April Is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Enforcement, awareness effort aims to save thousands killed in distraction-related crashes

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today kicked off Distracted Driving Awareness month, which began April 1, by announcing the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” National Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign. From April 10-15, state and local law enforcement will aggressively ticket drivers who are texting or using their mobile devices when behind the wheel. The Secretary made the announcement in Washington, D.C., where young drivers demonstrated the dangers of distracted driving on a temporary test track. Secretary Foxx was joined by Mark Rosekind, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Distracted driving kills, there is no excuse for it, and it must stop,” said Secretary Foxx. “Across the country, we’re putting distracted drivers on notice: U Drive. U Text. U Pay. Texting and driving will at least cost you the price of a ticket but it could very well cost you your life or someone else’s.”

Based on fatal accident reports, NHTSA data shows that at least 3,154 people were killed in crashes involving all distracted drivers in 2013, including those who were texting and driving. NHTSA estimates that 424,000 Americans were injured in all distraction-affected crashes in 2013.

Key statistical findings in NHTSA’s new Distracted Driving Traffic Safety Facts and Teen Distracted Driver fact sheet include:
◾Ten percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2013 were reported as distraction-affected crashes, which are defined as any crash in which a driver was identified as distracted at the time of the crash.
◾Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crash.
◾244 Americans aged 15 to 19 were killed in distraction-affected crashes.
◾In 2013, there were 480 non-occupants killed in distraction-affected crashes.

“Young people need to understand the dangers of texting and driving before it kills them or someone they love,” said Administrator Rosekind. “It’s up to us as parents to set the right example by never texting and driving ourselves, and by laying down the law for our young drivers: no texting behind the wheel or no keys to the car. These are driving safety lessons that young drivers will carry with them throughout their lives.”

The awareness effort is supported by a $5 million national television, radio and digital advertising campaign, which runs from April 6-15, and reminds the public of the deadly consequences of distracted driving, and the financial penalties for violating state distracted driving laws. Ads will run in English and Spanish.

Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for drivers of all ages; 14 states and territories prohibit drivers of all ages from using hand-held cell phones while driving; and 38 states plus the District of Columbia ban cell phone use by novice drivers. Two states, Oklahoma and Texas, restrict school bus drivers from texting.

To prevent distracted driving, motorists are urged to:
◾Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
◾Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
◾Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
◾Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against other unsafe drivers.

avatar-justdrive-dark

Ohioans Report Scam Calls from “911”

Callers Threaten Consumers with Legal Action and Demand Immediate Response

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Attorney General Mike DeWine today warned Ohioans about scam calls that appear to come from the phone number “911” and instruct consumers to contact the Attorney General’s Office to avoid arrest or legal action.

DeWine’s office has received approximately 20 reports of the scam in 2015, with most filed this month.

The scam begins when consumers receive a phone call that displays “911” on their caller ID. When they answer the call, consumers are told that a warrant will be issued for their arrest or a lawsuit will be filed against them unless they contact the Attorney General’s Office immediately using a number provided by the caller.

In reality, the calls are not coming from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or from 911 dispatchers.

“This appears to be a phone scam designed to scare consumers into providing money or personal information,” Attorney General DeWine said. “If you receive one of these calls, don’t respond to it and don’t dial the number the caller provides. Instead, hang up and report the call to my office.”

Recent reports of the 911-caller ID scams have come from consumers in Butler, Clinton, Cuyahoga, Erie, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, Seneca, Stark, Summit, and Union counties, but additional consumers likely have been affected.

Although “911” appears on the consumer’s caller ID, that number is likely spoofed — meaning a scammer has manipulated the consumer’s caller ID to make it seem as if the call is coming from emergency personnel or law enforcement while concealing the true origin of the call.

To protect themselves from phone scams, consumers should:
•Be skeptical of the phone number that appears on caller ID. It could be spoofed.
•When in doubt, hang up or don’t answer a call.
•Don’t respond to suspicious calls. Even if the call prompts you dial a certain number to avoid arrest or to press a button to “opt out,” don’t do it. This could cause you to receive more calls, because it signals that yours is a legitimate phone number.
•Never provide money or personal information to someone who calls you unexpectedly and demands payment, even if it appears to be an emergency call or a call from the government.
•Don’t trust someone who says you have to pay off a debt by using a prepaid card or wire transfer. These are preferred payment methods for scam artists, because once the money is sent, it is difficult to trace or recover.
scam

Ohio Move Over Law

4511.213 Approaching stationary public safety vehicle displaying emergency light.

(A) The driver of a motor vehicle, upon approaching a stationary public safety vehicle, emergency vehicle, road service vehicle, vehicle used by the public utilities commission to conduct motor vehicle inspections in accordance with sections 4923.04 and 4923.06 of the Revised Code, or a highway maintenance vehicle that is displaying the appropriate visual signals by means of flashing, oscillating, or rotating lights, as prescribed in section 4513.17 of the Revised Code, shall do either of the following:

(1) If the driver of the motor vehicle is traveling on a highway that consists of at least two lanes that carry traffic in the same direction of travel as that of the driver’s motor vehicle, the driver shall proceed with due caution and, if possible and with due regard to the road, weather, and traffic conditions, shall change lanes into a lane that is not adjacent to that of the stationary public safety vehicle, emergency vehicle, road service vehicle, vehicle used by the public utilities commission to conduct motor vehicle inspections in accordance with sections 4923.04 and 4923.06 of the Revised Code, or a highway maintenance vehicle.

