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IIHS issues first crash avoidance ratings under new test program; 7 midsize vehicles earn top marks for front crash prevention

ARLINGTON, Va. — A new test program by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the performance of front crash prevention systems to help consumers decide which features to consider and encourage automakers to speed adoption of the technology. The rating system is based on research by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) indicating that forward collision warning and automatic braking systems are helping drivers avoid front-to-rear crashes.
The Institute rates models with optional or standard front crash prevention systems as superior, advanced or basic depending on whether they offer autonomous braking, or autobrake, and, if so, how effective it is in tests at 12 and 25 mph.

Traffic Tickets and Auto Insurance Rates

Every company has a different policy when it comes to traffic tickets. Some will raise your rates for three years, and others may apply a surcharge for the first year―one that will be removed if you have no more speeding tickets or other traffic infractions on your driving record.
When you get a traffic ticket, however, it's good to have a positive relationship with your insurance company. Many car insurance companies won't raise your rates after one ticket if you've been a loyal customer with a previously clean driving record.

Take Advantage of Low-mileage and Safe-driver Discounts

Some motorists receive a low-mileage discount from their insurers for driving a lower than average number of miles per year. These discounts also often apply to drivers who carpool. And, if you're a safe driver, and you have not had any accidents or moving violations in a number of years, many companies will reward you with a safe-driver discount. If you've recently taken a defensive driving course, you may also receive a price reduction.
To save money on your insurance premiums, business auto insurance is something to ask about. You may be eligible for insurance through your employer, or through professional or business groups and other associations you are involved in. You should also closely monitor your credit rating because your credit may affect the price you pay for insurance. No matter what, always shop around and compare prices. This is the most effective way to save money on auto insurance!

Want to Lose Weight? Chew More

The more you chew, the less you eat, according to new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study involved 30 men--16 skinny, 14 obese--who were videotaped while eating a meal. The researchers guessed that the skinnier subjects would chew each bite more thoroughly than the heavier subjects. It turns out they were right.
During the next experiment, the subjects were instructed to chew each bite 15 times, while another experiment they were asked to chew 40 times.

Last week, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released a top-10 list of the most frequently stolen vehicles in the United States.

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For 2010, the most frequently stolen vehicles are as follows:                    
  1. 1994 Honda Accord
  2. 1995 Honda Civic
  3. 1991 Toyota Camry
  4. 1999 Chevrolet Pickup
  5. 1997 Ford F150 Series
  6. 2004 Dodge Ram
  7. 2000 Dodge Caravan
  8. 1994 Acura Integra
  9. 2002 Ford Explorer
  10. 1999 Ford Taurus

Why Isn't Texting While Driving as Taboo as Driving Drunk?

Research has shown that a driver texting while behind the wheel is as dangerous as a drunk driver. In fact, drivers who send texts while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident than those who don't.
Yet, for whatever reason, texting while driving is still deemed acceptable by many drivers while drunk driving is considered taboo.

A recent articlefrom the Insurance Journal explores this issue in-depth. It draws striking similarities between texting behind the wheel and driving drunk.

The California Low Cost Automobile Insurance

In today’s economy, all Californians — especially students — are looking to save money. The California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA) provides affordable liability-only auto insurance that meets the state’s financial responsibility laws for less than $400 a year.“The CLCA is a great resource for many Californians, but it can be especially helpful for college students, who often qualify and are looking for ways to stretch their budget,” said Commissioner Jones. “For as little as $22 a month, students can get liability insurance through the CLCA program – satisfying California’s insurance requirements.