Distracted Teen Drivers a Mess

Worried about your teen causing a car accident from drinking too much? How about from being distracted too much? According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distracted driving accounted for 58 percent of medium to severe wrecks involving teenagers, based on analysis of about 1,700 videos.

6WThe study involved collaboration with the University of Iowa and Lytx™, Inc., maker of the Lytx DriveCam, which recorded all of the data using state-of-the-art technology. The analysis looked at the six seconds preceding the crashes and uncovered the following distractors, in order of prevalence.

  • Passenger interaction
  • Cell phone use (includes texting)
  • Eyeing something inside the vehicle
  • Eyeing something outside
  • Singing or moving to music
  • Grooming
  • Reaching for something

Are teens learning from their parents that cell phone use while driving is crucial? (Many adults drive while yakking or texting.) The analysis revealed that when cell phone use led to an accident, the teens’ eyes were off the road for 4.1 seconds on average—out of that six seconds.

Funny, these same teens, if athletes, would never take their eyes off the ball during a game to text.

AAA wants new laws that ban cell phone use by driving teens and having more than one passenger—for the first half year of driving. Will a law be effective? How about making new teen drivers watch videos of the gruesome aftermath of fatal car accidents?

AAA recommends that parents teach safe driving practices. But HOW is open to interpretation. Dinnertime lectures aren’t enough. How about making kids view those grisly aftermath scenes?

AAA suggests a parent-teen driving agreement. This will make a teen feel more accountable. Another effective strategy is for the parents to practice what they preach.

If you’re a parent, ask yourself how often you take your eyes off the road to look at your kids while conversing. Practice “bi-tasking” (doing two things at once: keeping your eyes on the road while conversing), and your teens will less likely smash up the car as a result of passenger interaction.

In 2013 alone, says an article at newsroom.aaa.com, around 963,000 drivers 16 to 19 were in vehicular accidents. Fatalities totaled 2,865, and there were 383,000 injuries.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

10 more Horrible Accidents to avoid

“When it’s your time, it’s your time.” NOT. Most accidents, including freak, are avoidable. Here are more preventable deaths, courtesy of popularmechanics.com.

EMERCommotio cordis. An object (baseball, hockey or lacrosse puck) slams into the athlete’s heart between beats and causes the heart to quiver from ventricular fibrillation. Solution: Dodge the ball. Fatality rates have dropped with the presence of defibrillator devices.

EAH. About 30 percent of endurance athletes (runners etc) who keel over during events die from exercise-associated hyponatremia: too much water intake during the activity, which swells up the brain. During intense activity, limit water to 1.5 quarts per hour. Take plenty of salt with it.

Hypothermia. Only 30-50 degrees can be fatal. Avoid wearing cotton, which traps moisture and exacerbates hypothermic conditions. Wear wool or synthetic clothes. Stuff dry leaves into your clothes to conserve heat.

Killer heat. Heat stroke kills about 675 U.S. people every year. Be prepared with plenty of fluids, and conduct your activity in the morning. Never trek in the dessert without someone knowing your whereabouts.

Cutting trees. The victim saws into a leaning tree, which causes it to topple over, crushing him.

Hunting accidents. No, not from getting shot; from careless climbing of tree stands (wooden boards nailed to the trunk, which can also give way). Climb only when tethered via harness to the tree.

Cliffing out. You’re climbing up a cliff and at some point realize the only way out is to climb to the top, not back down. Never scramble up a cliff you don’t know the length of. Always have with you a device that can send a distress call from anywhere.

Carbon monoxide. After natural disasters, people may use a portable generator to replace the lost power. When these machines run overnight, they may leak carbon monoxide gas. The generator should be kept at least 20 feet from the house.

Glissading. Glissading is sliding down an icy hill, usually on your butt. The slide can get out of control and take you over the edge of a cliff. Avoid this activity, or, if you can’t resist, know exactly where the descent leads to, and have with you an ice axe to self-arrest (which you should be skilled in).

Don’t panic. Ocean rip currents may be invisible. If you’re caught in one, let it carry you beyond its flow so you can then swim alongside it. You’ll eventually reach a point where you can turn back and safely head towards shore.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

How to store Water for long term Survival

Here’s what everyone should know about how to efficiently store water to be prepared for a catastrophe.