(2) If the driver is not traveling on a highway of a type described in division (A)(1) of this section, or if the driver is traveling on a highway of that type but it is not possible to change lanes or if to do so would be unsafe, the driver shall proceed with due caution, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle, and maintain a safe speed for the road, weather, and traffic conditions.

(B) This section does not relieve the driver of a public safety vehicle, emergency vehicle, road service vehicle, vehicle used by the public utilities commission to conduct motor vehicle inspections in accordance with sections 4923.04 and 4923.06 of the Revised Code, or a highway maintenance vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and property upon the highway.

(C) No person shall fail to drive a motor vehicle in compliance with division (A)(1) or (2) of this section when so required by division (A) of this section.

(D)

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

(2) Notwithstanding section 2929.28 of the Revised Code, upon a finding that a person operated a motor vehicle in violation of division (C) of this section, the court, in addition to all other penalties provided by law, shall impose a fine of two times the usual amount imposed for the violation.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 57, SB 137, §1, eff. 12/19/2013.

Effective Date: 01-01-2004; 2009 HB2 07-01-2009

Related Legislative Provision: See 130th General Assembly File No. 57, SB 137, §4.

Operation Lifesaver notes increase in 2014 crossing and trespass fatalities

WASHINGTON, DC, March 11, 2015 – Vehicle-train collisions and deaths at highway-rail grade crossings and from pedestrians trespassing on railroad tracks rose across the U.S. in 2014, while crossing-related injuries and rail trespass injuries were lower compared to 2013, Joyce Rose, the President and CEO of Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) said today.

The national nonprofit rail safety education organization cited preliminary 2014 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics showing that U.S. crossing collisions rose 8.8 percent in 2014, to 2,280 from 2,096 in 2013; crossing fatalities increased 15.6 percent to 267 vs. 231 in 2013; and crossing injuries fell 14.4 percent to 832 from 972 in 2013. Fatalities caused by persons trespassing on railroad tracks and property surged 21.8 percent in 2014 to 526 (vs. 432 in 2013), while trespass injuries dropped 2.8 percent in 2014 to 419 (vs. 431 in 2013).

For 2014, the rail trespass casualty rate (deaths and injuries per million train-miles) is 1.23, its highest level in the last decade, and the highway-rail incident rate (incidents per million train-miles) is 2.98, the highest since 2008, Rose noted.

“Historically, highway-rail grade crossing collisions have dropped greatly in recent decades,” Rose pointed out. “While the number of people injured in crossing crashes and pedestrian-train incidents dropped in 2014, the statistics show that challenges remain in our mission to educate a busy, distracted public about the need for caution at train tracks,” said Rose.

States with the most crossing collisions in 2014 were Texas, Illinois, California, Indiana and Georgia. States with the most pedestrian-train casualties (deaths and injuries combined) in 2014 were California, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York.

“These preliminary 2014 statistics demonstrate the continuing need to raise public awareness through our national ‘See Tracks? Think Train!’ campaign ,” Rose continued. “Operation Lifesaver, in partnership with major freight railroads, commuter and light rail systems, state and local law enforcement, and transportation agencies, will be expanding the campaign and developing new educational materials to encourage Americans to make safe decisions around tracks and trains,” she concluded.

About Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver’s mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of trained volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety. Learn more at http://www.oli.org ; follow OLI on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram and Pinterest .

Testing City Phone Lines

On Tuesday March 10th, 2015 between 7 pm and 9 pm the business line for the Bryan Police Department will undergo testing. There could be some outages on this line.

Our business non emergency number is 419-633-6050.

The testing will be for Primary Rate Interface (PRI)

This should not cause trouble with the 9-1-1 system. If you have trouble calling us on the business line during this time frame and need police assistance please use the 9-1-1 system.

Drowsy Driving – Who’s Most at Risk?

Anyone who drives is at risk of falling asleep at the wheel, but some groups of people are more at risk than others. They include:

• Young drivers – Combining inexperience with
sleepiness and a tendency to drive at night
puts young people at risk, especially males
aged 16-25 years.

• Shift workers and people working long
hours – People who work night shifts,
rotating shifts, double shifts or work more
than one job have a six-fold increase in drowsy
driving crashes.

• Commercial drivers – Those who drive a high
number of miles and drive at night are at
significantly higher risk for fall-asleep crashes.
Commercial drivers have also been found to
be at a high risk for sleep disorders.

• People with untreated sleep disorders
such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) –
People with untreated OSA are up to seven
times more likely to have a drowsy driving
crash. For some people insomnia can
increase fatigue.

