Allstate’s Call To Action Website

Politics is not a spectator sport.  We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines.  By getting involved in Take Your Stand, you will be better informed and prepared to make your voice heard.

Government overspending…..
Too many benefits for City Workers….
Universal Health Care……
Too many budget cuts……
Illegal immigration……
Global warming…..

http://capwiz.com/allstate/home/

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Fire Preparedness

New Laws for 2009

Text Messagingtext
Since July 1, 2008, drivers have been required to use a hands-free device while talking on a cell phone and driving. Starting January 1, 2009, text-based communication while driving is prohibited as well, with the same penalties – $20 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses. Specifically, the law prohibits writing, sending or reading text-based communication including text messaging, instant messaging and e-mail, on a wireless device or cell phone while driving.

DUI’s
Beginning in January 1, 2009, drivers on probation for any DUI conviction face zero tolerance if they drive on California highways with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .01% or higher.

Chain Resturant Menus
Chain restaurants in California will have to display calorie counts with each menu item — the first state law of its kind in the nation  The menu labeling was proposed by state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) as a way to give restaurant customers more information about what they eat.

“The way Californians order food is about to change,” Padilla said in a statement. “All Californians will soon be empowered with reliable, accessible nutrition information . . . that will help them make more informed, healthier choices.”  The new law applies to restaurants with 20 or more locations in California, which includes more than 17,000 eateries. Beginning July 1, 2009, they will be required to provide brochures containing nutritional information including number of calories and grams of saturated fat. Starting Jan. 1, 2011, all menus and menu boards above front counters will have to include the number of calories for each item.

Masking Credit Card Numbers
Businesses could be failing to protect your private purchasing information. How
safe are your transactions? How often have you eaten at a restaurant in town, paid by credit card and
noticed on the receipt you’re about to leave on the table that your entire credit card number is displayed? Anyone who picks up that receipt will have your private payment information and your signature at their disposal, including the restaurant staff. Business’s should be masking your credit card number so it shows up with only four legible numbers ie. xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-1234.

Current laws prohibit a merchant who accepts credit cards from printing more than the last 5 digits of the credit card account number or the expiration date upon any receipt provided to the cardholder.

The new law, effective January 2009, prohibits the merchant from printing more than the last 5 digits of the credit card account number or the expiration date upon any receipt retained by the merchant, (signed or not signed by the cardholder), which is printed at the time of the purchase, exchange, refund, or return.

Back In or Back Out? – The Great Parking Lot Debate

Why do some people back into parking spaces?  And further, why are a large percentage of the people who back into spaces driving pickup trucks?
 
When you are pulling in, you are generally going from a wide area to a very narrow area.  When you are pulling out, you are conversely going from a narrow area to a wide area.  If you did both of these forward, just to make things apples and apples, I think most people would agree that pulling in to the space is much harder than driving out.  So why do people do the harder move (pulling in) the harder way (backing up)?  
 
I have heard that in Quebec it’s illegal to back into your spot and that’s because they don’t have front license plates and it makes it more difficult for the police to identify your car incase they have to arrest you for something.

In Arizona it is because of wherever the sun is.  You back in to keep the sun off the dash and steering wheel, they get around 200 degrees in the summer time.

Some people says it is much easier to back into a tight parking space than to drive forward into it because when you are in reverse, your turning circle centres on the rear wheels, making for a better turn.

Some find It’s easier to back in a wide vehicle (pickup?) such as a van using the mirrors to see exactly where the cars are on either side of you. if you have problems with depth perception, this could help.

The final word, perhaps is for owners of 1978 Gremlins, “If your battery dies and you need a boost, it can be very problematic for battery cables to reach your car if the engine is not at the front of the parking spot.”

– the debate continues!

No More Space-Age Bluetooth Headsets!

This picture says it all.
Did you know that there is an answer to all those wishing to end their George and Jane Jetson fantasy?

Available at many stores like amazon.com, Costo, Walmart, etc… are bluetooth speaker phone car kits. These little device usually attach to your cars sun-visor and are about the size of your sunglass holder. Most have caller id and there are even a bluetooth enabled rear view mirrors that must be seen to be believed! Many of these do obviously requrie you to take your eyes off the road for a split second (not recommended!). Click on the photo to the left to watch a video of a truly unobtrusive device (bty… Allstate or myself can not recommend any particular device).

