Texting & Driving is like Driving Drunk

54gty67A texting driver is 23 times more likely to have an accident than a non-texting driver. However, one million people chat and text while driving each day. The average text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for nearly five seconds, so when traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field. Most experts agree texting and driving is equal to driving drunk.

According to the American Automobile Association, almost 50% of teen drivers admit to texting while behind the wheel. The US government puts the number of people injured during crashes because of texting while driving at over 578,000 just for 2010 alone.  In that same year, almost 6,500 people lost their lives because of texting behind the wheel.

Most states have instituted laws that ban texting while driving, and even ban the use of mobile phones while driving, unless you’re using a hands-free system. That means you can be pulled over and ticketed for just talking on your phone, much less for being caught trying to text while driving. What Can You Do? Remember a ticket will impact your automobile insurance premiums for many years.

  • Don’t be tempted; turn off your cell phone. Let voicemail capture your voice and text messages.
  • If you have to call or text while driving, pull off the road safely and stop.
  • Recognize that text messaging can be a habit. Get support from your friends by letting them know you are working on breaking the texting habit.
  • If you think you will still be tempted to text and drive, put your phone somewhere you can’t reach it, like the trunk.
  • Establish family rules that prohibit texting while driving.
  • Take control of your cell phone; don’t let it control you. You are the only one who decides when and if you send and read a text message

There are a number of apps that you can use to limit or reduce texting while driving:

IZUP: Holds texts, emails and phone calls while driving. Calls are sent to voice mail and text messages are delivered when the vehicle comes to a stop.

Key2SafeDriving: Uses a small Activator to detect movement and puts phones is a “Safe Driving Mode” until the driver is stopped.

Cellcontrol: Uses a small, easy to install device inside the car to detect movement and stop the use of cell phones.

PRL offers competitive rates on automobile insurance, call us today.

Heat Stress Prevention From PRL Insurance

derw3Summer is here, and many are not accustom to working and playing in hot temperatures. Heat stress is a signal that says the body is having difficulty maintaining its narrow temperature range. The heart pumps faster, blood is diverted from internal organs to the skin, breathing rate increases, and sweating increases, all in an attempt to transfer more heat to the outside air and cool the skin by the evaporation of sweat. If the body can’t keep up, then the person suffers effects ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion, and finally to heat stroke.

If the body cannot get rid of excess heat, it will store it. When this happens, the body’s core temperature rises and the heart rate increases.  As the body continues to store heat, the person begins to lose concentration and has difficulty focusing on a task, may become irritable or sick, and often loses the desire to drink. The next stage is most often fainting and even death if the person is not cooled down. The major heat stress injuries and illnesses are; heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, then heat stroke.

The most serious heat-related problem is heat stroke, which is life threatening. Heat stroke occurs when the core temperature rises so high that the body’s normal cooling mechanism ceases to function. In effect, the brain gives up and stops doing the things it normally does to maintain body temperature at a constant level.

The immediate steps to follow for a heat stroke victim while waiting for medical personnel to arrive include:

  • Move the victim to a cooler location.
  • Remove any outer clothing that would interfere with the free circulation of air around the victim’s body.
  • Apply cool water to the entire body surface of the victim. Use ice if necessary.
  • Vigorously fan the victim to increase the cooling effect of the water.
  • Get medical help as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:

  • Very high body temperature
  • Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating)
  • Dry swollen tongue
  • Rapid pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness, confusion and nausea
  • Collapse
  • Eventual unconsciousness

 

Heat Stress Prevention Tips:

  • Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-induced illnesses and what to do to help
  • Train the workforce about heat-induced illnesses and how to identify the symptoms
  • Drink water frequently and moderately
  • Use the buddy system (work in pairs).
  • Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages. Many cases of heat exhaustion occur the day after a “night on the town”
  • Eat lightly
  • Doing more strenuous jobs during the cooler morning hours
  • Utilize ventilation or fans in enclosed areas
  • Remembering that it takes about 1-2 weeks for the body to adjust to the heat; this adaptation is quickly lost – so your body will need time to adjust after a vacation
  • Wearing light-colored, cotton clothes and keeping your shirt on.  Desert nomads don’t wear all those clothes for nothing.

