an issue for the foreseeable future. Until then, drivers must remember that driving is a privilege, and that the road is a shared space between drivers and pedestrians alike.

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Original Article

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Top Holiday Pet Safety Tips

by Jennifer Sonntag on 

The holidays are an exciting time of year full of get togethers, gifts and delicious food. While we’re focused on a season full of parties and fun times, a pet might think differently. Extra noise and visitors can leave pets feeling stressed. As we keep holiday and winter tips in mind for people, there are holiday and winter tips for our furry friends, too.

Here’s what to you need to know to keep pets safe this holiday season.

 

Food

We all know there’s an overabundance of food during the holidays. From sweet treats, to delicious meals, it’s easy to give in to the begging eyes of a four-legged companion. However, it’s important to note that just because food and drinks are people-friendly; it’s not the same for pets. Here’s a list of what foods to avoid giving your pet.

Say no to sweets. We’ve all heard that dark chocolate is dangerous for dogs, however, bread dough and cookie batter are just as dangerous. Dough can actually rise in your pet’s stomach, casing bloating and severe pain. Plus, just like their owners, pets can get salmonella poisoning from raw eggs in cookie batter.

Bones and beyond.  It’s tempting to offer your dog a special holiday “bone” right from the turkey your family just enjoyed. However, bones can get stuck in their intestines if they are brittle. On that note, make sure you dispose of bones carefully, just in case a sensitive nose goes sniffing where it shouldn’t.

Skin from a turkey is also a no-no. The skin is full of fatty juices and butter, and can be difficult for your pet to digest. High-fat foods can also lead to pancreatitis.

H2O only. While we know pets shouldn’t consume anything other than water, you may find your pet taking a sip or two from an unattended glass, filled with an adult beverage. While dogs love the smell of beer, the hops in beer are toxic to a dog’s system.

Spice is not so nice. On your pet’s digestive system that is. Sage is a popular seasoning used at Thanksgiving, and while it’s delicious for pet owners, it can cause pets to have upset stomachs or even more serious digestive trouble.

Nutmeg is another culprit that can wreak havoc on your pet. The popular spice used in pumpkin pie can cause seizures and central nervous system problems if your pet digests it. Pumpkin on its own is a safe treat for pets. Just avoid anything that is seasoned with nutmeg.

 

Decorations

From trimming the tree, to stringing the lights and all the holiday ambiance we create in between, decorations definitely pique pets’ curiosity this time of year. Here’s what to keep in mind when you’re setting up and displaying your holiday décor.

Trimming the tree. Cats have been known for seeing a Christmas tree as the ultimate climbing tower. Make sure your tree is securely anchored to avoid a serious fall. If you have a real tree, it’s important to keep pets away from the tree water, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria, not to mention toxic depending upon the tree food  you use. There are several recipes online for creating your own non-toxic tree food to keep your tree lasting throughout the holiday season.

Tinsel gets tangled. Tinsel is especially dangerous for cats. Its shiny appearance is a magnet for inquisitive cats. However, if ingested, the tinsel can wrap around the intestines or get balled up in the stomach causing severe pain and (expensive) surgical removal.

Ornaments are not toys. Holiday ornaments add an element of beauty and tradition to your Christmas tree, however, it’s important to recognize that glass ornaments could cut your pet’s mouth or digestive system if swallowed or damage their paws if stepped on.  Other ornaments to watch for are homemade salt ornaments. While fun to make, salt ornaments can be fatal to a pet because of the high amount of salt at one time.

DeLIGHTful holidays. Lights are everywhere during the holidays—indoors and out. Try to keep electrical cords out of the reach of pets. Inquiring minds could confuse lights as a new chew toy and end up with a shocking surprise.

Adding spark to the holidays. Make sure your pets steer clear, or better yet, can’t reach any candles this holiday season. While candles are an integral part of holiday celebrations and traditions, our pets aren’t as careful as we are. Make sure candles are out of reach of paws (and tails), or better yet, choose a flameless battery option that you can “light” without worry.

 

 

Holiday Plants

Holiday plants are often purchased or given to enhance a home’s décor during this festive time of year. Here are three popular holiday plants that can be dangerous  to pets.

Forgetta the poinsettia? Actually, this popular Christmas plant isn’t as dangerous for pets as people think, but it can make pets sick.  According to the Pet Poison Helpline, poinsettias have milky white sap that when ingested can cause skin irritation and mild vomiting and drooling. There is a low level of toxicity, if a poinsettia is ingested.

Holly doesn’t equal jolly. Your pet will be feeling anything but jolly, if a holly berry or leaf is ingested. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea could occur almost immediately after your furry friend takes a bite.

Skip the kiss. If you find you and your pet under the mistletoe…run. Mistletoe, while fun to have around, is very dangerous for pets. If ingested, mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems.

Your best bet? Purchase silk or plastic versions of these popular holiday plants to avoid any unwanted trips to the pet ER.

 

 

Seasonal Fun

It’s great to include your pets in family celebrations, holiday parties and holiday road trips. There are special considerations to keep in mind when your pets are involved with your holiday traditions.

Ringing in the New Year. Whether you’re ringing in the New Year with a small group of family or friends, or having a mini Times Square celebration in your house, make sure you think of your pet. Noise makers can scare pets or even cause damage to their sensitive ears, while confetti can get stuck in your cat’s intestines if ingested. An increased number of party-goers can also cause added stress to your pet. It might be a good idea to make sure your pet is in a secure and comfortable place before the clock strikes midnight.

Traveling with pets. From packing their “belongings,” to preparing for travel in a car or plane, pets have their own checklists for travel. Here’s what you need to keep in mind before you travel with your pet this holiday season.

Keeping pets warm. As the temperatures drop, it’s important to think of our four-legged friends. From dressing smaller dogs in sweaters or coats (gift idea perhaps?) to keep them warm, or booties to protect paws of all sizes, there are many “clothing” items and options available to keep our pets warm this winter. If your pet has to be outside during the day, make sure their enclosure is protected from the wind. Finally, keep your pet’s age in mind. Just as humans are more sensitive to the elements as we grow older, so are our pets.

If you’ve read through this post, you know we love our pets! They have special places in our hearts during the holidays and throughout the year. Enjoy this holiday season with your pets (and family).

Make sure everything in your home is covered this holiday season and beyond. Check out the ERIE Difference and see what we’re all about.

A Very Merry Mishap

To ensure that your family is properly protected this Holiday Season, call us at (317) 886-0081 or (317) 420-2867. You can also visit us online at: Lynch Insurance Agency

Zombies and Insurance – An Unlikely Duo

 

With all the buzz around the new season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, what if a literal zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow? While it’s highly unlikely that zombies will really take over, it’s good to know that insurance is there to protect you when things go wrong, like a telephone pole falling on your house or your TV getting fried by an electrical surge.

Zombie and Insurance Video

Learn more about the ways ERIE can cover you and contact an ERIE agent today.

*Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. Deductibles may apply.  See your policy for details or talk to your ERIE Agent.

Koonsman Family: Facing the Unexpected

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To help your family with the unexpected, call us at (317) 420-2867 or visit us at Scott Lynch Agency

Being fit is important to me

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“As a race car driver and athlete, being fit is important to me.” – Danica Patrick. If it’s important to you visit Scott Lynch Agency