Head-On Collision … with a Turkey?

LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Michael Kellems says he has been an officer for 31 years and has “never seen something like that.”

Kellem is referring to the very bizarre incident in which A New Jersey family traveling through northern Indiana when a 30-pound turkey crashed through their vehicle’s windshield.

Kellems says the flying bird collided with the family’s rented SUV on 3/28/2017. The unfortunate turkey was left stuck in the broken windshield as driver John Tarabocchia of Emerson, New Jersey, pulled over along U.S. 20.

Captain Kellem was happy to report that Mr. Tarabocchia and his three passengers escaped with only a few minor cuts.

Tarabocchia tells The Indianapolis Star his family was headed to a Chicago airport to return home after visiting his daughter at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend. The family was about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of South Bend.

Texas to Become Second State to Allow Motorcycles to Split Lanes?

The Victor crew came across a growing movement in the U.S. to change some particular traffic laws for motorcyclists. According to a report from MSN, Texas lawmakers will be voting on a bill to allow motorcyclists to split lanes of traffic under very specific, heavy traffic conditions.

Texas would become only the second state in the U.S. to allow lane splitting for motorcyclists after California which passed a similar bill in 2016. In California the law about lane splitting had been ambiguous before the bill.

Proponents of lane splitting often cite the high safety record of such laws which are common in Europe. In heavy traffic motorcyclists are often “bumped” by passenger vehicles in heavy stop and go traffic and lane splitting can help reduce this safety hazard. It is also known that such laws can help relieve traffic congestion by allowing motorcyclists to cut to the front of the queue. But a new point is being brought up in the argument for the Texas bill—the high heat of Texas weather combined with heavy traffic can potentially damage air cooled engines on motorcycles.

While the evidence may be in favor of lane splitting, only about 20 percent of Texas legislators are convinced it is a good move for their state.

Help for busy parents

Two dads from Minnesota, concerned about parents who leave their child in their car seats by accident, have devised an app to help prevent this.

The app is called ibabyseat. So how can this work? It starts with a magnet placed on the base of the carseat that communicates with a sensor on the detachable seat. It will communicate with the app on your smartphone. If you move 30 to 40 feet away from the car without the baby, the sensor will be set off through Bluetooth. The app can also call 911 if the parent doesn’t respond.

It will retail around $30 and will be in retailers (Target, BabiesRUs, Walmart) in October.

Honda May Face 35 Million Dollar Fine

Although automakers are required to report deaths and injury claims involving their vehicles to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automaker Honda failed to report 1,729 serious accidents that involved death or injury between 2003 and 2014. Honda blames computer programming and data entry errors.

This under-reporting could cost this automaker tens of millions of dollars.

Honda finds itself in a turbulent ocean – as the news of the under-reporting comes upon them as they deal with the recall of some 6 million cars world wide that contain the Takata airbags. Airbags that can explode and hit passengers with shrapnel. Honda has acknowledged four deaths involving the Takata airbags. Eight of the unreported seventeen hundred some accidents involved the Takata airbags.

The mistakes have come to light after NHTSA asked Honda to conduct an internal review of its reporting process.

NHTSA has not yet announced if it will fine Honda, but could fine them a maximum of 35 million dollars—a hit GM had to take for a decade long delay in reporting faulty ignition switches that were tied to at least 35 deaths. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has stated that the 35 million dollar limit amounts to little more than a “rounding error” for an Automaker like Honda who makes billions of dollars a year. His department is petitioning Congress to raise the limit to 300 million.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/24/news/companies/honda-underreport-deaths-injuries/index.html?iid=HP_LN

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012, Part II

When you start looking for a car, used or new, it helps to get some ideas about value, reliability, and safety. Here’s Jody Victor® with the second half taken from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.

Jody Victor®: Hey Joe, you are absolutely right! Having some info to go on gets you started and helps you make an informed decision when it comes to buying a new or used vehicle. Here’s the rest of the article.

