Are there any new laws or reports on an infant facing forward or backward, in the front or back seat in a car seat?

child-passenger-safety-tech-jeThe laws are not new, but your question raises an important issue that warrants reminders – especially this week being National Child Passenger Safety Week. One of my team members commented on driving past a car on Route 128 just last week that had two unrestrained young children in the back seat of the vehicle. One young child was trying to throw things out the open window of the vehicle. While thankfully not common, this situation is very dangerous.

Every 33 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash. Fortunately, deaths and injuries are frequently prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts. Of those children ages 8 and under who died in vehicle crashes in 2014 (the latest stats available), 26 percent were not restrained by an age-appropriate device such as an infant seat, booster seat or seat belt. Children should ride in a vehicle back seat until they are at least 13 years old.

The requirements are as follows:
• Infants – from newborn to two years old need to sit in the back seat and be in rear facing car seats.   This dramatically reduces the number of injuries or severity of injuries in case of an accident.. Rear facing provides an infant with additional support for his tiny head, neck, and spine, according to pediatric specialists. Premature newborns can be placed in special car beds made for preemies. They key is not only to place the infant in the rear-facing seat, but to secure it properly by tightening the strap. There are videos on line to teach parents how to properly secure the car seat.


• Children Ages 2 – 5 can be front facing but should remain safely secured in the back seat. It is recommended to check with your pediatrician, as smaller children may be in a rear-facing seat longer and depending on the child’s size may be safer in a car seat as opposed to moving to a booster seat.

• Children 5 and up to age 13 should remain in the back seat for safety reasons. Specifically, airbags may injure children given the force of when an air bag is deployed.  It is one of the many times I’ve used the old saying, “Better safe than sorry.” Children vary considerably in terms of height and weight during this age range so it is advised to only move out of a booster seat only when the child can be securely fastened by the seatbelt.
“Safety First” covers the Child Passenger Restraint Laws in Massachusetts and New Hampshire: Children must ride in federally approved child safety seats until they are at least 8 years old or over 57 inches tall (4′ 9″). Children older than 8 years old or taller than 57 inches tall must wear safety belts.

Most Police Departments and some hospital offer safety seat checks by appointment. If you are looking for one in Massachusetts, visit the Mass. Department of Executive Office of Public Safety and Security website for locations in your area by clicking here.

Some safety seat checks in the Jaffarian Volvo Toyota area include:
Lawrence General Hospital at 978-683-4000.
Haverhill Police Department at 978-373-1212
Merrimac Police Department at 978-346-8321.

If you are not 100% sure your child’s safety seat is properly fastened or used correctly, do not hesitate to ask for a consultation. Frequently there are free checks across the region to assist parents, grandparents and caregivers in ensuring their solution is safe and sound.  All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota want your children and infants to be safe. As a certified dealership for both Volvo and Toyota and achieving the designation of IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) Top Safety Picks for most models, we are proud of the safety records and innovations of both car manufacturers. Volvo is also piloting a program to include built-in passenger safety seats. We will keep you posted on this innovation.

Happy first day of Autumn and enjoy this beautiful weather!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

How can I avoid becoming a victim of road rage when I’m the one who drives the speed limit and some people get impatient with me?

road-rage-womanI was quite discouraged to read the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report stating that nearly 80% of drivers expressed some anger or aggression on the road this past year; and 7% of U.S. drivers engaged in some extreme form of anger which we know as “road rage.” This term refers to drivers who confront other drivers or ram their vehicles into other vehicles purposely or even try to run them off the road.

Surprisingly, the AAA report found that drivers in the Northeast were more like to yell, honk, and gesture angrily at other drivers than drivers in other parts of the country. In fact, Northeast drivers were 30% more likely to inappropriately gesture than drivers living elsewhere. In other studies, the cities with the most aggressive drivers are Miami, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. It is easy to understand that cities with their dense populations, traffic congestion, cultural diversity and various age groups would have the most aggressive drivers. But this also happens in local cities and towns every day.