 

As the weather heats up this summer, remember to be aware of your body and take preventative action to minimize heat related injuries at work or at home.

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July 4th Safety Tips From PRL Insurance

 

MHy667Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as        apple-pie, but did you know that two out of five fires reported on that day are started by fireworks, more than for any other cause? So you think it cannot happen to you? Here are a few facts:

In 2011 over 9,000 people went to the emergency room as a result of fireworks related injuries. There was an estimated 15,500 reported fires started by fireworks. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, and $36 million in direct property damage.

Injuries by Fireworks Type (US department of Health & Safety)

  • 17%: Sparklers
  • 14%: Reloadable Shells
  • 13%: Firecrackers
  •   7%: Roman Candles
  •   6%: Bottle Rockets
  •   6%: Novelties
  •   2%: Multiple Tubes
  •   1%: Fountains

Fireworks Safety Tips

 

  • Buy fireworks only from licensed vendors
  • Never combine fireworks
  • Obey all local laws
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting
  • Follow directions
  • Never relight a firework
  • Don’t smoke or drink while lighting fireworks
  • Soak used fireworks in water before placing in trash
  • Make sure there is parental supervision
  • Never experiment with homemade fireworks
  • Use fireworks outdoors, in a safe area away from dry grass and buildings
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, bucket of water, wet towels and a garden hose nearby
  • Light one firework at a time – then move back quickly!
  • Never shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never point or throw fireworks at people or animals
  • Clean up all used fireworks including debris

“Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July and year end celebrations. Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help us prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths” Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Enjoy the holiday; we live in a great country, happy birthday America!

 

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Workers’ Compensation 101

12310272_xxlWorkers’ compensation insurance is state-mandated insurance that provides lost income, medical benefits, disability benefits, and rehabilitative services for workers injured on the job or while performing work-related duties. When an employee gets hurt on the job or has a work-related illness, only workers’ compensation will cover them. Health insurance benefits will not provide coverage for on the job injuries.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance premiums are computed as a direct result of your claims and payroll. The most effective method of reducing or managing Workers’ Compensation claims is to have effective safety program and a “Return to Work Program”.  Here are a few examples of what your safety rules might include:

  1. Drug and alcohol rules.
  2. Require safety equipment to be worn at all times.
  3. Keep work areas clean.
  4. Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry around machinery.
  5. Where required, you must wear protective equipment such as goggles, safety glasses, masks, gloves, hair nets, etc. appropriate to the task.
  6. Safety equipment such as restraints, pull backs, and two-hand devices are designed for your protection. Be sure such equipment is adjusted for you.
  7. Do not ever remove equipment safety guards. Ever!
  8. Develop a system for reporting unsafe practices.
  9. Have monthly safety meetings that review safety issues and related topics.
  10. Create accident investigation procedures that focus on prevention and change.

 

Return To Work Program

A Return to Work (RTW) Program is a process used by an employer to help employees who have suffered work related injuries or illnesses return to their vocational status. A RTW should have the following components:

  • A modification of work schedule and/or job duties. These need to be approved by the treating physician.
  • Modifications will vary depending on type of injury, employee’s condition and skills.
  • A plan that allows the employee to gradually return to pre-injury tasks and functions.

Work is therapeutic, and return-to-work programs are effective. The sooner employees reconnect with work associates and perform job responsibilities, the healthier their outlook, and the more favorable your workers’ compensation experience. All in all, a Return to Work Program can be a win-win solution for your employees and company.

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Elderly Driving – When to pull the keys

seniorriver2121There is no question automobiles give us incredible freedom. Having the ability to go to the store, doctor, or out to eat brings joy to all of us. As we age, it is normal for our driving abilities to change. Few people like the idea of depending on others or relying on public transportation. However, when age diminishes the ability of seniors to drive, endangering themselves and others, it is time to start making hard decisions.