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i

Price when new: $25,240 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $15,218
Private-party price: $14,068
Certified used price: $16,256
MPG (city/hwy): 20/26

The Outback offers the best of both worlds: car-like construction to aid in maneuverability and fuel economy, plus the utility of all-wheel drive, copious amounts of cargo room (34 cubic feet) and a higher stance that improves visibility. Six airbags are standard, and it was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, too.

2009 Ford Taurus Limited

Price when new: $31,495
Dealer used price: $16,634
Private-party price: $15,271
Certified used price: $17,653
MPG (city/hwy): 18/28

Just a year after Ford revived the Taurus nameplate, it added standard stability control and earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Limited trim comes with Ford’s voice-activated SYNC system, which allows you to connect music devices with USB and phones via Bluetooth, making them easier to use safely.

2008 Mazda CX-9 Sport

Price when new: $30,035
Dealer used price: $18,315
Private-party price: $16,689
Certified used price: $20,424
MPG (city/hwy): 16/22

It seats seven and has 17 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats (48 cubic feet with the third row folded down), which helped the CX-9 win Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for this model year. Safety bragging rights include an optional blind-spot monitoring system — which will alert you if there’s something in your blind spot when you attempt to change lanes — and standard stability control.

2009 Toyota Sienna LE

Price when new: $26,865 (7-passenger)
Dealer used price: $18,463
Private-party price: $16,692
Certified used price: $19,882
MPG (city/hwy): 17/23

Multiple seating configurations make this minivan family- and cargo-friendly. In the seven-passenger Sienna, the removable second row captain’s chairs can be spaced out to give your brood elbow room, or arranged as a bench for easier access to the third row. The third row is split 60/40, and the sections fold over or completely flat. Even the front passenger seat folds down, should you have serious cargo needs.

2009 Infiniti G37x AWD

Price when new: $36,615
Dealer used price: $23,889
Private-party price: $22,308
Certified used price: $26,174
MPG (city/hwy): 18/25

The G Sedan gives German sedans like the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 a run for their money, but it costs thousands less. The 2009 model got a larger, 3.7-liter V6 engine that puts out 328 horsepower, as well as a seven-speed automatic transmission — plus, it packs in essential safety features, such as head and side airbags and stability control.

 Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check them out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012

If you are in the market for a used car, you may have trouble finding one. Here’s Jody Victor® telling us about it from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Joe, sometimes a used car is the way to go, no matter what kind of vehicle you are looking for. But since the Great Recession, used cars have not been around – people are hanging on to their older cars longer. Here’s a list, in two parts, from msn.com  that will give you something to go on.

2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS

Price when new: $19,545 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $9,902
Private-party price: $8,731
Certified used price: $11,480
MPG (city/hwy): 21/30

Hyundai’s Sonata offers a thrifty 2.4-liter engine, standard stability control and six airbags. Plus, it keeps ownership costs low — the brand’s 5-year/60,000-miles new-car warranty and five-year no-charge roadside assistance transfer to new owners (they get the remainder of both). The famed 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, however, doesn’t transfer.

2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i sedan

Price when new: $18,190
Dealer used price: $12,191
Private-party price: $10,967
Certified used price: $12,859
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

Engaging driving dynamics and Subaru’s always-standard all-wheel drive are only part of the Impreza’s appeal. It garnered a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS and has side and side-curtain airbags. If a collision causes the front airbags to deploy, smart technology protects the driver and front-seat passenger. Sensors measure the driver’s proximity to the steering wheel, as well as the passenger’s weight (to determine whether a child or an adult is occupying the seat), and adjust the airbags’ force accordingly.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT

Price when new: $23,225
Dealer used price: $13,114
Private-party price: $11,937
Certified used price: $14,141
MPG (city/hwy): 22/33

With its 2008 redesign, the Malibu garnered a lot of accolades: Kiplinger’s Best New Car and Best in Class awards were just a cherry topping to the industry’s prestigious North American Car of the Year award. But to play it safe, we recommend buying a redesigned vehicle in the second year of production — the first year’s examples often have kinks to work out. For 2009, stability control became standard across the trim lineup, along with side and side-curtain airbags.