Cell Phone Hands-Free Law

Q: When do the new wireless telephone laws take effect?
A: The new laws take effect July 1, 2008.

Q: What is the difference between the two laws?
A: The first prohibits all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle, (Vehicle Code (VC) §23123). Motorists 18 and over may use a “hands-free device.” Drivers under the age of 18 may NOT use a wireless telephone or hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle (VC §23124).

Q: What if I need to use my telephone during an emergency, and I do not have a “hands-free” device?
A: The law allows a driver to use a wireless telephone to make emergency calls to a law enforcement agency, a medical provider, the fire department, or other emergency services agency.

Q: What are the fines(s) if I’m convicted?
A: The base fine for the FIRST offense is $20 and $50 for subsequent convictions. With the addition of penalty assessments, the fines can be more than triple the base fine amount.

Q: Will I receive a point on my driver license if I’m convicted for a violation of the wireless telephone law?
A: No. The violation is a reportable offense, however, DMV will not assign a violation point.

Q: Will the conviction appear on my driving record?
A: Yes, but the violation point will not be added.

Q: Will there be a grace period when motorists will only get a warning?
A: No. The law becomes effective July 1, 2008. Whether a citation is issued is always at the discretion of the officer based upon his or her determination of the most appropriate remedy for the situation.

Q: Are passengers affected by this law?
A: No. This law only applies to the person driving a motor vehicle.

Q: Do these laws apply to out-of-state drivers whose home states do not have such laws?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I be pulled over by a law enforcement officer for using my handheld wireless telephone?
A: Yes. A law enforcement officer can pull you over just for this infraction.

Q: What if my phone has a push-to-talk feature, can I use that?
A: No. The law does provide an exception for those operating a commercial motor truck or truck tractor (excluding pickups), implements of husbandry, farm vehicle or tow truck, to use a two-way radio operated by a “push-to-talk” feature. However, a push-to-talk feature attached to a hands-free ear piece or other hands-free device is acceptable.

Q: What other exceptions are there?
A: Operators of an authorized emergency vehicle during the course of employment are exempt, as are those motorists operating a vehicle on private property.

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Smoke-Free Cars with Minors

California state health officials today commemorated the ten-year anniversary of smoke-free bars in California and highlighted a new law that protects Californians against the danger of secondhand smoke.  The “Smoke-free Cars with Minors” law, which took effect January 1, bans smoking in a car carrying a minor.

“Our efforts to address the dangers of secondhand smoke in California began over a decade ago,” said Kimberly Belshé, Secretary of California’s Health and Human Services Agency.  “Today, our state continues to be a leader by ensuring that children and youth traveling in cars are not exposed to secondhand smoke.”

California’s “Smoke-free Cars with Minors” law, authored by Senator Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle when a minor (17 years old and under) is present.  A violation is punishable by a fine of up to $100.

“Infants and children are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Mark Horton, Director of the California Department of Public Health.  “Smoking in a car, or any confined space, increases the level of pollution inhaled by children and adults, thereby increasing the likelihood of suffering from the negative health effects of secondhand smoke.”

Studies of secondhand smoke exposure have shown that levels of secondhand smoke caused by one person smoking in a car can make the air inside the vehicle up to 10 times more toxic than the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says is hazardous for breathing.  

Evidence suggests that children are especially vulnerable to the health effects caused by secondhand smoke.  Exposure to secondhand smoke by children increases the risk of asthma attacks, ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia.  Long-term exposure also has been linked to heart disease and lung cancer in adults. 

California’s leadership and commitment to protecting residents from secondhand smoke began in 1994 with the passage of California’s Law for a Smoke-free Workplace.  The smoke-free bar provision of this law took effect in January 1998.

California’s public health policies are major contributing factors to the state’s low smoking rates.  California also has the lowest cigarette consumption per capita in the U.S. and serves as a model for other states and countries.

The California Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Control Program is the nation’s longest running and most comprehensive anti-tobacco program.  More information about the “Smoke-free Cars with Minors” law and the state’s tobacco control efforts is available at www.cdph.ca.gov