1MEver thought about the possibility that your water service could cease in the event of some kind of catastrophe? Would you have enough for your children to drink for a week? If you live in the Southwest, what if your city ran out of water?

I know something about long term water storage, not because I’m a security analyst, but because I have enough water stored to last my family a month.

In general, one person needs one gallon of water every day (drinking and hygiene). More water is needed for special circumstances such as medical conditions and hot weather.

According to FEMA, you should have enough stored water to last three days, the time it usually takes to get water running again following a tornado, ice storm or earthquake.

But sometimes it takes longer, and many people have decided to store enough water to exceed one week, even 30 days’ worth.

To play it safe, have at least two weeks of stored water: 14 gallons per person. Of course, living in a small place will make a month’s worth of water storage for a family of four challenging. However, being resourceful can conquer this problem.

I recommend starting off with a 14 day supply of stored water, then add onto that as more money and space come your way. Strangely, storing water can become addictive, for lack of a better term. After filling my 55-gallon barrels, I want to fill a third one.

Tips on Water Storage Long Term

  • Pre-packaged bottled water. Store under beds.
  • Refill plastic bottles. Thoroughly clean beforehand (empty soda, sports drink, sports bottles).
  • 5-7-gallon water jugs. Their plastic (usually blue) is sturdy.
  • Bathtub water. But don’t fill the bathtub (very germy). Instead, run the tap into a “waterBOB” plastic bag. Google it. Get this.
  • 55-gallon water barrels. The plastic is BPA-free plus UV-resistant.
  • Rain barrels. Place at the base of your home’s gutter and collect rainwater.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Old Credit Card Technology Facilitates Skimming Fraud

Credit and debit cards in the U.S. use old magnetic stripe technology. The magnetic stripe is the black or brown band on the back of your credit or debit card. Tiny, iron-based magnetic particles in this band store data such as your account number. When the card is swiped through a “reader,” the data stored on the magnetic stripe is accessed. Card readers and magnetic stripe technology are inexpensive and readily available, making the technology highly vulnerable to fraud.

One extremely prevalent example of such fraud is ATM skimming. Skimming occurs when a criminal copies the data stored on your card’s magnetic stripe and burns the stolen data onto a blank card, creating a clone can that be used like any normal credit or debit card.

According to the Smart Card Alliance, twenty-two countries, including China, India, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and many in Western Europe and Latin America, are migrating to encrypted microprocessor chip and PIN technology for credit and debit payments. These new “smart cards” contain an embedded microchip and are authenticated using a personal identification number, or PIN. When a customer uses a smart card to make a purchase, the card is placed into a “PIN pad” terminal or a modified swipe-card reader, which accesses the card’s microchip and verifies the card’s authenticity. The customer then enters a four digit PIN, which is checked against the PIN stored on the card.

The U.S. has yet to adopt the new smart card technology, possibly due to the higher cost. According to consulting firm Javelin Strategy & Research, converting to chip and PIN technology would cost the U.S. payment card industry about $8.6 billion, which doesn’t sound so expensive to me, considering that identity theft is a reported $50 billion problem.

U.S. travelers are encountering difficulties when attempting to use old magnetic stripe credit and debit cards abroad, since their cards do not contain the new microchips. This is especially problematic at automated kiosks, which are common in Europe. Vending machines at regional rail stations, bicycle rental racks in Paris, parking meters in parts of London, toll roads, and gas stations only accept chip and PIN cards. Visa claims that most payment terminals in countries that have adopted chip payment technology can still process old magnetic stripe U.S. cards, and, “in the rare instance that a card holder encounters a problem” at a self-service machine, Visa advises American travelers to present their cards to attendants.

My dad has U.S.-based magnetic striped cards, and he travels all over Europe and has yet to encounter a problem paying at a restaurant or in any scenario in which the card is processed by a person. However, CreditCards.com reports that the European Payments Council, the governing body responsible for achieving a single payments market throughout Europe, is considering a ban on old technology magnetic stripe cards. This would cause major commerce problems in Europe and raises the question of whether U.S. credit card merchants will make the switch.

In the meantime, if you travel to Europe, make sure to carry cash. And if you are likely to use a kiosk that can only process cards with chip and PIN technology, do your homework ahead of time to determine whether an alternative payment methods is available.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert adviser to Just Ask Gemalto, discusses credit and debit card fraud on CNBC. (Disclosures)