We Need Louder Cars

When we think in terms of decibel level and vehicles we commonly think more in terms of making them quieter, not louder. We invented mufflers for a reason. With the advent of electric and hybrid cars however,  we created the opposite problem, namely cars that are too quiet.

Super quiet cars are a problem for visually impaired pedestrians who rely on the sound of the engine to alert them to the fact that a car is coming. When they don’t hear the sound of the engine they assume they are safe, putting them at risk.

Because of this the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is adding a sound requirement to federal safety standard in order to protect visually impaired pedestrians. “This new standard requires hybrid and electric passenger cars, light trucks and vans (LTVs), and low speed vehicles (LSVs) to produce sounds meeting the requirements of this standard.

It is estimated that this addition to the standard will result in almost 2,400 fewer injuries each year.

The goal is to have all vehicles compliant by September 2018.

Hyperthermia Heat Stroke

Hyperthermia Heat Stroke: Summer Heat Makes It Especially Dangerous to Leave Children or Pets in Cars.

Heat coming back again to our Plateau area and temperature up near 100 degrees the rest of the week and weekend. Across the country record Highs and Dangerous Temperatures continue throughout the entire United States. The risk of a serious injury or death during hot weather is heightened for children and pets left alone in vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warned. New research shows that for children hyperthermia (heat-stroke) is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths.

Even with the windows rolled down two inches, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of a vehicle to reach deadly temperatures on a hot summer day, said Ronald Medford, Acting Deputy Administrator of NHTSA. Children or pets should never be left alone in or around a motor vehicle, not even for a quick errand. Any number of things can go critically wrong in the blink of an eye.


  • Total number of U.S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 2012: 11
  • Total number of U.S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 2011: 33
  • Total number of U.S. hyperthermia deaths of children left in cars, 1998-present: 538


· An examination of media reports about the 538 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths for an thirteen year period (1998 through 2011) shows the following circumstances:

· 51% – child “forgotten” by caregiver (278 Children)

· 30% – child playing in unattended vehicle (154)

· 17% – child intentionally left in vehicle by adult (99)

· 1% – circumstances unknown (7)

What is hyperthermia?

Hyperthermia is overheating of the body.The word is made up of “hyper” (high) + “thermia” from the Greek word “thermes” (heat). Hyperthermia is literally high heat. There are a variety of heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Other heat-

related health problems include heat cramps, heat rash and sunburn.

Summer can bring heat waves with unusually high temperatures that last for days and sometimes weeks. In the summer of 1980, a severe heat wave hit the United States, and nearly 1,700 people lost their lives from heat-related illness. Likewise, in the summer of 2003, tens of thousands of people died of the heat in Europe. High temperatures put people at risk. 2012 has been another record setting year with numerous days with high heat indexes. So far 11 children have lost their lives to hyperthermia.

What causes hyperthermia and heat-related illnesses?

People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures can damage the brain or other vital organs.

Several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other conditions that can limit the ability to regulate temperature include old age, obesity, fever (illness), dehydration, heart disease, poor circulation, sunburn, and drug, and alcohol use.

Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:

  • infants and children up to four years of age
  • people 65 years of age or older
  • people who are overweight
  • people who overexert during work or exercise
  • people who are ill or on certain medications

Infants and children up to four years of age are very sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.

People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently, and are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Overweight people may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.

Any health condition that causes dehydration makes the body more susceptible to heat-related illness. If you or someone you know is at higher risk, it is important to drink plenty of fluids (water), avoid overexertion, and get your doctor or pharmacist’s advice about medications being taken for:

  • high blood pressure,
  • depression,
  • nervousness,
  • mental illness,
  • insomnia, or
  • poor circulation.


Only 19 states have laws specifically addressing leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. The remaining 31 states do not have laws specifically against leaving a child unattended in a vehicle Currently only 1 state, Utah, has proposed legislation that would make it a crime to leave a child unattended in a vehicle Another 14 states have had previously proposed unattended child laws


Heatstroke occurs when a person’s temperature exceeds 103 degrees F and their thermoregulatory mechanism is overwhelmed
– Symptoms include: dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, hot dry skin that is flushed but not sweating, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat, hallucinations and death.

A core body temperature of 107 degrees F is considered lethal as cells are damaged and internal organs shut down Children’s thermoregulatory systems are not as efficient as an adult’s and their body temperatures warm at a rate 3 to 5 times faster than an adults.


The atmosphere and the windows of a car are relatively transparent to the suns shortwave radiation and are warmed little. However this shortwave energy does heat objects that it strikes. For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to over 200 degrees F.