Other studies found the road rage problem to be even more serious than screaming, swearing or gesturing. They found:
• 1 out of every 2 drivers who are the recipient of an aggressive behavior while they are behind the wheel will respond the same way.
• Over a 7-year study period, there were over 200 murders associated directly to road rage. 37% of the aggressive driving incidents involved at least one firearm.
• More than 12,000 preventable injuries have occurred because of road rage incidents.
• 2% of those who have someone driving around them aggressively have admitted to trying to run that vehicle off of the road.road-rage-older

Most often, experts believe road rage is based on people who have problems in other areas of their lives and the anger or frustration manifests itself while driving. In most cases, the victims of road rage either did nothing wrong or something very minor occurred that would not annoy the average driver. According to Lloyd Albert, Senior V.P. of Government Affairs for AAA, “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”

If you drive too slowly, or perhaps just drive the speed limit, you may find there is an impatient person behind you that will purposely tailgate. If you stop short, or even just stop at a red light or stop sign, you run the risk of being rammed from behind. Because of the stress of daily lives, most people in the AAA study believe that aggressive driving is a bigger problem today than it was even three years ago; and 90% felt that aggressive drivers are a serious threat to their own personal safety. It is a simple problem to understand—more traffic, more stress, less time to get somewhere or do what we need to do—more road rage.

While I dislike stereotyping, studies show male and younger drivers 18-39 were the most likely to engage in aggressive behavior, particularly males 16-19. Also, male drivers are more than three times more likely to get out of their vehicles and confront another driver or ram another vehicle than a female driver. The more aggressive drivers are also more likely to run through a red light, speed or cut off other vehicles on purpose. Others who exhibit road rage are often victims of depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem. They are “acting out” while driving.road-rage-male

Now that we understand the scope and cause of the problem, there are ways to avoid being a road rage victim by doing the following:
• Don’t intentionally brake or slow down, forcing the person behind you to swerve, change direction or suddenly change their speed and have to brake.
• Be tolerant, patient and even forgiving of a stranger who may be having a bad day. Don’t take anything personally. It’s not about you or even your driving skills in most cases.
• Avoid making eye contact with an aggressive driver.
• Don’t make any rude gestures.
• Maintain the proper amount of distance between your vehicle and the next.
• Don’t block someone from being able to change lanes.
• Do not change lanes without signaling.
• Do not keep your high beams on when passing another driver.
• Distracted drivers (talking on the cell phone or reading texts) and slowing down, swerving, etc. is a cause for others to become angry with those drivers. As I often write about the dangers of distracted driving, this is another reason to drive without distraction—as to not annoy other drivers who may become enraged.
• Always stay in your vehicle with the windows up. Contact the police if you feel your safety is being threatened. Don’t argue with or provoke another driver who may have wronged you.

Understand that none of us are perfect; we can all make mistakes on the road. When someone annoys you on the road, take a deep breath and assume it was not intentional. We are all unique and not everyone has the same driving habits. Perhaps they are upset, lost a loved one, just received bad news —it’s about their issues—not yours.

All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota hope that you are not the victim or road rage nor the cause of road rage or aggression while driving. We want you to be safe on the roads and enjoy these beautiful late summer days.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary, Uncategorized

I like to do the maintenance on my vehicles. As vehicles become more complex, what maintenance can I realistically do myself?

working-under-carThis is a great question. My brothers and I grew up tinkering with cars and trucks. We completely understand the person who likes to service and maintain their own vehicle. But, as you noted, vehicles are becoming more complicated incorporating advanced technologies and that does present challenges to the do-it-yourselfer.

According to AAA, the objective expert in the consumer automotive industry, the five maintenance projects they recommend for a do-it-yourselfer, that have not been significantly affected by technology, are the following:

  • Oil changes
  • Replacing air and cabin filters
  • Replacing the drive belt
  • Replacing the hose; and
  • Replacing engine coolant and windshield washer fluid.