Auto insurance companies understand this problem; accident rates increase for people over the age of 65. As our baby boomers move into retirement there will be more senior citizens on the road. The decision to know when to stop driving can be a wrenching one for all family members.

Most experts agree that age alone is not a predictor of poor driving skills. There are a number of factors you may want to consider when dealing with senior drivers:

  • General health- Often physical or mental impairment brings compromised decision making ability.
  • Medications- Certain medications or combinations of medications can affect senses and reflexes.
  • Eyesight- Poor eyesight is a major contributor to decreased driving ability.

Hearing impairment- Few people age without some deterioration in their hearing. Hearing loss can undermine ability to hear horns, sirens, and other sounds that would normally put someone on notice.

Signs it is time to hide the keys:

  • Slow responses
  • Lots of dents on the car
  • Increase in accidents in a short period of time
  • Driving angry
  • Decrease in confidence while driving
  • Difficulty turning to see when backing up
  • Riding the brake
  • Easily distracted while driving
  • Incorrect signaling
  • Hitting curbs
  • Failure to notice traffic signs
  • Driving at inappropriate speeds
  • Difficulty maintaining lane position

We recommend that you drive with the seniors in your life from time to time to see how they respond in different driving situations. Start a discussion early about driving safety and even provide resources to read. Their safety and the safety of others should come first.

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Identity Theft From PRL Insurance

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Your identity is one of your most important assists. Violation of your identity is frightening and can be costly, but most consumers tell themselves it cannot happen to them. These recent headlines may change your mind.

Miami Man Charged in $12 Million Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Involving Thousands of Fraudulently Obtained U.S. checks – Link to Article

Seven charged with identity theft inside Davis County Jail –   Link to Article

 

There are many things you can do to protect yourself from identity theft;

  1. Create a PIN that is not too easy to crack, i.e. don’t use “(your name)123”
  2. Don’t give out your Social Security number to people you don’t know.
  3. Consider reducing the credit cards in your wallet. Only travel with what you need.
  4. Shred all financial statements before placing in trash.
  5. Check your credit report annually.
  6. Don’t put your birthday on your social media site.
  7. Be careful about opening links you find in emails, know the source.
  8. Destroy digital data.
  9. Add identity theft coverage to your policy
  10. Be diligent about checking statements. Review all transactions monthly.

Remember that just being aware of, and doing, these things can reduce the possibility of identity theft. For more information call PRL Insurance today.

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Renting a Car Soon – PRL Insurance Has a Few Tips

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Many travelers operate under the misconception that car rental rates are all about the same, and that shopping is a waste of time. But rates do vary, sometimes by quite a bit, between companies and destinations. PRL Insurance has a few tips for you.

  1. Book on-line: The web often offers the best deals.
  2. Try renting mid-week, if your travel plans allow.
  3. Avoiding unnecessary insurance: Car rental companies try to sell insurance to accompany your rental, but many homeowners or home automobile insurance policies and some premium credit cards already cover car rental insurance so it always pays to check before accepting this option. Contact PRL Insurance to make sure you have the necessary insurance.
  4. Always buy your gas away from the airport; it can be as much as .25 per gallon less.
  5. Join reward programs: Many car rental agencies, hotels and airlines offer discounts if you are a member of a travel program.
  6. Look into renting the car for longer than you need, some agencies give you better daily rates for a week, and don’t charge you for early returns.
  7. Supply your own car seat if possible, they really upcharge you for this.
  8. Many rental car companies will try to up-sell you to a bigger vehicle or ask you add other features like GPS. Don’t do it. Remember your smart phone can be your GPS.
  9. Double check all fees.
  10. Join AAA: AAA always offer great discounts.

Before you drive away from the pickup station, inspect the car carefully for damage. Be sure the lights and turn signals are working properly, and check the mileage odometer. Report any defects at once. You can always contact PRL Insurance for a review of your coverage and how it might apply when you rent a car.