These objects (e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, child seat) heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and also give off long wave radiation (red) which is very efficient at warming the air trapped inside a vehicle.


  • Average elapsed time and temperature rise
    • 10 minutes ~ 19 deg F
    • 20 minutes ~ 29 deg F
    • 30 minutes ~ 34 deg F
    • 60 minutes ~ 43 deg F
    • 1 to 2 hours ~ 45-50 deg F
  • Cracking the windows had little effect
  • Vehicle interior color probably biggest factor
  • “Parents and other caregivers need to be educated that a vehicle is not a babysitter or play area … but it can easily become tragedy”


  • Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
  • Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. IF A CHILD IS MISSING, ALWAYS CHECK THE POOL FIRST, AND THEN THE CAR, INCLUDING THE TRUNK. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
  • Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver.
  • Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
  • Make “look before you leave” a routine whenever you get out of the car.
  • Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.
  • Dont leave your pets in the car either!! Same affects can happen to them!


Information provided by the NHTSA, NWS and ggweather.com

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

Children in hot cars can suffer brain damage

With spring and summer just around the corner, it’s perhaps time to remind ourselves about the dangers represented by vehicles left in the sun, especially with children inside.

Studies have shown that the temperature inside a vehicle can rapidly rise to extremely dangerous levels. Children’s bodies are much more sensitive than adults bodies and their temperatures can rise 3 to 5 times faster (it’s a question of body mass. A chicken cooks faster than a turkey… no nasty insinuations intended). The effects on the child’s body can be disastrous with severe dehydration, seizures, brain damage and eventually death.

So here are the safety rules once again:

1. Never leave a child alone, unattended in a vehicle. NEVER! Even if you are just going to be 2 seconds (or so you think) take the child with you.

2. Make it a habit to always have your keys in your hands when you get out of the car. It’s just too easy to accidentally lock your keys in the car and if your child is strapped in his car seat he’s going to be in harm’s way by the time you get the vehicle unlocked.

3. Have a spare key somewhere you can get at it fast (magnetic key holder, wheel well, etc…) just in case safety rules # 2 fails. Especially if you have small children or consistently drive small children around, make sure you have a spare key somewhere where you can get to it fast if you accidentally lock your keys in your car.

4. When stopping for gas, pay at the pump. Take out a gas station credit card or do whatever you have to do to make sure you don’t have to go into the gas station to pay while leaving the child in the car.

5. Do not leave your vehicle unlocked when at home. Even if it isn’t a matter of protecting your car from burglars, it’s too easy for children to climb in an unlocked vehicle and end up locking themselves in. By the time you figure out what has happened, it might be too late. Always keep your car locked.

What about if you notice a child alone and unattended inside a vehicle?

1. call 911. They will ask about the vehicles’ license plate, the age of the child, the apparent condition of the child.

2. if the vehicle isn’t locked, open the doors to get air circulating. Provide shade for the child with a blanket, sunshade or coat until emergency services get there. If the child appears to be in distress, remove the child from the vehicle and stay close until emergency services arrive.

Safety Tips to Jump-Start a Car

The weather has started to cool down and we are transitioning to winter. With it turning cold, maybe some morning you may go out to start your car and the battery is dead. Well then you need to get a jump start. Most people think they know how to use jumper cables on a car’s battery, but you’d be amazed how many people do it the wrong way. Follow these suggestions from the National Safety Council when getting your car back on the road.


How to Jump-Start a Gas-Powered Automobile

  • Check your owner’s manual before jump-starting your car or using it to jump-start another car. Some new cars had specific instructions or prohibit jump-starting.
  • If it is OK to jump-start, attach the jumper cables correctly.
    1. Clamp one cable to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery. Don’t let the positive cable touch anything metal other than the battery terminals.
    2. Connect the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal of the good battery.
    3. Connect one end of the negative (-) cable to the negative terminal of the good battery.
    4. Connect the other end of the negative cable to metal on the engine block on the car with the dead battery. Don’t connect it to the dead battery, carburetor, fuel lines or moving parts.

    1. Stand back and start the car with the good battery.
    2. Start the stalled car.
    3. Remove the cables in reverse order.

How to Jump-Start a Diesel-Powered Automobile

Even though diesel-powered vehicles can have dual batteries or one oversized battery, it’s possible to jump-start a diesel from the battery on a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle. If your diesel won’t start due to a dead battery, follow the steps here to jump it safely.