2009 Nissan Rogue S

Price when new: $21,020
Dealer used price: $14,971
Private-party price: $13,435
Certified used price: $16,123
MPG (city/hwy): 22/27

After a 2008 redesign, when we named it Best New Small Crossover, the Rogue ascended to Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for 2009. Its stylish exterior complements the value it holds inside — including a peppy 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, stability and traction control, and six airbags. Plus, it was rated a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

2008 Honda CR-V LX

Price when new: $21,370
Dealer used price: $15,135
Private-party price: $14,089
Certified used price: $16,402
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

A perennial Kiplinger’s Best New and Best Used pick, the CR-V keeps its value throughout its lifespan. It boasts fuel economy on par with a midsize sedan, but it has more than twice the cargo capacity (36 cubic feet behind the rear seats). Its standard stability control and six airbags helped win it a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars, 2012

Did you ever wonder how auto makers figure out where they went wrong? What could they improve? What makes us happy or unhappy with a vehicle? Me, too! That’s why I asked Jody Victor® to tell us about it.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Joe, the answer is:  surveys! Customer satisfaction surveys go a long way to tell manufacturers what they are doing right, but more importantly, what they might be doing wrong. Here’s a list, in 4 parts, of quality vehicles from an article by Clifford Atiyeh of msn.com.

Top Subcompact Car: Toyota Yaris

The Yaris, with its old 4-speed automatic transmission and plebian interior, isn’t a stellar compact car compared with its more sophisticated competition. The redesigned, edgier 2012 model carries over much of the same equipment. But befitting a typical Toyota, the Yaris is cheap to maintain and simple to operate in either hatchback or sedan form. Toyota, at 88 problems per 100 vehicles, clearly has something right on its hands.

Top Compact Car: Toyota Corolla

Is it any wonder the world’s best-selling car winds up here? The Corolla name is nearly as old as Mustang, and when it comes to no-frills, dead-reliable transport, nothing is more renowned. Like the Yaris, the current Corolla is outclassed by its many rivals in technology, design and performance. That doesn’t seem to matter.

Top Compact Sporty Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata

When it was introduced 23 years ago, the Miata was meant to re-create the spirit of those iconic British roadsters — the lightweight and zippy MGs, Austin Healeys and Triumphs. What it left out were the atrocious electrical failures and other mechanical problems that plagued those old roadsters. A true enthusiast’s car, the Miata sets the standard for affordable sports cars that can go the long mile.

Top Compact Premium Sporty Car: Volvo C70

Refreshed for 2011, the Volvo C70 is an attractive alternative to the usual crop of $40,000 German convertibles. The folding hardtop, floating center control stack and understated interior blend well with the car’s turbocharged engines. But don’t get confused; the C70 is a cruiser, not a corner-dicing sports car. Safety, of course, is paramount; the C70 was the world’s first convertible with head curtain airbags.

Top Entry Premium Car: Lexus ES

Lexus once again leads the J.D. Power list as the most reliable automaker, with an average of 73 problems per 100 vehicles. The ES 350 is all new for 2013, with a more aggressive front end and sculpted interior, plus a hybrid trim. In any model year, the ES is smooth, steers with a finger and offers a lot of luxury for the money.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012 II

If the economy hasn’t affected you, maybe common sense has. I asked Jody Victor® to continue on with the best used car values.

Jody Victor®: Joe, it never hurts to look at all your options. If a used car makes more sense for your budget then do it! Here’s the rest of the list of best used car values, from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kipplinger and msn.com.

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i

Price when new: $25,240 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $15,218
Private-party price: $14,068
Certified used price: $16,256
MPG (city/hwy): 20/26

The Outback offers the best of both worlds: car-like construction to aid in maneuverability and fuel economy, plus the utility of all-wheel drive, copious amounts of cargo room (34 cubic feet) and a higher stance that improves visibility. Six airbags are standard, and it was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, too.

2009 Ford Taurus Limited

Price when new: $31,495
Dealer used price: $16,634
Private-party price: $15,271
Certified used price: $17,653
MPG (city/hwy): 18/28

Just a year after Ford revived the Taurus nameplate, it added standard stability control and earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Limited trim comes with Ford’s voice-activated SYNC system, which allows you to connect music devices with USB and phones via Bluetooth, making them easier to use safely.

