Record Number of People Expected to Travel this Holiday Season

December 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2017 year-end holiday travel season will set an all-time record for the number of Southern California travelers because of favorable economic conditions, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Nearly 8.2 million Southern California residents and 13.2 million statewide are expected to travel at least 50 miles away from home during the holiday period between Dec. 23 and Jan. 1 — a 3.6 percent increase from the 2016 holiday, the Auto Club said in a statement.

The vast majority of Southern California travelers — 7.2 million from Southern California and 11.7 million statewide, or 89 percent of all travelers — will go by car to their destinations, representing a 3.5 percent increase from last year’s Christmas-New Year’s Day holiday, it said. More than
665,000 local residents and nearly 1.1 million Californians are expected to fly, a 5.5 percent increase over 2016.

“Holiday travelers who booked ahead saved on air fares, which were about 20 percent lower than for this time last year, and on hotel rates, which were slightly cheaper than for last year’s holiday,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “Economic health and some lower travel costs are giving consumers more opportunities to enjoy ‘big ticket’ vacations during the holidays and throughout the year.”

Additionally, more than 260,000 Southern Californians and 425,000 statewide will travel by bus, train, cruise or other means to holiday destinations for a 1.6 percent increase over last year

Nationally, the Auto Club projects 107 million travelers over the Christmas-New Year’s Day holiday, topping last year’s 104 million end-of-year travelers by 3.1 percent.

This marks the ninth consecutive year of growth for end-of-year holiday travel, The Auto Club said.

“Holiday travelers who booked ahead saved on air fares, which were about 20 percent lower than for this time last year, and on hotel rates, which were slightly cheaper than for last year’s holiday,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “Economic health and some lower travel costs are giving consumers more opportunities to enjoy ‘big ticket’ vacations during the holidays and throughout the year.”

Southern California gas prices have been dropping for more than a month, but are still more than 40 cents higher per gallon than at this time last year. While that extra cost adds about $6 to an average tank fill-up, the Auto Club said it expects little impact on holiday travel.

The top five destinations for Southern California travelers, according to a poll of Auto Club travel agents, are: 1) San Francisco  2) San Diego 3) Palm Springs  4) Mexico and 5) Las Vegas. Hawaii is the top air destination for Southern California travelers this holiday. Nationally, Anaheim ranks as the No. 2 destination for travelers this holiday.

Personas Mayores Pueden Hacer Más Para Mantenerse a Salvo y Seguir Conduciendo

December 15, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Casi el 90 por ciento de los conductores mayores, que tienen más del doble de probabilidades de morir cuando se ve involucrado en un choque, no realizan cambios pequeños y económicos en sus vehículos que podrían mejorar la seguridad y extender su tiempo en la carretera, según un estudio recientemente publicado de Auto Club.

Según el Auto Club, el plan estatal sobre el envejecimiento ha determinado que un “tsunami plateado” de conductores mayores llegará a California, y la cantidad de personas de 60 años o más aumentará un 40 por ciento para 2030.

“Si el 75 por ciento de las personas mayores obtuvieron una licencia en 2015, eso suma 6.5 millones de conductores maduros con licencia”, dijo Anita Lorz Villagrana, gerente de asuntos de la comunidad y de seguridad del tráfico del Club Automóvil del sur de California.

“Y, cada vez más, las personas mayores conducen más millas que hace 20 años”.

La Fundación AAA para la Seguridad del Tráfico descubrió que la gran mayoría de los conductores mayores no agregan extensiones de pedal, cojines de asiento o espejos multifacéticos a sus vehículos, a pesar de que esas características podrían reducir el riesgo de un choque.

“Mientras muchas personas mayores son considerados conductores seguros, también son los más vulnerables”, dijo David Yang, director ejecutivo de la Fundación AAA para la Seguridad del Tráfico.

Nuestra investigación sugiere que la mayoría de los conductores mayores no están aprovechando las características simples y económicas como las cubiertas del volante que pueden mejorar en gran medida su seguridad y la de los demás en la carretera”.

AAA está promoviendo el informe en colaboración con American Occupational Therapy Association (la Asociación Estadounidense de Terapia Ocupacional) para apoyar a la Semana de Concientización sobre la Seguridad de los Conductores de Edad Avanzada, que comenzó el sábado. El estudio representa la primera fase de investigación sobre los controladores de envejecimiento diseñados para comprender mejor sus riesgos y necesidades.

El programa de AAA CarFit puede ayudar a las personas mayores hacer cambios simples en sus automóviles que los mantendrán conduciendo por más tiempo.

El programa de AAA CarFit puede ayudar a las personas mayores hacer cambios simples en sus automóviles que los mantendrán conduciendo por más tiempo.

Agregando funciones de seguridad también puede mantener a los conductores mayores en la carretera por más tiempo. Las almohadillas de los asientos pueden minimizar el dolor de la espalda o cadera al tiempo que mejoran la línea de visión, y las cubiertas del volante pueden disminuir el impacto de las articulaciones artríticas al tiempo que mejoran el agarre.