To avoid confusion, these instructions call the vehicle with the dead battery the disabled vehicle and the one you’re jumping the start from the source vehicle. Follow these steps to jump-start a dead diesel battery:

Make sure that both vehicles are in Park or Neutral with the parking brakes on.

1.    Turn on the heater on the disabled diesel vehicle.

This protects the electrical system from surges in voltage.

2.    Make sure that the lights and other electrical accessories on the disabled diesel vehicle are off.

A vehicle with dual batteries usually has thicker cables on one of the batteries. Attach the jumper cables to the battery that has thicker cables. If either vehicle has dual batteries with cables of the same thickness, use either battery for the jump. If a vehicle has only one battery, just be sure to hook the cables up in the proper order.

3.    Connect the clamp on one of the jumper cables to the positive terminal of the disabled vehicle’s battery.

The positive terminal should have a (+) or a red cover on it.

4.    Connect the other end of the same jumper cable to the positive terminal of the source vehicle.

5.    Connect one end of the other jumper cable to the negative terminal (-) of the source vehicle.

6.    Connect the other end of that jumper cable to an unpainted, metallic part of the disabled vehicle.

Use the bracket that keeps the hood up, but any such part will do as long as it’s not near the battery, belts, or any other moving parts of the engine.

7.    Start the engine on the source vehicle.

8.    Start the engine on the disabled vehicle.

Let both engines run for a minute or two, more if the battery has been dead for a long time.

9.    Turn off the engine of the source vehicle.

Leave the disabled vehicle’s engine running.

10.  Remove the cable from the unpainted metal part of the disabled vehicle.

11.  Disconnect the cable from the positive terminals of both vehicles.

12.  Disconnect the cable from the negative terminal of the source vehicle.

13.  Drive the disabled vehicle around for at least 15 minutes to ensure that the battery is fully charged.

If you justify your have a dead diesel vehicle and the battery dies the next time you try to start the car, you probably need a new battery. Be sure to get the proper one for your vehicle’s make, model, and year.

Road safety tip: Be careful when jump-starting from a hybrid car

While driving a new hybrid car and a conventional vehicle are similar experiences, important difference still exist. Maintenance, too, can be more complicated, experts say.

In winter weather, both hybrids and regular cars can potentially lose battery charge and become impossible to start normally. Drivers can generally jump-start drained hybrids from other cars. However, trying to jump a drained conventional car from a hybrid can be extremely dangerous.

Hybrid cars generally use battery systems far more powerful than those of a regular vehicle, given their need to power a large electric motor in addition to the rest of a car’s usual devices. This can apply excessive power to a conventional car’s circuits, and prove to be quite unsafe if a motorist accidentally touches a live jumper cable to a metal surface.


Jump-starting a hybrid car is similar to jump-starting a gasoline-powered vehicle.

Again  Check your owner’s manual before jump-starting your car or using it to jump-start another car. Some new cars had specific instructions or prohibit jump-starting.

Whenever you jump-start a hybrid, be sure to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s jump-start procedures. They can be found in the owner’s/operator’s manual, usually located in the vehicle’s glove box. And if you have any questions about the procedure, call in a professional. You don’t want to be poking around under the hood or in the high-voltage traction motor battery compartment unless you’re a trained and qualified technician. If a part says “Don’t Touch” or “Don’t Take This Apart,” then don’t touch it or take it apart. There may be 500 volts inside.

Step 1

Turn off both cars. Be sour to turn off something that races on electricity as well such as the radio, GPS and air conditioning. The sudden rise of power could be bad these devices.

Step 2

Pull the cap release lever on both cars. Be sour to pedestal bridge bearing open each one hood with the bolt under the cap to to ensure they stay up while you are working.

Step 3

Connect one end of the pullover cables to the positive Limit on the hybrid vehicle. Attach the other end of the same Colored cable to the positive Limit of the operation car.

Step 4

Clamp the end of the other pullover cable to the negative Limit of the operation car. On a Prius, To connect them to remain end on an unpainted metal bandage on the car. For a Honda, there is a to melt strap, generally located towards the front of the engine compartment. Control the owner’s handbook if you’re Dubious To place the strap.

Step 5

Start the operation vehicle and let it run for a few minutes. Now beginning your hybrid car.

Step 6

Remove the cables, carefully, in the opposed order you connected them.