It is important to note that you may be able to perform the above services and be good to go. The challenge is if there are other issues that may be difficult to detect without the proper diagnostics to read other sensors and indicators.

According to the AAA expert “Car Doctor,” John Paul, new technologies are affecting typical maintenance jobs. That is why if your vehicle has a service need, it is best to trust an expert like the certified mechanics at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota. We now leverage video to walk around your vehicle, identify the item or purpose for your service and use video to show you cause and effect whenever possible. Whether you like working on vehicles or have no interest, our commitment is to leverage technology to be able to show you what service is needed and why to give you peace of mind and confirmation of the work to be performed.

The “Car Doctor,” John Paul recommends the following maintenance and repairs are performed by an expert:Hawkeye alignment

  • Batteries— Some luxury vehicles now have a power adjustment system. If this is not set correctly, it may wear down sooner than needed.
  • Brakes— You may change your own pads, however dangerous it is to be under the vehicle, but you must be so careful not to get even a speck of dirt into an ABS system that could trigger a warning light if it makes its way into the hydraulics.
  • Fuel filter— New model vehicles have filters that require tools that the average do-it-yourselfer wouldn’t own.
  • Headlights – you may have done that in the past, however, now it is difficult to get into the headlight socket. New headlights, known as “adaptive headlights,” need system reprogramming. If not installed properly, they may stop turning on. This type of headlight, when properly installed, helps to improve visibility around corner, so they are very beneficial.
  • Tire rotation— There are sensors that monitor tire pressure. These sensors are very expensive and we frequently see customers who have damaged them or serviced at outlets where the technician was not properly trained. At best, If not reset properly, drivers could mistakenly be alerted to low pressure. Worse case, you are facing a significant expense to repair important technology that your vehicle included for your safety.

I am not one to discourage someone who enjoys working on their vehicle! However, as vehicles become more technologically advanced, the reality is that service and maintenance has also become more complicated. While working on a vehicle is for many enjoyable and a hobby, the complex technology presents challenges that may make the hobby frustrating and potentially expensive. Also keep in mind the importance of your own personal safety. Many people are injured working on vehicles at home because they do not have the proper equipment or lifts properly anchored.

If you enjoy working on your vehicle, come on in and visit our Parts Department to get the genuine parts you need to keep your Toyota a Toyota or your Volvo a Volvo. If you need service, you can schedule online 24/7 or call us at (888) 355-1041. We’re here to listen to your service needs and provide you with the best solution cost-effectively. We shop our competitors to be certain our prices are competitive. Check out our “Dare to Compare” board in the service area and online.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

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With all of the vehicles on the road, how can we assure our kids’ safety going back to school?

children bording busIt’s that time again—back to school! Most public schools in the area start this week. Some parents are elated and some not so much. But either way, it is important to be aware that buses are back on the roads and kids are on sidewalks getting to and from school.  The summer commute conditions are ending and we all need to be vigilant about the safety of all children

Please keep in mind these important safety tips when you see a school bus:
• Whenever you see a school bus ahead, slow down. Children run in and out of buses and sometimes cross the street without looking in front of the bus.
• Always stop when the school bus stops. It is illegal in all 50 states to go around a school bus.
• Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road.
• If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop.
• The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.
• Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.

According to the National Safety Council, more children, especially age  4-7, are hit by vehicles near schools than any other place. Traffic in front of schools is generally very hectic.

To minimize children not being seen properly, and to reduce the risk of accidents, the Safety Council recommends:
• Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
• Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school
• Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school
• Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic.
• In a school zone, when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or an intersection.
• Always stop for a crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
• Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas.
• Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
• Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way.

Many children ride their bikes to school. To reduce the risk of a pedestrian or bicycle accident:biking to school
• When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist. If the cyclist is on your side of the street, it is up to you as the driver to let other traffic pass before you swerve around the cyclist allowing enough room.
• When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass.
• If you’re turning right and a bicyclist is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals.
• Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this.
• Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
• Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars.
• Check side mirrors before opening your door. Many runners and bikers are injured by a door swinging open.