“Cuando un dolor o una molestia comienza a obstaculizar la capacidad de conducción, muchos conductores mayores pueden continuar manejando de manera segura después de hacer algunos ajustes”, dice Elin Schold Davis, coordinador del proyecto de Iniciativa de Conductores Mayores de la Asociación Estadounidense de Terapia Ocupacional.

Mantenerse detrás del volante puede mejorar la salud mental. Estudios anteriores de la Fundación AAA para la Seguridad del Tráfico muestran que las personas mayores que han dejado de conducir tienen casi dos veces más probabilidades de sufrir depresión y tienen casi cinco veces más probabilidades de ingresar a un centro de cuidado a largo plazo que aquellas que siguen manejando.

CarFit, un programa basado en la comunidad cuyo objetivo es ayudar a los conductores mayores a utilizar mejor las características y tecnología del vehículo, ofrece un chequeo rápido y profesional del vehículo y recomendaciones para ajustes. Los conductores pueden registrarse para un evento en línea en www.seniordriving.aaa.com.

La herramienta de Smart Features for Older Drivers de AAA – también en www.seniordriving.aaa.com –  también puede ayudar a identificar dispositivos de bajo costo y características del vehículo que optimizan la comodidad y la seguridad.

Seniors Can Do More to Stay Safe and Keep Driving

December 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Nearly 90 percent of senior drivers — who are more than twice as likely to be killed when involved in a crash — do not make, small, inexpensive changes to their vehicles that could improve safety and extend their time on the road, according to a recently released Auto Club study.

According to the Auto Club, the state Plan on Aging has determined that a “silver tsunami” of older drivers is set to hit California, with the number of people age 60 and older increasing 40 percent by 2030.

“If 75 percent of seniors were licensed in 2015, that adds up to 6.5 million licensed mature drivers,” said Anita Lorz Villagrana, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s community affairs and traffic safety manager.

WEBAAA-CarFit

AAA CarFit program can help seniors make simple changes to their cars that will keep them driving longer.

“And, increasingly, seniors are driving more miles than 20 years ago.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the vast majority of older drivers don’t add pedal extensions, seat cushions or multifaceted mirrors to their vehicles, even though those features could reduce the risk of a crash.

“While many seniors are considered to be safe drivers, they are also the most vulnerable,” said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our research suggests that most senior drivers are not taking advantage of simple and inexpensive features like steering wheel covers that can greatly improve their safety and the safety of others on the road.”

AAA is promoting the report in partnership with the American Occupational Therapy Association to support Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, which began Saturday. The study represents the first phase of research on aging drivers designed to better understand their risks and needs.

Adding safety features can also keep senior drivers on the road longer. Seat pads can minimize back or hip pain while improving line of sight, and steering wheel covers can lessen the impact of arthritic joints while improving grip.

“When an ache or pain begins hindering driving ability, many older drivers are able to continue driving safely after making a few adjustments,” says Elin Schold Davis, project coordinator of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Older Driver Initiative.

Staying behind the wheel can boost mental health. Previous research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that seniors who have stopped driving are almost two times more likely to suffer from depression and nearly five times more likely to enter a long-term care facility than those who keep driving.

CarFit, a community-based program aimed to help senior drivers better use vehicle features and technology, offers a quick professional vehicle check and recommendations for adjustments. Drivers can sign up for an event online at www.seniordriving.aaa.com.

AAA’s Smart Features for Older Drivers tool — also at www.seniordriving.aaa.com — can also help identify inexpensive devices and vehicle features that optimize comfort and safety.

Traveling By Car or Air? Expect Long Waits

November 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re planning to hit the road today for a Thanksgiving break, bring a big dose of patience.

Wednesday is expected to be one of the busiest days of the Thanksgiving holiday travel crunch, with traffic watchers reporting by early afternoon that freeways out of town are moving at a snails pace.

At Los Angeles International Airport, between 228,000 and 239,000 passengers are expected to pass through the facility. A similar number of people will flow through LAX on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

LAX officials are expected a record 2.38 million travelers to pass through the airport during the holiday travel period, which began Friday and will end Monday. That’s up 2.3 percent from last year. The best days to pass through the airport are expected to be Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, when
a mere 174,000 to 195,000 people are expected to be at LAX.

If you’re traveling on the freeways, you won’t be alone either. The crush of travelers was evident on freeways as early as Tuesday night, with miles-long backups already making for extended drives heading out of town.

The Automobile Club of Southern California estimated that 3.87 million Southern California residents will be traveling for the long weekend, and 86 percent of them will be traveling by car.

Statewide, 6.26 million are projected to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, the highest number of Thanksgiving travelers since 2007, when 6.44 million Californians took a holiday trip. The Auto Club is expecting 5.37 million statewide to go by car and another 693,000 to fly. More than 200,000 are expected to use other modes of transportation, about the same as last year.