  • Wear a pair of splash-proof, polycarbonate goggles with the designation Z-87 on the frame. This certifies that your goggles are meant for activities such as automotive repair.
  • Batteries contain sulfuric acid, which gives off flammable and explosive gas when a battery is charged or jump-started. Never smoke or operate anything that may cause a spark when working on a battery.
  • Whenever you change the oil, take time to check your battery for damage such as cracks, corrosive materials and loose wires.
  • Make sure you have a pair of jumper cables that are free of rust and corrosion and have no exposed wires. (Never use electrical tape to cover exposed wires.)
  • Make sure you buy a battery that is recommended in your car owner’s manual.
  • Never throw an automobile battery in a garbage dumpster or leave it in a parking lot, especially if it is cracked or damaged. Take it to a service station and have it disposed of properly.
  • Never jump-start your battery if your car’s fluids are frozen.
  • When buying a new battery, make sure that its terminals are sturdy and large enough to allow the clamps of a pair of jumper cables to attach easily when jump-starting.
  • Always call a professional if you think there might be trouble you can’t handle, or you can’t remember how to jump-start a vehicle.
  • Prevent Blindness America offers a battery safety sticker that lists the correct steps to take when jump-starting a dead battery. To get one, call 1-800-331-2020.  Or go to http://preventblindness.org/safety/battery.html

When using a portable battery booster, the process is much the same.

Connect the positive clamp of the booster cable to the positive clamp of the dead battery. Then connect the negative cable to the engine block or other grounded metal away from the battery.

The National Safety Council (NSC) offers an additional suggestion: if you are buying jumper cables or a portable battery booster, buy the best quality you can afford. Look for well-insulated clamps and 8-gauge wire. (Note: the lower the wire gauge number, the heavier the gauge.) Under the heavy electrical load of boost starting, lightweight cables may not be able to deliver enough current to start some engines. In fact, they have been known to melt in the user’s hand.

If your battery is three-years old or older and you haven’t had it checked, it’s a good preventive measure to do so, suggests the NSC. A battery’s power is reduced as the temperature drops. And that’s when the engine’s starting demands are greatest.

Information provided by the National Safety Council and Prevent Blindness. Org.

Today’s blog post comes to us courtesy of  Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for Plateau



New vehicles not loud enough?!?

Here’s a new one! Apparently automotive manufacturers are looking at possibly adding more noise to their newer models in order to make them safer.
The newer models are apparently so silent that it poses a safety risk. Pedestrians, other drivers, children and especially blind people need to be able to hear “something” to be made aware of vehicles or accidents are likely to take place.
It’s the same basic principle as the back-up alarms on most trucks and vans nowadays.
Much like cell phone tones, manufacturers are looking at giving drivers of hybrid and electric cars that don’t make enough noise, a choice of “tones” or sounds that their vehicle will emit.
According to an article in the New York Times this past Sunday, Nissan, among others is “tinkering in sound studios, rather than machine shops, to customize engine noises”.
Read the complete article here.

Preventing Vehicle Fires

Stumble It! Digg! Add to Mixx! Pownce

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that some 93% of home in America have fire detection alarms installed. Unfortunately, vehicles do not, which is partly the reason why there are more than a quarter of a million car fires each year (As reported by the National Fire Protection Association). This resulted in over 1 Billion dollars in damages as well as almost 500 deaths and some 12,000 injuries.

Summer weekends were the highest risk for vehicle fires and most are caused by mechanical failures, including overheating.

Preventing Vehicle Fires

  • Annual maintenance should eliminate a huge number of vehicle fires. If, as we have stated, mechanical failures are the number one cause, then annual inspections by a certified mechanic will identify most problem before they turn into something serious enough to cause a fire.
  • Constant inspections by the driver mean paying attention to leaks, cracked hoses, frayed belts and electrical shorts. It also means noticing changes in the way that your vehicle sounds or operates. It means paying attention to the temperature gauge, making sure that the oil level is good, that the car isn’t backfiring or emitting smoke or idling too high. Ignoring these issues can lead to a more serious problem that could cause a vehicle fire.

What to do if the car catches fire

AAA has come up with an easy three-step procedure…

Stop – Pull the car to the side of the road and shut it off. Shutting off the engine shuts down the fuel pump which might otherwise add fuel to the fire.

Get out – Never stay in a burning or smoking vehicle no matter how small the fire or how little the amount of smoke. A small fire can spread fast and/or ignite gasoline, causing an explosion. Make sure that you also stay away from the flow of traffic. Getting safety away from a burning vehicle isn’t much good if you get hit by oncoming traffic.

Call – Use a cell phone or flag down someone to call 911. Stay clear of the vehicle and let the fire department handle the fire.