2008 Mazda CX-9 Sport

Price when new: $30,035
Dealer used price: $18,315
Private-party price: $16,689
Certified used price: $20,424
MPG (city/hwy): 16/22

It seats seven and has 17 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats (48 cubic feet with the third row folded down), which helped the CX-9 win Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for this model year. Safety bragging rights include an optional blind-spot monitoring system — which will alert you if there’s something in your blind spot when you attempt to change lanes — and standard stability control.

2009 Toyota Sienna LE

Price when new: $26,865 (7-passenger)
Dealer used price: $18,463
Private-party price: $16,692
Certified used price: $19,882
MPG (city/hwy): 17/23

Multiple seating configurations make this minivan family- and cargo-friendly. In the seven-passenger Sienna LE, the removable second row captain’s chairs can be spaced out to give your brood elbow room, or arranged as a bench for easier access to the third row. The third row is split 60/40, and the sections fold over or completely flat. Even the front passenger seat folds down, should you have serious cargo needs.

2009 Infiniti G37x AWD

Price when new: $36,615
Dealer used price: $23,889
Private-party price: $22,308
Certified used price: $26,174
MPG (city/hwy): 18/25

The Infiniti G gives German sedans like the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 a run for their money, but it costs thousands less. The 2009 model got a larger, 3.7-liter V6 engine that puts out 328 horsepower, as well as a seven-speed automatic transmission — plus, it packs in essential safety features, such as head and side airbags and stability control.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check these great vehicles out.

Joe Victor

 

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 12 Best in Class Car Values For 2012

Based on performance, value and safety — plus driving impressions from road tests, these Best in Class winners rom Kiplingers will “Wow” you. I asked Jody Victor to explain.

Jody Victor: Well, Joe, here they are, 12 vehicles that should keep you happy no matter what, by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger, from msn.com , in 3 parts.

CARS UNDER $20,000: CHEVROLET CRUZE

Sticker price: $19,995 (Eco, manual)
Invoice price: $19,225
TrueCar national average price: $19,889
3-year resale value: 57%, 5-year: 40%
City mpg: 28, Hwy: 42

Introduced last year to replace the Cobalt, the Cruze quickly shot to best-seller status. It’s wallet-friendly on many fronts, blending a low price with impressive fuel efficiency and high resale values. Its stylish and nearly silent interior, plus solid handling, push it to the front of the compact pack.

CARS $20,000-$25,000: VOLKSWAGEN JETTA TDI

Invoice price: $23,451
TrueCar national average price: $23,619
3-year resale value: 62%, 5-year: 46%
City mpg: 30, Hwy: 42

The Jetta offers German engineering at a budget price but without a budget feel. It’s as spacious inside as compacts come, and as nimble, whether you’re parallel parking or navigating city traffic. The diesel version gets top honors for its powerful, fuel-efficient engine and stellar resale values.

CARS $25,000-$30,000: KIA OPTIMA

Sticker price: $25,850 (2.0T EX)
Invoice price: $24,205
TrueCar national average price: $25,205
3-year resale value: 52%, 5-year: 36%
City mpg: 22, Hwy: 34

The Optima’s redesign last year shook off the bland styling, adding sharp creases and an aggressive front end complete with fog lights and wraparound headlamps; it also won Kiplinger’s Best New Car award for its category. The turbo-boosted four-cylinder engine puts out more horsepower (274) than most in its class, a difference you’ll feel on the road. Add value pricing and a five-year warranty and you’ve got serious swagger.

CARS $30,000-$40,000: FORD TAURUS

Sticker price: $38,950 (SHO)
Invoice price: $35,820
TrueCar national average price: $35,005
3-year resale value: 54%, 5-year: 39%
City mpg: 17, Hwy: 25

A Kiplinger’s top pick since its 2009 reintroduction, the Taurus earns its plaudits with a mix of fuel efficiency and power. The V6 EcoBoost engine gives it the power of a V8 without guzzling gas. The Super High Output (SHO) badge means it gets a sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes and paddle shifters.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor