Archive for February, 2014

Texting and Driving Must Stop!

Posted: February 25, 2014 in Automobile


There is something out on the roads, a great evil that is looming. One so powerful it strikes fear into the hearts of men, one so dangerous it puts lives at risk. And, the worst of it is, most of us have done it at some point. This is the scourge known as texting and driving. According to the statistics gathered by the state of California, in 2011 23% of all accidents involved cell phones. That percentage is split into texting, dialing, talking, and reaching for the phone. With phones causing 1 in 4 accidents, they are a very serious matter.


A large survey found that the biggest culprits were teens. 34% of that group says that they do in fact text and drive, and that’s just the ones willing to admit it. I say willing to admit because while only 34% admit they text and drive, 77% of all teenagers and young adults are confident in their abilities to text and drive at the same time. This number jumps down to 55% with adults. Having half of the adult population being comfortable with having their eyes off the road for large periods of time is quite disturbing. A few seconds may not seem like a long time, but it is relative to the speed that the car is going. In the 5 seconds that your eyes are off the road, at 55 mph, you would have roughly gone the length of a football field.


There are many methods being put in place to get this issue under control but so far the effects are minor. Ten states entirely prohibit cell phone use and 39 prohibit it for texting purposes. A few states such as Arizona and Florida have no laws regarding cell phone use. Since the large culprits are young people efforts have been put into technologies to help parents keep them on the right track. The Drivecam, something out of George Orwell’s 1984, provides real-time feedback of the vehicles driver so you can track your kids everywhere. AT&T’s ‘Drive Mode,’ an app which locks the phone until the destination is reached. Finally there is the ‘Text-Free-Driving Pledge,’ which you can find here


Remember, texting and driving is incredibly dangerous no matter who you are. Some texters are willing to become hypocrites, they’ll see another driver looking around their car for something and say ‘that guy is unsafe, he isn’t looking at the road’ but when their phone vibrates they almost have an instinctive need to look. We must use common sense and wisdom to combat this, and we must pass these values to new drivers. If we want our roads to be safe texting and driving must stop!






Aftermarket is described as “any market where customers who are searching to buy one product or service are likely to buy a related, follow-on product.” This simply means aftermarket products are made by other manufacturers outside of the original one, and are not directly affiliated with that manufacturer. The quality and legitimacy of these products has significant ranges, from cheap ‘knock-off’ purses which are coming apart at the seams in swap meets, to unofficial iPhone accessories available for purchase at the Apple Store. A case purchased for an iPhone not made by Apple is an aftermarket case.


Just like generic drugs flood pharmacies a year or two after the original drug becomes available, aftermarket parts have become a huge part of the auto industry. A friend of mine recently destroyed the bumper of his Toyota Camry and he asked me whether or not aftermarket was ‘bad,’ and I gave him a response similar to the paragraph above. His next question was “well, how are the aftermarket parts? Are they the cheap knock-offs or the iPhone cases?”


Aftermarket automobile parts range in quality quite drastically. You could order a part and have absolutely no problems, or, in the case of bad bumpers, you’ll find the plastic molded and warped in such a way that it doesn’t fit. Sometimes it does fit but it’s not stable, or the bumper sticks out somewhere ruining the smooth design of the car, leaving an unwanted eyesore. A lower risk is in CAPA certified parts. The Certified Automotive Parts Association performs dealer-style tests, testing resilience, flexibility, dimensions, and many others factors of each aftermarket part they receive. This guarantees that pretty much all CAPA certified parts are as good as dealer parts. Common sense dictates this isn’t always the case and you should still check your new part for any deformities or problems and be sure to ask for an exchange in the event of any problems.


After this my buddy gave it some thought. Since his car was almost sixteen years old and the paint had faded quite a bit he decided that he didn’t give a damn what it looked like as long as he and the inner structure were protected. This is the quintessential use of aftermarket parts: they have to fit you and your situation. Another example is a business using aftermarket parts for its damaged work vehicles, where aesthetics don’t matter but the safety of the vehicle and the driver does.


Then there are cases that are not as positive, such as your insurance carrier who is paying for a repair on your brand new vehicle insists that aftermarket parts replacement is in your policy. Those cases sometime end up in court


Whatever the case may be, now that you are armed with knowledge, you can make a decision whether aftermarket parts is the right option for you. Remember it is your vehicle and your  decision.