Jenny Chiem – A-1 Driving School

Bus Rules Amid COVID-19

Many Georgia students began returning to in-person classes this week for the 2020-21 school year, following statewide school closures in March that prompted students to complete courses online.

Across the nation, school districts have been struggling to find the safest, most effective way to return to class this fall.

Putting your child on the bus for the first day of school is always a leap of faith for a parent.

Now, on top of the usual worries about youngsters adjusting to new teachers and classmates, there’s COVID-19.

Many districts will require their drivers to take on even more responsibilities during the 2020-21 school year, including completing student health screenings before children board, taking temperatures, enforcing mask requirements, and determining whether students need to be isolated if they show signs of illness during a ride.

Photo: Google Images

Always Stop for a School Bus, when…

  1. Approaching behind a school bus when its’ lights flash yellow and red.
  2. Driving on either side of a 2-lane highway, both sides of traffic must always stop! for a stopped school bus.

Never Stop for a School Bus, when…

  1. Driving on the opposite side of traffic, on a 4-lane highway.

This is the common mistake most motorists make when approaching a stopped school bus.

If you are driving on the opposite side of the traffic of a school bus, on a 4-lane highway, always proceed with caution, but always keep moving! Stopping will impede traffic and may cause accidents.

To combat careless driving in school zones and bus routes, law enforcement has increased between 6:00 am to 9:00 am and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

For more safe driving information or safe driving practices, A-1 Driving Schools has 19 convenient locations around metro Atlanta that all offer defensive driving courses!

For more information please call (770)962-9555 or visit us at www.a1drivingschools.com!

Americans Are Saving by Not Commuting

The pandemic lockdown has ruined the work commute. As the number of miles people travel every day has collapsed, commuters have found themselves saving.

In June, Americans traveled nearly 37 billion fewer miles than in the same month last year, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Usually, the number of miles traveled peaks in the summer when people go on vacation, but of course, this summer is different.

That’s translating to a lot of cost savings: Workers who once commuted by car but now work from home are saving a total of $758 million per day, according to research from freelancing platform Upwork. Over the months since the pandemic hit the US, that figure amounts to a cumulative $90 billion.

The savings comprise gas, car maintenance, and repairs, as well as the costs that driving imposes on society, such as congestion and polluting, said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork.

Photo: Google Images

 

 

If you want an additional way to save money and you also have a clean driving record for 3 years, you may take the 6-hour Defensive Driving Program to receive a 10% -15% discount on your auto insurance premium. The insurance discount percentage is determined by your insurance company.

Whether you have been driving for years or you are a brand new driver, A-1 offers classes that will help you brush up on some rules and regulations before it’s too late.

For more information about class schedules or to see A-1’s 19 convenient locations call (770)962-9555 or visit us at www.a1drivingschools.com!

Teen Driver Safety

The 100 days that fill the gap between Memorial Day and Labor Day may be known as some of the most fun for teens, who spend their summer breaks traveling from one destination to the next, but for public safety experts, those 100 days signify something much different.

For public safety experts, those 100 days represent the most dangerous, or deadliest, days for teen drivers. The Michigan State Police Office of Highway Safety Patrol’s latest campaign is taking aim alongside AAA — which created the nationwide campaign — to educate teen drivers and decrease the risk they face on the road.

“Here in Michigan we’re using social media to reach these young people and their parents. Through Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, we’re sending social media messages to reach out and help educate these teens to become safer drivers and to make fewer risky choices,” said Office of Highway Safety Patrol Communications Manager Kendall Wingrove.

Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens nationwide, Wingrove said, adding that 129 teens ages 15-20 died from car collisions in 2019. Preliminary data compiled by MSP’s Traffic Crash Reporting Unit shows 13 teens ages 15-20 have passed away since Memorial Day this year.

Adding to that statewide overview, a press release from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates more than 8,300 people have died between 2008 and 2018 in car collisions that involved teens during the 100 most dangerous days.

The reason teen drivers are at such greater risk over their adult counterparts can’t be boiled down to just one risk factor.

“It’s things like inexperience, critical decision errors, distractions, nighttime driving (and) low seatbelt use. There’s no one single thing, just a variety of all these factors,” Wingrove said.

Michigan Auto Law attorney Brandon Hewitt echoed the risks that inexperience can pose for teen drivers.