We appreciate all of those who donated to our Back-to-School Drive for backpacks and school supplies. Thanks to your support many local kids will start the year off with the supplies they need to learn.  From all of us at  Jaffarian Volvo Toyota, we hope it will be a great school year for you and your family. If we can help you with a decision for your new family vehicle, we have a nice selection of Volvos and Toyotas to meet your budget and your needs.

Drive safely over the long holiday weekend.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary, Uncategorized

Is anything being developed to minimize pedestrian and bike accidents?

Animal detection VolvoYes! I am pleased and proud to announce that both Toyota and Volvo have new initiatives to increase safety and minimize accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles, some of which were covered in the blog two weeks ago, with the introduction of the new Volvo S90.

Let me start by telling you a bit about the magnitude of these types of accidents.

Large animals have been responsible for far too many deaths or accidents in the U.S.
• An estimated 1.2 million deer-vehicle collisions occurred in the U.S. each year, costing more than $4 billion in vehicle damage, according to State Farm Insurance.
• The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) noted that deer-vehicle collisions in the U.S. cause about 200 fatalities annually.
• Deer collisions usually occur most often in the fall during deer migration. In states outside of New England, other large animals, such as moose, are responsible for additional crashes and fatalities.

Accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists are increasing, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
• This organization claims that pedestrian deaths rose 10% in 2015; motorcycle deaths by 9%; and bicyclists by 13%.
• NHTSA estimates that an automatic braking system is not a substitute for driver attention; however, automatic pedestrian braking systems are very helpful.

To minimize theses types of accidents, Volvo offers its new pedestrian and animal detection system. The Volvo S90 and XC90 have this powerful feature, which detects pedestrians, cyclists and — in a world’s first—large animals on the road, such as deer or moose.  This safety system operates in both day and night, offering drivers peace of mind while on the road.VolvoBikeSystem

The way it works is that the vehicle uses cameras, radar and infrared sensors to detect living objects in the car’s path of travel.  The vehicle will warn the driver and, if necessary, automatically brake if the driver doesn’t intervene. Now that is amazing!

The Volvo S90 also offers “city safety technology.” This enables the Volvo S90 to detect whether there’s a collision risk if a driver is approaching slower moving or stationary vehicles from behind. This is great for distracted drivers who don’t always pay attention.

Toyota is among a select number of vehicle manufacturers that have entered into an agreement with the NHTSA to make front automatic emergency braking systems standard by 2022. While many people might be concerned that autonomous vehicles (self-driving) are dangerous; they are actually safer vehicles because the human errors have been eliminated. (Volvo has been working on and testing autonomous vehicles in Europe.)

Somewhat similar to the Volvo system, this is designed to include protection for pedestrians and bicyclists. Toyota is promising to have a system that includes pedestrian detection standard on most of its models by the 2018 model year.

Toyota has launched a strategy that will bring automatic braking to most of its lineup, not just the premium vehicles. The technology will be a relatively low-cost ($300 to $635) option for the RAV4 Hybrid SUV, but Toyota hopes to have it available or included in nearly all of its models by the end of 2017-2018. It’ll be easy to find in the near future, too. The Avalon sedan is next in line for this innovative braking system.

Watch for these exciting and safe vehicles. We have a limited number of Volvos with these features at  Jaffarian Volvo Toyota and I’m sure we’ll be among the first to get the new Toyota vehicles in when they are available. Come in for a test-drive.

Enjoy this beautiful weather and rest of the fast-fleeting summer!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

Jaffarian seems to be very committed to supporting local youth. But do you just do charitable work at Christmas?

backpack promox

My grandparents set the Jaffarian standard for giving back to the local community and as we all know there are ongoing needs year-round right here in our local surroundings. My brothers and I were raised by our parents to give back to the community — it truly is in our DNA.