• Business travelers – Frequent travelers who
may be suffering from jet lag and crossing time
zones, spending long hours behind the wheel
or getting too little sleep.
continued

Facts About Drowsy Driving
DDPW_banner_2http://www.DrowsyDriving.org

BBB Top Ten Scams of 2014

Better Business Bureau hears from thousands of consumers and business owners every year about a variety of scams and frauds. Many are new twists on existing scams, but scammers get more sophisticated every year in how they spoof trusted names and how they fool consumers.

While BBB doesn’t have specific numbers about how many people were defrauded or for how much, here are the scams we think were most pervasive this past year:

#10 Sweepstakes Scam: You’ve won a contest! Or the lottery! Or the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes! All you have to do to claim your prize is to pay some fees or taxes in advance so they can release your prize… This is not a new scam, but it is a perennial problem.

#9 Click Bait Scam: This one takes many forms, but the most notorious of the past year was when the Malaysian Airline plane went missing (“click here for video”). Other click bait schemes use celebrity images, fake news, and other enticing stories to get you to unintentionally download malware.

#8 Robocall Scam: The notorious “Rachel from Cardholder Services” made a resurgence in 2014. This scam claims to be able to lower your credit card interest rates and takes personal information – including your credit card number – and then charges fees to your card.

#7 Government Grant Scam: You get a call saying you’ve been awarded a government grant for thousands of dollars. It may even mention a program you’ve heard about in the news. All you have to do to collect your grant is pay a couple hundred in fees by wire transfer or prepaid debit card…

#6 Emergency Scam: This one is sometimes called the “grandparent scam” because it often preys on older consumers. You get a call or email from your grandchild or other relative who was injured, robbed or arrested while traveling overseas and needs money ASAP.

#5 Medical Alert Scam: Another one that preys on older folks. You get a call or a visit from a company claiming a concerned family member ordered you a medical alert device in case you have an emergency. They take your credit card or banking information but you never receive anything.

#4 Copycat Website Scam: You get an email, text message or social media post about a terrific sale or exciting new product. You click through and it looks just like a popular retailer’s site. But when you order, you either get a cheap counterfeit or nothing at all… and now they have your credit card number!

#3 “Are You Calling Yourself?” Scam: Scammers can make a call look like it’s coming from anywhere. The latest trick puts your number in the Caller ID, which piques your curiosity and gets you to pick up the phone or return the call… and then they’ve snagged you in whatever scam they are running.

It was almost a tie for the top spot this year, because BBB sees this one every day:

#2 Tech Support Scam: You get a call or a pop-up on your computer claiming to be from Microsoft (or Norton, or Apple) about a problem on your computer. They say if you give “tech support” access to your hard drive, they can fix it. Instead, they install malware on your computer and start stealing your personal information.

And the top Scam of the Year, because it’s just so terrifying, is:

#1 Arrest Scam: You receive an ominous phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer or government agent (often the IRS in the United States or the CRA in Canada). They are coming to arrest you for overdue taxes or for skipping out on jury duty… but you can avoid it by sending them money via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. Another variation on this is that you’ll be arrested for an overdue payday loan. Whatever the “violation,” it’s scary to be threatened with arrest, and many people pay out of fear.

Why Scams Work:

There is a science to scams, and it may surprise you to know that scammers use many of the same techniques as legitimate sales professionals. The difference, of course, is that their “product” is illegal and could cost you a fortune. Here are the major techniques they use to draw you in:

Establishing a connection: The scammer builds rapport and a relationship with you. This is usually used face-to-face, as in home improvement scams and many investment scams, but also online romance scams.

Source credibility: The scammer uses techniques to make themselves look legitimate, such as fake websites or hacked emails that come from a friend’s account. Most email phishing scams spoof real companies, and many scammers pretend to be someone they are not in order to add credibility.

Playing on emotions: Scammers rely on emotion to get you to make a quick decision before you have time to think about it. An emergency situation or a limited time offer is usually their methodology. They count on emotional rather than rational decision-making.

What You Can Do:
•Don’t be pressured into making fast decisions.
•Take time to research the organization. Check them out on bbb.org, search online, etc.
•Never provide your personal information (address, date-of-birth, banking information, ID numbers) to people you do not know.
•Don’t click on links from unsolicited email or text messages.
•If you are unsure about a call or email that claims to be from your bank, utility company, etc., call the business from the number on your bill or the back of your credit card.
•Never send money by wire transfer or prepaid debit card to someone you don’t know or haven’t met in person.
•Never send money for an emergency situation unless you’ve been able to verify the emergency.

For more information:
•For more information on these and other scams, go to BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam). Sign up for our weekly Scam Alerts to learn about new scams when we do. You can report scams here, too.
•For more information on investment scams, go to BBB Smart Investing, a partnership with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.
•To search for a business in the U.S. or Canada, or to find your local BBB, go to BBB.org.
•For information on charities, go to Give.org (BBB Wise Giving Alliance).
•For information on U.S. government services, go to: USA.gov.
•For information on Canadian government services, go to Service Canada.