“The understanding of how even a slight increase in speed can affect the impacts of a crash; their lack of experience in understanding traffic patterns; understanding and perceiving speeds of other vehicles,” he said. “It really comes down to a lack of experience and appreciation for how dangerous vehicles are.”

But Troy Police Sgt. Meghan Lehman might argue those points. As one of the first municipalities in metro Detroit to pass a distracted driving ordinance back in 2009, she said her department commends young drivers in the city for their attention to safety, particularly now, when school, activities and other structure is somewhat shaken by the pandemic.

“Compared to previous years, we’re seeing less risk taking and dangerous driving among teens,” she said.

The summer isn’t over quite yet, so the statistics aren’t in for 2020. But in 2019, the Troy Police Department issued 543 citations and warnings for distracted driving to drivers of all ages.

And the offenders often aren’t who you would think.

“On the whole, distracted driving remains a problem. We mainly see adults — experienced drivers — using texting and driving,” Lehman explained. “Teens have received more education about distracted driving and understand the risks. In some cases, teens could give their parents some advice.”

Tom Mitchell, the lead instructor at Top Driver Driving School in Farmington, said he teaches his students about the 100 dangerous days and how to avoid the potentially fatal risks.

The biggest risk factor Mitchell finds with his students these days is cellphone use on the road. He teaches his students that even though they’re paying attention, they’re still vulnerable if another driver is on their phone and not paying attention. With higher traffic volumes today and more people in a rush to get from point A to B, he reminds his students that “you really have to be focused all the time.”

Mitchell said he also teaches his students about the distractions caused by having food in the car, having too many passengers and daydreaming. He keeps them updated on new safety features in vehicles and how they should be used.

“You have all kinds of distractions in a car on a daily basis. You could just be driving two or three miles and you could be distracted the entire time.”

The COVID-19 pandemic adds yet another factor Wingrove and Hewitt are anticipating will have a number of impacts on the data surrounding the 100 deadliest days.

It may be too early for Wingrove to predict exactly what outcomes will be seen, but he noted that despite there being fewer crashes this year, the severity of the crashes has kept the fatality rate pretty close to equal that of last year.

There’s also a false perception that fewer cars on the road means it’s OK to drive faster, Hewitt added. As teens are no longer cooped up inside under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Safer at Home order, Hewitt believes their pent up energy and the lack of traffic may leave teens “feeling emboldened to drive faster.”

In Troy, that has actually turned out to be true, Lehman said. With most people working from home, overall traffic volume remains down, and as a result, violations and crashes are down too.

“Road patrol officers are still on patrol, and (they’re) ready to address dangerous driving,” she said. “Our focus is always on the violations that lead to crashes, like distracted driving.”

On top of that, Wingrove fears that teen drivers especially, but all drivers, may have inadvertently unlearned some of their good driving habits after being off the road for so long.

Hewitt’s message for teens is simply a reminder to be careful and to know they’re not invincible. For parents, Hewiit has a different message.

“When we ask (teens) if they think their parents drive unsafely or distracted, there’s a great majority who say yes. Teens are learning to drive distracted and speed from their parents,” he said. “Teens don’t want to be preached to, so our best advice to the parents is to model good behavior, have honest talks with your teens, (and) have a driver’s agreement with them that they’re going to be safe.”

DDS Receives Funding Dedicated to Teen Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program

Photo: Google Images

Department of Driver Services (DDS) Commissioner Spencer R. Moore recently announced the receipt of a grant award of $50,182.86 from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) for the continued support of the State of Georgia Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP).

ADAP is a course designed to increase awareness among teens of the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol and the consequences of operating a motor vehicle while impaired or distracted.

“We are grateful for the continued help and support received from GOHS to address the risks associated with operating a motor vehicle while impaired,” said Commissioner Moore. “This partnership allows us to bring this important program to teen drivers and their parents throughout the state and ultimately make our roads safer.”

Teens drivers, by law, under the age of 18 are required to complete ADAP to obtain their Class D Georgia driver’s license!

In 2019, 129,346 students completed the program either at their high school, as part of a driver training course, or online through eADAP.

This grant award will be used to fund an Operations Analyst who provides technical assistance related to ADAP and eADAP services, responds to customer emails and telephone calls, maintains close communication with instructors, assist teens with obtaining replacement certificates, produces comprehensive reports and trains instructors to teach the ADAP curriculum.

For more information about our alcohol and drug awareness class schedules or to see A-1’s 19 convenient locations call (770)962-9555 or visit us at www.a1drivingschools.com!

Safety Tips For Driving in The Rain

Photo: Google Images

Tips for Driving in the Rain

1. Double Check Your Car’s Equipment

Make sure that your car’s equipment is in working order before encountering rainy weather. Check your headlights, taillights, and windshield wipers to make sure that they will work efficiently when they are needed. Also, check the tread of your vehicle’s tires. Balding tires can severely reduce traction on wet roadways.

2. Slow Down

Not only should you adhere to the posted speed limit when driving in wet weather conditions, but you should also drive considerably slower than you normally would. Wet roads are very dangerous. Your vehicle’s reaction time is much slower when it is raining. Reduced speed is imperative in rainy weather.

3. Turn On Your Headlights

Most states require drivers to turn on their vehicles’ lights while driving in rain. Even if it is only misting, turning on your vehicle’s headlights will increase both your own visibility and other drivers’ ability to see your car on the road.

4. Maintain a Safe Distance Between Cars

Keep a greater distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. Stopping your vehicle will be more difficult when driving in the rain. Maintain a distance of several car lengths between your car and other vehicles.

4. Avoid Heavy Breaking

Try to slow your vehicle by taking your foot off the accelerator earlier than you normally would in preparation to slow down or stop. Don’t use cruise control so your attention on using both the gas and brake is in tune.

5. Watch Out For Standing Water

Driving through standing water can cause hydroplaning to occur. Which is when you lose traction and skid across the surface of the road. To avoid hydroplaning, drive around places where water has collected by changing lanes or safely steering around such areas.

6. Let Off The Gas When Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning is one of the most common car accidents in the rain because drivers can lose control. If your car hydroplanes, calmly take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction that the front of your car needs to go. Avoid making sudden turns or slamming on your brakes.

Staying safe while driving in the rain is simple if you make a conscious effort to employ these safety precautions. Remember that reducing your speed and turning on your lights are two of the simplest and most effective ways of reducing the chances of an accident caused by wet weather!

Consider taking a driving course at A-1 if you are interested in learning more rules and regulations such as these. There is a lot of very useful and informative information in the class and it will apply whether you have been driving for years or you are a brand new driver.

The same safe driving practices that are taught in A-1’s Defensive Driving Class can be applied to be a safe driver in a car and on a motorcycle!

For more information about class schedules or to see A-1’s 19 convenient locations call (770)962-9555 or visit us at www.a1drivingschools.com!

New Drivers

The first couple of years of driving for a teenager are statistically the most dangerous of all. Teen drivers can lower their car crash risk by enrolling in a defensive driving course!

Photo: Google Images

Teen drivers that graduate a defensive driving course can get the following benefits:

  • Learning the fundamentals of driving
    • Teen drives will learn the traffic rules in a systemic way.
  • Builds confidence
    • The first time behind the wheels can be a scary or stressful experience for a teen driver. Teen drivers can practice in a safe environment, where they can build confidence in their abilities and skills as they learn how to drive with the help of an experienced driver.
  • Shows them the risks
    • Teen drivers need to be aware that driving is dangerous. Being too nervous is dangerous, but if a teen driver is not nervous at all, it means he is not aware of how risky driving can be. Teens will learn how dangerous driving can be and what risks are involved. They will also learn how to avoid those risks.
  • Learning the consequences
    • In this course, teens will learn about the effects of driving under influence (DUI). Teen drivers will also learn they will have to take responsibility for their safety and the safety of others.
  • Practice time
    • Teenagers will practice their driving skills in a safe, supervised environment. Teen drivers can learn driving techniques from qualified instructors and can develop their skills.
  • Learn the state’s laws
    • Traffic laws differ from one state to another. Depending on which state the teen driver is taking the course, he will be presented with the laws of that state.
  • Cheaper insurance premiums
    • Insurance companies place the teen drivers in the high-risk category, thus they have to pay more for their insurance. One way for teen drivers to lower their car insurance rates is by graduating a defensive driving course.

For additional info about class schedules or to see A-1’s 19 convenient locations call (770)962-9555 or visit us at www.a1drivingschools.com!

Citations on Marijuana For Misdemeanor Possession

Around the time of the COVID-19 outbreak in March, Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard met with public safety officials and discussed the recent changes in the law concerning hemp and misdemeanor marijuana charges.

“One of the things that all of the chiefs and the public (safety) executives that were in the discussion with me agreed was not knowing when testing by the state would be available — (from) the (Georgia Bureau of Investigation)—and what the testing procedures would be,” she said.

Woodard said there was concern from law enforcement about taking someone into custody with cases that could not be immediately addressed. The solicitor general said the Georgia Hemp Farming Act created a “collateral consequence” of a testing issue for the GBI misdemeanor marijuana testing.

The result has been to move to a citation in lieu of an arrest for misdemeanor possession of marijuana when that is the only charge. Misdemeanor possession of marijuana is less than an ounce. 

The hemp act became law on May 10, 2019, which was intended to “allow farmers and businesses to begin to cultivate, handle, and process hemp and sell hemp products for commercial purposes,” according to the act’s text.

As a result, some jurisdictions changed their policies regarding misdemeanor marijuana. Gwinnett County decided to no longer prosecute any misdemeanor marijuana cases with an arrest date on or after May 10, 2019, according to a memorandum dated Aug. 7, 2019.

Hemp has 0.3% or less of THC, the main psychoactive element, whereas marijuana has 5% or higher.

DUI Laws | What You Need to Know

The laws make it illegal for drivers of all ages to operate motor vehicles if they have BAC percentages of:

  • 0.08% or higher, if they’re 21 years old or older operating regular passenger vehicles.
  • 0.04% or higher, if they’re operating commercial vehicles.
  • 0.02% or higher, if they’re younger than 21 years old.

Georgia State law also requires a clinical evaluation and the attendance of a DUI / Risk Reduction Program that’s certified/licensed by the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services before your driver’s license can be reinstated if you have been charged with any of the following:

  1. DUI
  2. Drug Possession
  3. Other drug offenses
  4. Under-age possession of drugs or alcohol

Before getting behind the wheel after having a few, consider the many reasons why you should not.

For more information about DUI School visit www.a1drivingschools.com or call (770) 962-9555!

 

Right of Pedestrians

Photo: Google Images

Though most city roads have the provision of zebra crossing near traffic signals and other intersections, drivers seem to show a disregard for them as they can often be seen violating norms.

At places where zebra crossings are available, vehicles are required to be stopped behind them but at most such places, vehicles can be seen standing on these lines, which hardly leaves any place for pedestrians to cross.

“People do not have the habit of following simple traffic etiquette or maybe they are not even aware. There is a need to impart education on traffic etiquette so that people start following the rules,” said an elderly Jagjit Singh.

CLICK HERE to view what drivers must know about pedestrians!

What Are Right-of-Way Laws?

Right-of-way laws determine who must yield to whom when entering roadways, making turns, changing lanes, and crossing intersections in and out of crosswalks. Right-of-way differs depending on where the driver or pedestrian is located. It also depends on the circumstances in which a person or driver enters an intersection.

One thing to note is that Georgia’s right-of-way laws do not state who has the right-of-way. Rather, they state who is required to yield the right-of-way in certain instances. For example, a driver must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is inside a crosswalk.

What Are Georgia’s Rules for Crossing Intersections? 

Pedestrians must cross intersections at a crosswalk. While most people consider a crosswalk as the pathway across the intersection denoted with white lines (i.e., a marked crosswalk), it is important to note that there are both marked and unmarked crosswalks.

An unmarked crosswalk is a line between one side of the roadway and the other. The only way this differs from a marked crosswalk is that there are no distinguishing marks.

If a pedestrian is in either a marked or unmarked crosswalk, he has the right-of-way. Drivers must yield to pedestrians already inside these crosswalks, regardless of whether the driver has a green light or not.

What Responsibilities Do Drivers Have?

According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, motorists must stop and stay stopped for pedestrians at crosswalks. Drivers must stay put until the pedestrian has vacated the driver’s side of the road.

Georgia law also holds that a driver cannot overtake another motorist who has stopped for a pedestrian.

What Responsibilities Do Pedestrians Have?

Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to drivers outside of crosswalks. While you can cross the street outside of a crosswalk, you must wait until traffic has cleared. If a pedestrian is hit outside a crosswalk, they might be liable for any injuries he sustains.

While pedestrians do have the right-of-way in crosswalks, Georgia’s crosswalk laws dictate that “no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.”

If you step into a crosswalk in front of oncoming traffic and suffer injuries in an accident, you might be liable for your own injuries.