Over the years, Jaffarian Volvo Toyota has committed to focusing our charitable giving by supporting local organizations benefiting youth.  We believe in giving back locally, particularly in the area of youth sports, which can help kids build important life skills like teamwork, sportsmanship and discipline.

Earlier this year we established the Jaffarian Youth in Motion Fund, enabling members in need at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lawrence and Greater Haverhill to participate in sports and activities to enrich their lives and help them reach their fullest potential. Each club leverages the funds donated to promote kids trying a new activity or sport that otherwise may not have been possible due to financial constraints. The Jaffarian Youth in Motion Fund is an all-year round commitment working closely with these two great local Boys & Girls Clubs.

So here we are in Back to School season! The reality is that many local kids need back to school supplies. The local need is real so we decided to jump in to help local families.  We are currently accepting donations in the Jaffarian Toyota Showroom to help local families get ready for back to school by giving their school-aged children new backpacks and supplies to start the school year strong and with a smile.  Please join us as we fill the back of a Toyota Tundra. We will accept donations through August 31, but hope to get a big supply gathered by mid week next week (August 24th) so the Emmaus House in Haverhill can organize and distribute to as many local kids prior to the first day of school.  We will then deliver any additional supplies gathered.

Please join us in helping those children in our community get a great start to the school year; and have the backpacks and supplies they need. It may not be the holiday season, but the joy of giving has no limitations any time of the year.

Thanks in advance for your help with our Back to School Supply Drive!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary, Uncategorized

Is Volvo coming out with any new vehicles since they introduced the XC90? I don’t want an SUV.

S90 VolvoYou are in luck because Jaffarian Volvo just introduced the 2017 S90, an elegant luxury sedan that combines beautiful natural materials with the latest in Volvo’s safety features and high technology.

Here are some of the new features this vehicle offers:

• Park assist— This is an intelligent system that parks the car perfectly for you. While searching for a parking space, the system works out whether a space is large enough, then takes over the steering to guide you into it! How’s that for those of us who dislike parallel parking!

360-degree camera –This option makes parking and low-speed maneuvering in narrow places a simple operation, providing a bird’s eye view of everything surrounding the car on the center 9.3″ display screen.S90 screen

• Active high-beam –You’ll no longer have to think about when to switch between low and high beams, as the active high beam automatically reacts to oncoming cars.

Pilot assist—yes that’s (auto) pilot! This intelligent system automatically maintains a set distance or speed to the car in front of you and is standard on the new Volvo S90. It also gives gentle steering inputs to keep you properly aligned within your lane markings. It is the only vehicle in the U.S. with semi-autonomous driving technology. At your command, this car will assist with steering, acceleration, deceleration, and braking up to 80 mph, while allowing you to stay in complete control.

Large Animal & People DetectionVolvo S90 detects pedestrians, cyclists and – a world first – large animals in the road, like deer. Your car will warn you, and if necessary, automatically brake if you don’t intervene.

• City Safety Technology—This enables the Volvo S90 to detect whether there’s a collision risk if you’re approaching slower moving or stationary vehicles from behind. This is great for distracted drivers.

• Choice of Trim & Engine—The S90’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine has two choices: the base T5 trim is turbocharged and produces 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque with front-wheel drive; or the top-of-the-line T6 trim, on the other hand, is both super and turbocharged, and boasts a 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It has all-wheel drive.

• Sophisticated Color ChoicesLeather seating in a choice of standard or inscription S90 interiorleather is standard in all S90s and either is available in a choice of three colors. There is also a sophisticated color palette in standard or metallic colors for the exterior.

Optional Packages customize your vehicle to meet your personal needs—With too many features to include here, Volvo S90 owners can customize their vehicles with an upgraded sound system; or with vision, climate, or convenience packages. Your sales advisor will be happy to review those options with you.

Jaffarian Volvo has a limited number of these vehicles in stock and we’d be happy to order one customized just for you. This is a beautiful vehicle! I encourage you to schedule a test drive and experience the newest luxury sedan from Volvo!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary, Uncategorized
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