Al Cinamon, 53rd Year in Driver Ed

Quality Driving Instruction Since 1965 6-Hr Defensive Driving Classes 5-Hr Pre-Licensing Classes

Page 2


Handicap Parking Spaces

     Is it the worst thing in the world to park in a spot reserved for the handicap, if you’re not handicapped?  Disease, famine and genocide are the worst things in the world.  Taking a parking space from someone who really needs it is not.  However, until rude behavior becomes recognized as a disability, you should find another space.

     The fine for violating this law is from $50 to $75.


Facial Recognition to Catch  “Double Dipping”

     New York and New Jersey are the first states to use facial recognition technology to bust illegal drivers who have licenses in both states – a practice that is illegal.  If one license is suspended they use the valid one – this is called double dipping.

     Three men were caught having two licenses under different names in NY and NJ, but their pictures on both were the same.


     Text Neck Syndrome

An adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds so tilting it forward to look at a phone increases stress on the spine leading to possible surgery.  Another good reason to not text while driving.


Hang-Up and Drive

Hands Free is NOT Risk Free

     A new study from the University of Utah finds that hands-free cell phones are no less dangerous while driving than hand-held cell phones because the conversation itself is the huge distraction.  Drivers talking on cell phones are as impaired as drivers with an .08 percent blood alcohol level (DWI) that defines drunken driving in most states including NY.

     Highway statistics suggest drivers on cell phones are four to six times more likely to crash than non-phone users.  A fatal crash can cost as much as $5 million when adding medical costs and property damage.  It should be noted that states get a percentage of that number in the form of sales and income taxes, which would explain why they are slow to call for an all-out ban on all phones while driving.


Page 3

They are Crashes, Not Accidents –

But the Empire Safety Council

Didn’t Get the Memo


On November 8, the Empire Safety Council held the last in a series of recertification seminars at the Palisades Mall in West Nyack.  William Bonds, president of the organization, presided over the meeting.  He cited NY City’s Vision Zero program which seeks to reduce pedestrian deaths and injuries. 

     Throughout his presentation, he continually used the word “accident” to describe the domestic terrorism that takes place on our streets on a daily basis.  Perhaps, he didn’t get the memo, and probably didn’t receive a T-shirt either. 

     In 2009, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) changed its “Fatal Accident Reporting System” (FARS) to Fatal Analytical Reporting System.  In 2013, NYC and the NYPD wisely decided to substitute the word crash for accident.  "In the past, the term 'accident' has sometimes given the inaccurate impression or connotation that there is no fault or liability associated with a specific event," said then NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

     Transportation Alternative, a safety advocate group, picked up on the theme and held a rally in Union Square Park last summer to promote the idea that they’re Crashes – Not Accidents.  They handed out T-shirts with that slogan.

      In 1987, Al Cinamon realized they were crashes not accidents when he created the following acronym:

“Accidents are Not Accidental!  They are

A avoidable

C crashes

C caused by

I  ignorance

D drunkenness

E errors

N negligence and/or

T thoughtlessness.”

     Back then, Al urged the Empire Safety Council to change the name of its defensive driving classes from “Accident Prevention Workshop” to something on the order of “Traffic Safety Workshop.”  So why would an organization in the business of teaching people how to avoid crashing continue to call them accidents?  The reason given then was the cost involved to change all its forms and letterheads.
     To paraphrase Mr. Bonds in his testimony to the Stated Budget Hearing Committee (see page 1), said, “While cost is always a factor it should not be the main reason for misleading the public.”  I felt that way in 1987 and still do



Page 4                DID YOU KNOW?

Largest Air Bag Recall

     Air bag maker Takata Corp. agreed to declare 33.8 million of its inflator mechanisms defective.  That is double the number of cars and trucks recalled so far making it the largest recall in the history of the National Transportation Safety Board.


End  Texting & Driving

     Research has shown that texting while driving slows a driver’s reaction time more than alcohol or other drugs.  It slow-ed by 46% when making a call on a hand-held phone and by 37% when texting and by 27% when using a hands-free phone.

     A Virginia company is developing a radar gun-like device that would enable police to catch drivers who text.  The gun would detect the unique frequencies that texting emits

     Apple announced that it has developed a way to disable cer-tain functions of a smartphone when the car is in motion.


License Plate Trackers

     Powerful cameras have enabled police to “read” license plates. The readers, which police typically mount on highways and the backs of cruisers can identify vehicles instantly and compare them to a hot list of cars that were stolen or used in crimes. 

    Problem: All cars are tracked whether stolen or not.



City Island Bridge Closed

     The City Island Bridge is now officially closed after 114 years in service. It connected City Island to the rest of the Bronx, but it is being replaced because of age. The new bridge is expected to be finished by 2017. The Department of Transportation is now directing traffic to a temporary bridge. Nostalgia seekers had one last chance to travel over the old bridge in a ceremonial last ride on December 18.