The same safe driving practices that are taught in A-1’s Defensive Driving Class can apply to be a safe driver in a car and on a motorcycle. There is a lot of very useful and informative information in the class and it will apply whether you have been driving for years or you are a brand new driver.

For more information about class schedules or to see A-1’s 19 convenient locations call (770)962-9555 or visit us at www.a1drivingschools.com!

Slow Down!

Drivers who have been putting the pedal to the metal during the COVID-19 pandemic need to hit the brakes or expect to see blue lights in the rearview mirror when the “Operation Southern Shield” speed enforcement and awareness campaign begins Monday, July 20.

The southeastern regional campaign returns for a fourth year after reducing traffic deaths in Georgia in the first three years of the week-long enforcement period compared to the week before and after the enforcement effort.

This year’s “Southern Shield” campaign reinforces the message on the dangers of driving above the legal speed limit as fewer vehicles traveling on interstates and major highways during the pandemic have contributed to an increase in speeding in Georgia and the nation.

”The sharp decrease in the number of people traveling on our roads during the pandemic has not led to a corresponding drop in the number of traffic deaths according to preliminary data from the Georgia Department of Transportation,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said.

“The increased speeding this year is further proof driving over the speed limit significantly increases your chances of being in a crash that results in severe or fatal injuries.”

Preliminary data from the Georgia Department of Transportation shows Southern Shield has saved lives in Georgia in the last three years. When the campaign was held July 15-21 last year, the number of traffic deaths in Georgia was 29 percent lower in the final two weeks of the month compared to the first two.

Seventy people were killed in traffic crashes from July 1-14 and 50 from July 15-29.

Photo: Google Images

There are many reasons an individual might elect or be required to take the 6-hour Defensive Driving Class:

Ticket Dismissal

Many Courts in Georgia will dismiss a ticket for a traffic violation if the offender completes the 6-hour Defensive Driving Program prior to going to Court. If dismissed, there will be no points placed on your driving record and your insurance will not increase.

Points Reduction

You may complete the 6-hour Defensive Driving Program once every 5 years to remove up to 7 points from your record to prevent your license from being revoked.

License Suspension

If your license has been suspended, you must complete the 6-hour Defensive Driving Program before your license is reinstated.

Fine Reduction

The 6-hour Defensive Driving Program may be taken for a 20% reduction of the traffic fine and may result in the court not adding points to your record.

Insurance Discounts

If you have a clean driving record for 3 years, you may take the 6-hour Defensive Driving Program to receive a 10% -15% discount on your auto insurance premium. The insurance discount percentage is determined by your insurance company.

Register for Defensive Driving Class  & earn your certificate of completion!

Georgia State law also requires clinical evaluation and the attendance of a DUI / Risk Reduction Program that’s certified/licensed by the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services before your driver’s license can be reinstated if you have been charged with any of the following:

  1. DUI
  2. Drug Possession
  3. Other drug offenses
  4. Under-age possession of drugs or alcohol

Before getting behind the wheel after having a few, consider the many reasons why you should not.

For more information about DUI School visit www.a1drivingschools.com or call (770) 962-9555!

Volvo Recall

Photo: Google Images

Volvo is recalling 307,653 of its vehicles in the U.S.—and more than 2.1 million vehicles worldwide—for an issue with the front seatbelts.

As Automotive News reported, the automaker has discovered that a steel cable made by Autoliv that anchors the front seatbelts to the car could become weakened, potentially reducing the seatbelt’s restraining ability.

The affected vehicles were built between 2006 and 2019.

They include the S60 ncluding the S60L and S60 Cross Country, S80 and S80L, V60 and V60 Cross Country, V70 wagons, and XC60 and XC70 SUVs.

A Volvo spokesperson confirmed that it isn’t aware of any injuries or accidents that have resulted from the cable problem.

Volvo will contact owners to have the cable replaced at no charge beginning on August 25 of this year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.

Whether you have been driving for years or you are a brand new driver, A-1 offers classes that will help you brush up on some rules and regulations before it’s too late.

If you have a clean driving record for 3 years, you may take the 6-hour Defensive Driving Program to receive a 10% -15% discount on your auto insurance premium. The insurance discount percentage is determined by your insurance company.

For more information about class schedules or to see A-1’s 19 convenient locations call (770)962-9555 or visit us at www.a1drivingschools.com!