 

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Recreation Vehicles Insurance From PRL Insurance

9535581_xlIf you own a Recreational vehicle, motorcycle or other toys, insurance coverage should be part of your thinking. Remember, they are not automatically covered under your current insurance program. Oregon law requires you to maintain liability coverage on your vehicle. Here is a schedule of insurance coverage you might consider:

Liability Insurance

Liability coverage, also known as “property damage/bodily injury”, can help cover expenses from damaging a vehicle or injuring a person in an accident. 

Collision coverage

Collision coverage helps pay for damage to your vehicle if you hit another vehicle, another vehicle hits you, or your vehicle rolls over. Collision coverage can be required if your vehicle is financed or leased.

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive insurance helps pay for damage to your vehicle not caused by collision. Examples include damage or loss due to theft, vandalism, falling objects, fire, storms, and flood.

Uninsured or underinsured coverage

This coverage helps pay for repairs if your RV is damaged in an accident by an underinsured, uninsured, or unidentified driver. It also helps pay medical costs.

Medical payments coverage

Medical payments coverage helps pay medical costs for you and your passengers in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at fault.

Rental reimbursement coverage

This coverage helps pay for your rental car or other transportation if your RV cannot be driven due to an at-fault accident or comprehensive claim. This is really important especially if you are out of town.

Towing and labor coverage

Towing and labor coverage reimburses you for towing charges if an insured vehicle is disabled. It also covers on-site assistance, such as battery jump-start, tire change, and locksmith services. We recommend this on all recreation vehicles. Contact PRL today for more information. PRL Insurance offers competitive pricing for all your RV, Boat, and Motorcycle needs.

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Renters Insurance From PRL Insurance

Renters Insurance

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If you are a renter, then you need to read this article. Typically, the owner of the building is responsible for any loss to the building. The building owner or landlord is not responsible for your personal belongings.

Renters insurance is a homeowner’s policy for non-homeowners. It covers loss of your personal property, such as clothes, furniture, computers etc. It covers losses due to theft, fire, wind and many other events that might cause damage to your personal property. A renter’s policy can also pick up coverage for your temporary living expenses while repairs are made if your rented home is damaged.

You can also design the renter’s policy to provide liability coverage, should you cause injury to a third party. In some cases landlords require such coverage.  PRL Insurance has access to many different insurers who offer this coverage. The quoting process takes very little time.

A renter’s policy can go a long way toward protecting you financially if you suffer misfortune. Best of all, you don’t have to own your home to qualify for protection. Renters insurance is very affordable, and can be designed to meet your individual needs.

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Personal Umbrella Insurance 101 From PRL Insurance

Women with Umbrellas

Many people are unsure what a Personal Umbrella policy is or what it covers. We will explain the basics of Personal Umbrella Insurance and the benefits to you. When you are outside and there is a light rain or breeze you generally don’t need or want an umbrella. However, if it is pouring down rain with high winds, you take your umbrella. An Umbrella Insurance policy works much the same way.

Personal Umbrella Insurance provides extra protection or limits above the liability insurance you currently have. Just as an umbrella protects you from heavy rain, a Personal Umbrella Insurance policy protects you from losing the entirety of your wealth and assets in the event of a large claim. A Personal Umbrella policy from PRL can provide limits above your personal auto and home policies.

Here is an example: John Doe falls asleep while driving and hits a van with a family inside. The accident results in $600,000 of medical bills, but John Doe’s auto policy has a $500,000 limit. Fortunately, John Doe also has a $1,000,000 Umbrella policy, and the additional $100,000 would be covered under the Umbrella. Personal Umbrella insurance from PRL Insurance includes defense costs which can be the majority of a large claim. For example, we recently learned of a case where the claim total was $350,000, which included the attorney’s fees of $115,000. Personal Umbrella premiums generally cost less than one hour of an attorneys time; not a bad investment!

It is true that Personal Umbrella Insurance may not be for everyone, but if you are building financial resources for your future, are a professional, own your home, boat, or recreation vehicle, you should consider an Personal Umbrella Insurance policy from PRL. Having a young driver is another good reason to have the extra protection a Personal Umbrella offers. PRL Insurance can offer you the option of a Personal Umbrella, so please call us today!

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