Pedestrian Air-Bags

     Volvo, sold in Europe, is the first car equipped with an external airbag to protect a pedestrian’s head in a crash.  If sensors detect an imminent collision, the airbag deploys from beneath the car’s upper hood to cover a portion of the windshield and windshield pillars.

    In 2018, stricter standards will go into effect providing for the protection of a pedestrian’s head, legs and hip.

     The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering a similar external airbag to protect the pedestrian from striking the hood, but not the windshield or windshield pillars.


A Driving Tax  Pay-Per-Mile

    The highway trust fund, financed with taxes drivers pay at the pump, is broke.  People aren’t buying as much gas as they used to and cars are getting more miles to the gallon.  A solution is to use the information provided by the “black-box” in each car.  It tracks every mile a motorist drives, which can be used by the government to draw up a tax bill.

    California will start tracking cars by 2025.





Page 5          AND WOULD YOU BELIEVE?

Road Rage Detector

     An automotive parts manufacturer has developed a car seat that monitors driver emotions.  The seat detects stress and fatigue via built in seat sensors and then offers a customized treatment to the driver.

     When stressed, the heart rate and respiration increase.  If stress is detected, it’ll activate a soothing massage and a warming sensation that will calm you down.


Inattention Detector

     The Attention Powered Car features a neuro headset that connects brain activity to the car’s engine through customized software.  The headset has 14 sensors detecting electrical activity from the frontal, temple, parietal and perceptual areas of the brain.  The amount of activity in these areas registers what the driver is processing, or if they are zoning out. 

      When the driver is distracted, the software sends a cut-off signal to the car and the accelerator switches to idle safely slowing the car down.  The headset can tell whether a driver’s attention goes from the road to the radio, when their neural activity dips, or when their blink rate slows.  A gyroscope in the headset can also detect when a driver significantly turns their head away from the road.


Drugged Driving

     Marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington and pot related crashes have tripled.  In five or six years, non-alcohol drugs will overtake alcohol to become the most common substance involved in traffic deaths.


Four Kids Strapped to Car

     A Fort Wayne, Indiana man was arrested for driving three blocks with four young children strapped to the hood of his car. His blood alcohol level was .17 percent. He was charged with DWI and felony neglect of minors.


Bump in the Lot

     A 76 year-old Los Angeles man was unloading groceries into his car when his leg bumped a car next to his.  The driver, (described as a fellow in his 20s about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds) accused the man of scratching his car and knocked him to the ground.  He left before the police could arrive.


Grandpa Dies,

Granddaughter Grabs Wheel

     A 63-year old New Jersey man was driving his granddaughter home when he died of a heart attach while his foot was on the accelerator.  As the car was speeding up, the young 12-year old girl undid her seat belt and tried to press the brake with her hand.

   When that didn’t work, she grabbed the steering wheel and pressed on the brake with both feet.  She decided to steer into some trees figuring only she would get hurt, but no one else.  The girl later said she knew what to do because she always watched what people do when they drive.


Drunk Race Car Driver

After being forced out of a race, he re-entered the race and intentionally crashed into another race car.  He was charged with DWI.



Page 6         

Traffic Laws That Can Get You Killed

and what to do to protect yourself.


     It’s shameful, but most of our current traffic laws are more about revenue enhancement than safety.  Lawmakers get away with it by hiding their ulterior motive.  If you go to the State website and click on any of the bills that are being considered for passage, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see the last item: “fiscal implications.”  That lets the lawmakers know if passage of the bill will make money or cost money.  So, the “bottom line” is all about money.  What follows are laws that sound good on the surface but are actually phony:

Seat Belt Law-  $50 fine for not wearing a seat belt.  Parking in the wrong spot will cost you $250 and a tow.  Back seat passengers over 16 are exempt.

REMEDY: All occupants should always wear a seat belt


Cell Phone Law-  Bans holding a cell phone while encouraging talking on a cell phone, which is the real distraction. 

REMEDY: Place the device in the trunk before driving.


Anti-Texting Law-  Bans texting while driving.  What it really does is force a driver to place the device in their lap so the police can’t see them texting. thereby making it a greater distraction.  

REMEDY: Place the device in the trunk before driving.


Ignition-Interlock Law- Convicted drunk drivers must have this device in the car and blow into it to test their BAC before driving and while driving .  Having to blow into it while driving is a distraction! 

REMEDY: Pull over to the side before attempting to blow into the device.  Never drink and drive so this law won’t affect you.


Red Light Camera Law- A picture of you running a red light is mailed to you with a bill to pay the fine.  While it is designed to prevent T-bone intersection collisions, it increases the risk of rear-end collisions.

