GMC Wins Most Refined Brand Award…Again

Winning the Kelly Blue Book’s (KBB) Brand Image Award is never as easy as some top brand make it look. The honor is issued on an annual basis based on the new-car buyer perception data. KBB announces the vehicle valuation and information and has proven to be a very trusted and reliable source for both consumers and the automotive industry.

The Brand Image Awards is keen to recognize and honor automakers’ outstanding achievements in different ramifications of the industry, ranging from creating to maintaining brand attributes that capture the attention and enthusiasm of the vehicle-buying public.

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It’s Time to Say Goodbye: Death of the Manual Transmission

Depending on how old you are, the death of the manual transmission likely means something different to you. For older generations, drivers grew up on the manual transmission, learning how to properly shift gears while their parents taught them to drive.

For younger generations, this may not be on your radar at all. You may have had a friend or two who drove stick shift during college, and they were considered a rare and cool breed of driver.

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A Look at the Driverless Car Race in AZ

If you happen to live in Arizona, then occasionally coming in contact with driverless or self-driving cars wouldn’t be a surprise to you.

With major auto industry leaders like Uber and Google investing a huge amount of money developing driverless car technology, it is becoming clear that self-driving vehicles may eventually take over the automobile industry, although it will likely take some time for this to happen.

The development of self-driving cars in Arizona could bring about a radical reform in how Arizona cities build, govern, and manage their roads.

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Driving Scams Everyone Should Be Aware Of

Today’s technology has provided seemingly countless advantages for individuals looking to enhance their own lives and increase their work efficiency. On the flip side, however, some of those same technological advances have opened doors for scammers , hackers, and the like.

When it comes to the world of driving, road travel, and car sales, many would hope that the auto industry would be safe from scams. Unfortunately, from getting cheated on taxi rides to uncovering Mastercard data, driving scams exists all over the world. 

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The Specific Areas of Your Car of which You Need to Be Most Aware

How well do you know your car? The possibility of getting into a car accident can be a scary thought looming over the joys of owning and driving a car. However, did you know that taking simple precautions with your vehicle can go a long way in helping you avoid those accidents?

Being aware of the specific areas of your car that can not only warn you of an impending problem allows you to nip it in the bud and also saves you in case of an accident.

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Car Safety: Comparing the Old With the New

It has been an epic battle for advocates of car safety features over a greater part of the past one hundred years. But the car industry has finally reacted to the growing consumer demand and regulatory pressure with various safety inventions and innovations.

In an attempt to produce cars with better safety features, America has begun a long, complex journey that has recorded quite a number of detours and accidents along the way.

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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.

According to a 2017 Traffic Index study by TomTom, a navigation company, Los Angeles is the worst gridlocked city in the U.S., followed by other congested cities such as San Francisco, New York, Seattle, San Jose, Miami, Portland, Honolulu, Washington DC, and Boston, among others.

While you may not be able to avoid the traffic, you can avoid putting yourself through a torturous commute by adding a little spice to your drive.

Try an Audiobook

While audiobooks are convenient to listen to during your commute since you don’t need your hands or eyes to listen to them, audiobooks also make for great companions when you are stuck in traffic. You can grab one that interests you from companies such as Audible, or even rent one from your local public library, and transport yourself to a more enjoyable time period, helping you escape from the tensions and frustration building up inside of you.

Listen to a Cool Podcast

There number of available, FREE podcasts on a wide range of eclectic topics that are informative, educative, interesting, and entertaining is almost too many to count. Take time during your commute to laugh, educate yourself on a topic that interests you, or get caught up in a mystery. Some podcasts that have garnered attention publicly that may be worth checking out are: Serial, Tim Ferriss Show, The Splendid Table, and TED Radio Hour.

Make Use of Technology

Use innovative sites such as iTunes to listen to new music and change up your playlist, especially if you find that you have stuck to the same playlist or radio station for a while. Use this commute as an opportunity to discover new artists! And make sure you pick music that’s upbeat and positive, rather than cathartic, to avoid any road rage incidents.

While moving away from a busy city is always an option, most people would choose to stay put, even if that means a longer commute! So take time to find an outlet that works for you. Happy cruising!

After 24 years, Tent City is Officially Closing

Maricopa County’s newly elected sheriff, Paul Penzone, is making major moves in Arizona. After opening in 1993 by then-sheriff Joe Arpaio, Penzone has decided to officially close the doors on Tent City.