The top five destinations for Southern California travelers, according to a survey of the Auto Club’s Travel agents, are, in this order, San Francisco, San Diego, Anaheim, the Grand Canyon, and Santa Barbara. Nationally, Anaheim, site of the Disneyland Resort, is expected to be the second most popular Thanksgiving destination, according to the AAA.
 

Pot Use May Cause More Accidents, Warns AAA

October 6, 2016 by · 3 Comments 

Drug-impaired driving is a rising problem statewide and nationally, and a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in California could make it worse, the Automobile Club of Southern California warned Wednesday.

According to the Auto Club, nearly 20 percent of fatal collisions in California involve at least one driver who tested positive for drugs.

“The problem extends beyond recreational marijuana and illegal drug usage — many prescription drugs can impair skills that are critical to driving,” said Kathy Sieck, senior vice president of public affairs for the Auto Club.

The Auto Club is on record opposing Proposition 64, which would legalize recreational marijuana use in the state for people age 21 and older. Sieck said approval of the measure could contribute to an already growing problem of drug-impaired motorists.

“Prop. 64 is a gamble on the public’s safety, which isn’t a risk worth taking, especially when drug-impaired driving is on the rise,” she said.

Sieck’s comments came as the Auto Club convenes a “Drugged Driving” summit at the Petersen Automotive Museum, themed “Is California Prepared for What’s Next?” The gathering will include drugged-driving and public-policy experts discussing their findings on the effects of marijuana and other drugs on traffic safety.

Proponents of the measure insist the proposal includes a requirement for an extensive public-health information campaign that will include information about the dangers of driving while impaired by marijuana, “and the potential harms of using marijuana,” according to Californians for Responsible Marijuana Reform.

The group also contends the measure will provide $3 million a year to the California Highway Patrol to develop updated DUI protocols for determining when a driver is marijuana-impaired. It would also impose restrictions on acquisition of marijuana, including “strict safeguards against children accessing it.”

Jake Nelson, director of AAA Traffic Safety, Advocacy and Research, noted that its research found that after Washington legalized recreational marijuana, fatal crashes involving drivers who had recently used marijuana more than doubled.

“More studies are needed, and it is worrisome that five states this year, including California, are considering a far-reaching policy change that could have unintended consequences for traffic safety, the emergency medical system, law enforcement and the courts,” he said.

Millions Hitting the Road this Weekend

May 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

With gas prices dropping and personal income rising, nearly 2.9 million Southern California residents are expected to travel over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, the largest number in more than a decade, according to Automobile Club of Southern California estimates released Monday.

Statewide, the number of people traveling is expected to be about 4.67 million, according to the Auto Club. The figures are the largest since the record-setting year of 2005, when 3.2 million Southland residents and 5.18 million people statewide traveled for the holiday.

“The centennial of the National Park Service, new theme park attractions, cheaper gas prices and rising personal income are some of the reasons motivating an increase in travel this holiday,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel. “Also, some domestic airfares for the weekend are less expensive than in 2015, fueling an increase in air travel.”

Of the Southern California residents traveling, 2.45 million are expected to go by car, a 2.7 percent increase from last year. About 264,000 residents are expected to travel by plane, up 2.4 percent from 2015. About 176,000 will travel by recreational vehicle, cruise, bus or train.

Nationally, 38 million travelers are expected to travel, a 1.9 percent jump from last year’s 37.3 million. The bulk of travelers — nearly 34 million — will go by car, while 2.58 million will go by plane.

Auto Club officials noted that gas prices are expected to be about $1.10 lower than they were during last year’s holiday.

The top destinations for Southern California travelers are expected to be: Grand Canyon National Park; San Diego; San Francisco; Las Vegas; and Yosemite National Park.

But just because more people will be traveling, don’t expect L.A. streets to be empty. Los Angeles is ranked sixth on the list of destinations for travelers across the country.

Southland Gasoline Prices Rise Again

December 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County rose Wednesday for the 13th consecutive day, increasing a half-cent to $3.049.

The average price has increased 29.9 cents over the past 13 days, including eight-tenths of a cent on Tuesday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The increases follow a 13-day streak of decreases totaling 5.2 cents that dropped that average price to its lowest amount since Feb. 11.

The run of price increases is the longest since a 19-day streak from April 16-May 4.

The average price is 12.9 cents more than one week ago, 26.2 cents higher than one month ago and 37.7 cents greater than one year ago.

The Orange County average price rose for the 14th consecutive day Wednesday, increasing eight-tenths of a cent to $3.049.

The Orange County average price has risen 32.2 cents over the past 14 days, including seven-tenths of a cent on both Monday and Tuesday. It is 13 cents more than one week ago, 29.5 cents higher than one month ago and 41.2 cents greater than one year ago.

The increases follow a stretch of 10 decreases in 12 days, totaling 4.7 cents that dropped the average price to its lowest amount since Feb. 10.

The streak of increases is the longest since a 19-day streak from April 16-May 4.

The rising prices stem from unplanned maintenance at several refineries that have reduced supply, according to Jeffrey Spring, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s corporate communications manager.

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