REMEDY: Heed the yellow warning lights and slow down.  Don’t speed up.


Speed Camera Law- A document saying you were driving 10 mph over the speed limit will be mailed with a bill for payment of the fine.  To make this law a revenue enhancer, the speed limit in NYC was lowered to 25 mph thereby creating more speeders. 

REMEDY:  Always drive slower on city streets…they’re not highways.


New Right-of-way Law-  Drivers who injure or kill pedestrians who were supposed to have the right-of-way can be arrested.  It’s called an “unspecified misdemeanor,” which means it can be pled down to a traffic infraction!  The Senate passed a bill exempting commercial drivers.  REMEDY: Respect the law that requires drivers to yield to pedestrians. 



Page 7     The Ka-Ka Korner:      


It’s Courteous to Wave Somebody On

Or Warn Them of a Speed Trap

     With regard to waving somebody on you need to know that you can’t change the laws.  Only the legislature can do that.  So, for example, when you’re going straight and let a left-turner go first, that’s exactly what you’re doing; changing the law.

     Secondly, you could be held liable if a crash results due to your negligent action.  Therefore, an act of “courtesy” can morph into an act of “negligence.”  Keep in mind that you are not a police officer and are not responsible for directing traffic.  It’s dangerous to do so.  Motorists should drive by the rules so that everyone knows what to expect from others.  “Changing” the rules leads to confusion, which in turn can lead to crashes.

      With regard to flashing lights, in some states flashing lights to warn oncoming drivers on the other side of the road that they’re approaching a police checkpoint or radar equipped patrol car is legal.  It has been held that flashing lights is a matter of free speech protected by the First Amendment.

     In New York, “flashing” is not illegal but “dazzling” is.  New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 375 [3] require that headlamps "shall be operated so that dazzling light does not interfere with the driver of the approaching vehicle."  In 1994, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division held that flipping or flicking high beams at approaching vehicles is insufficient to cause the "dazzling lights" prohibition.  In 2009, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division held that the flashing of lights alone is not a violation of Section 375 [3], that stopping a vehicle based upon that is illegal, and all evidence gathered as a result of the illegal stop should be suppressed





A True Head-On Collision- Two motorists in Germany were driving in opposite directions in heavy fog near the small town of Guetersloh..  Each driver had his head out the window to see the center line and use it as a guide.  At the moment of impact, their heads collided.  Both men were hospitalized with sever head injuries.  Their cars weren’t damaged at all.

Dog Driver- A Chinese woman has been involved in a car crash – because she let her dog drive.  The woman decided to let the dog drive when she noticed how he was leaning on the steering wheel.  She let the dog steer while she operated the pedals.  Almost immediately she collided into another car.

Young Driver- An 8-year-old boy stole his teacher’s car keys when she wasn’t looking and drove home.  He lowered the steering wheel and raised the driver’s seat.  He even adjusted the mirror.  Police were called when a neighbor saw him park the car in front of his home.  No charges were filed but he was suspended from school.




Parents Can Withdraw Consent for Child to have a License or Permit


     NY State Senator Steve Saland announced passage of his bill to require the Department of Motor Vehicles to notify parents that their child, who holds a junior driver’s license or a learner’s permit, has committed a traffic infraction. It also requires that the notice inform parents they have the right to withdraw their consent for their child to continue to hold a junior license or permit.

     "Lack of experience, maturity, or ability sometimes causes teenagers, who are just learning to drive, to commit a traffic infraction," said Senator Saland.  "Many parents are unaware they have the option to withdraw consent to their child holding a junior license or permit.  Statistics show that young drivers are the most likely to be involved in car crashes  it is important that parents know they have the choice to withdraw consent to drive if they feel it is appropriate for their child," added Saland.

      The bill has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.



Truckers Defy Sleep Rules

     In June, when a Walmart truck on the NJ Turnpike, slammed into a car being driven by comedian Tracy Morgan, truckers’ resistance to sleep rules became headline news once again.  The driver of the Walmart truck had not slept in more than 24 hours.

    Federal rules have reduced the maximum workweek for truckers to 70 hours from 82 hours.  Drivers who hit this limit can drive again only after a mandatory 34-hour resting period.

     The main problem is that truckers are usually paid by the mile and have a big incentive to drive as much as possible.  The bigger problem is that drowsy driving is a leading cause of crashes and highway fatalities.



Regulating Map Aids in Vehicles

     The National Transportation Safety Administration is seeking to regulate navigation aids of all types including apps on smartphones.  Last year, the Transportation Department issued voluntary for automakers stipulating that any navigation system should not take more than two second for a single interaction. And 12 seconds total.  At 60 mph, two seconds is 176 feet.  Some have advocate-ed that smartphones should not able to function while a car is in motion.












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