The open-air enclosure was originally used to house overflow from local jails. However, it quickly became a sideshow, with different antics popping up each year. Housing as many as 1,700 inmates at a time on this seven-acre plot of tents, inmates were required to wear stereotypical black-and-white striped prison uniforms and pink underwear, and were served two meatless meals daily.

Beyond the circus antics, those who opposed Tent City believed the prison had inhumane conditions. Located in the Arizona desert, temperatures could reach 110 degrees daily, with temperatures inside of the tent reaching close to 125 degrees. Additionally, many prisoners complained of expired food and water too unclean to drink.

“The image of the tents as a deterrent to recidivism, and as a symbol of being tough on crime may have been true in the past, “ Penzone stated. “Today it is only a myth. Tent City is no longer an effective, efficient facility. It has been effective only as a distraction. The circus is over; the tents are coming down.”

Supporters of Tent City, however, see it a different way. Penzone himself even stated that many prisoners chose to go to Tent City voluntarily because they preferred the outdoors. They also state that very few complained of inhumane conditions listed above.

Regardless of differing opinions, it became clear to the new sheriff that the outdoor prison must close when he realized closing it would save the county about $4.5 million per year. It currently costs the county $8.7 million annually to run the facility regardless of the number of occupants.

According to Penzone’s plan, half of Tent City’s current inmates will be moved elsewhere in the next 45 to 60 days, and he expects to shut down the facility completely in the next six months.

The facility only houses sentenced inmates rather than those who are awaiting trial. An overwhelming majority of those inmates, as well, are DUI offenders.

With Arizona having some of the harshest DUI laws in the nation, many wonder if Tent City was a helpful deterrent for those thinking of drinking and driving, and if there will be any increase in those instances now that the jail will be closed.

Penzone, however, doesn’t think so. He explained, “We’re going to give the criminals what they don’t want, which is detention inside jails in isolated areas, that are more safe for our detention officers. And we’re going to give our taxpayers what they do want, which is an organization that runs efficiently.”

As shifts in power continue on the local and national level, only time will tell as to how these major changes will impact Arizona and its residents.

SB1080 Making Major Changes on Arizona Roads

It looks like Arizona roads are about to become a lot safer, thanks to Senate Bill 1080. On April 20, the Arizona state House gave final approval to legislation banning teens with a learner’s driving permit from texting or making calls from their cell phones behind the wheel. Passing with a 32-24 margin, SB1080 also extends that restriction to the first six months the driver has their actual Class G license, which is reserved for new drivers.

This bill was first introduced to the state senate on January 17, 2017, and just earlier this month, many had doubts that the bill would pass. Rep. Phil Lovas, R-Peoria, who chairs the House Rules Committee, expressed on April 6 that he would refuse to give a hearing to the Senate-passed bill. The Senate had previously approved the bill on a 24-6 margin.

While Lovas claimed that he personally was for the bill, he heard enough concerns from other members to take a bold stance. According to Lovas, once Arizona enacts its first-ever restrictions, no matter how minimal, it potentially becomes easier to expand the law so that more people, not just new drivers, are barred from driving while texting.

This type of thinking is how the term “nanny state” was coined. This describes a situation where the state begins telling people what’s best for them. Those arguments have proven successful in the past, even resulting in lawmakers voting in 1976 to repeal laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.

As it currently stands, Arizona and Montana are the only two states that do not have any restrictions on cell phone use behind the wheel of a vehicle. In fact, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. 37 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice or teen drivers, and 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.

Unlike laws in other states, SB1080 would make cell phone use and driving for new drivers a secondary offense, meaning the driver could only be issued a ticket for it if they had been pulled over for some other reason, such as speeding.

Despite his threat to squash the bill before it reached the state house floor, it was indeed presented and passed, thanks in a large part to Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, who shepherded SB1080 through the Senate. She expressed that the Rules Committee, unlike other panels, is not supposed to debate the policy merits of a measure. Instead, the only issue for that committee to decide is whether a measure is constitutional and in proper form for consideration by the full House, and SB1080 was approved in both areas.

Now, the bill just needs one remaining signature to become law—Governor Doug Ducey’s. Ducey, who has three sons, two of whom are of driving age, finds this to be a personal bill to him.

That, partnered with the sad statistic that 11 teens die nationally every day while texting and driving, pushes many to believe that Ducey will sign the bill without any hesitation.

While a AAA study found that 94 percent of teen drivers recognize the danger of texting and driving, 35 percent admit to doing it anyways. This gives merit to the importance of the bill and getting it passed.

Ducey is expected to make a decision shortly, so be sure to follow the story for more updates in the coming days.