Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Autumn brings about changing leaves, crisp-cool weather and a trend much more vexing: deer-related car crashes.

November is peak mating season for deer, Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist Jeannine Fleegle said.

“Bucks are on the move a lot more, because they’re looking for a date,” she said. “And there’s not much else they see. They’re not paying attention to roads – not that deer are very good at crossing roads anyway – but with these increased movements, the probability of them getting hit of course goes up.”    

Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr

Hands-free systems, supposedly the answer to safe texting and calling in the car, are still distracting us -- even after we're done using them.

Danielle Scott / Flickr

This year’s Labor Day is going to be a busy one for travel. And why not, with gasoline prices nationwide dipping their lowest since 2004.

“People are taking advantage of that, and a lot of people are traveling," said Chelsea Pompeani, public affairs director of AAA East Central. “And I know the weather is supposed to be nice in certain areas.”

Adam Lederer / Flickr

Many Pittsburgh area students will return to school this month, bringing long-dormant, flashing “school zone” signs back to life.

Studies show that obeying school zone speed limits can save lives. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour is about two-thirds less likely to die than a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 miles per hour.

AAA East Central is asking drivers to be patient as kids and parents get used to new schedules and school buses return the roads.

  Travel is cheaper this year, with gas prices and plane tickets being less expensive than they have been in recent years, and this has led to AAA project a record breaking travel season.

“Well this year our holiday travel volume nationally and regionally broke all records, and we’ve been keeping track of this since 2001. So for the yearend holidays, which is Christmas and New Year’s, there’s going to be more people on the road than ever,” said Spokeswoman for AAA, Chelsea Pompeani.

AAA Study: Hands-Free Tech Is Not Always Risk-Free

Oct 8, 2014

“Not all voice activated systems are created equally,” according to Bevi Powell, AAA’s East Central Senior Vice president.

A study conducted by AAA finds three out four drivers believe their hands-free technology is OK to use while driving, however many systems are actually more of a distraction than they think.

“The problem is when you’re distracted mentally, or you’re cognitively distracted then you’re taking your mind off of what you should be concentrating on and that is operating your vehicle safely,” said Powell.  

Nearly 5 million people from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are expected to travel 50 miles or more this Labor Day weekend for their last hurrahs of summer, according to AAA.

That’s a 0.6 percent increase from last year, according to AAA spokeswoman Teresa Adams. She said people are trying to squeeze the last drops of summer out of the holiday weekend.

“The school year’s starting, the weather is beautiful,” she said, “[and] we have an opportunity to get out there one last time before the winter and the snow.”

Nationally, AAA forecasts this August’s gas prices to be lower than in previous years – but in Pennsylvania, not so much.

The average price for regular unleaded gasoline in western Pennsylvania is $3.72 per gallon - compared to $3.52 nationally.

Teresa Thomas, AAA East Central director of public affairs, said there are two reasons for higher gas prices in the commonwealth.

“One is the gas tax, and we also use a special summer blend of fuel in seven counties in western Pennsylvania, and that makes the price a little higher than the national average,” Thomas said.

Flickr user Dale Beckett


Fourth of July weekend travel is expected to reach pre-recession levels for the first time, even though gas prices are the highest they’ve been since 2008.

AAA is predicting that 41 million Americans will travel at least fifty miles this weekend, a 1.9 percent increase over last year, with 80 percent traveling by car.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, the number of people traveling to celebrate the holiday is expected increase by 1.3 percent.

With barbeques and picnics scheduled all throughout the Memorial Day weekend, the number of people traveling for the holiday is expected to increase, as are prices.

According to AAA, this year 36.1 million people are predicted to go at least 50 miles from their homes to celebrate the weekend. That is up 1.5 percent despite some travel costs rising: Average hotel prices have increased $3, rental car prices have risen 1 percent to $44, gas prices are expected to rise and airfare is up 6 percent.

AAA East Central, which serves Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and New York, said they have already fielded nearly three times as many requests for assistance as they would on a typical winter day.

Bevi Powell, senior vice president for AAA East Central, said between midnight and 9 a.m. on Tuesday, the motor club federation has already serviced 1,650 requests for roadside assistance, and that most of those calls have been due to dead batteries.

Approximately 94.5 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this week for the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to AAA East Central. That’s a half a million more travelers than the Christmas travel season last year and the highest number ever recorded for the season.

“The Mid-Atlantic region there’s expected to 10.5 million travelers and most of those will be driving,” said AAA East Central’s Bevi Powell. “There will be about 9.49 million drivers on the road. The Mid-Atlantic region includes New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.”

Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest when it comes to travel, and this year will be no exception. AAA forecasts that nationally 43.4 million people will travel during the holiday week. In the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, 5.01 million people are expected to travel, a 2.4 percent decrease over last year.

Flickr user Corey.Cousins

While it may not officially be winter yet, winter driving conditions may be experienced as temperatures drop and snow begins to fall. AAA is recommending drivers take precautions for winter driving.

A new study finds that hands-free devices in cars aren’t as safe as people think.

Research by AAA found that hands-free technology in cars gives drivers a false sense of security.

Bruce Hamilton, manager of research and communications with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said an increase in mental workload slows reaction time, causing drivers to scan the road less and miss visual cues.

When choosing a way to get around for the next few years, eight out of 10 adults would rather drive out of the dealership with a gas vehicle than an electric one.

According to a survey by AAA, 30 percent of adults said they would not buy an electric car because of limits with mileage. Twenty-six percent said it was because of cost.

The traditional kick-off to the summer driving season officially gets underway this weekend as millions of people travel for the Memorial Day weekend. According to AAA East Central, approximately 31.2 million motorists will hit the road starting Thursday.

“In the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, there will be about 3.78 million drivers out on the roadways, so very busy if you’re heading out on a road trip,” said AAA spokeswoman Bevi Powell.

AAA Finds One in Four Text While Driving

Feb 25, 2013
Jason Weaver / Flickr

A new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that 27 percent of motorists sent a text or email while driving in the past month.

It also found that two out of three motorists talked on their phone while driving in the last 30 days, and 89 percent believe others using cell phones are a danger to their safety.

The survey gauged the reactions of about 3,900 U.S. residents ages 16 and older to different safety situations.

AAA Kicks Off “FIX PA ROADS” Campaign

Feb 15, 2013

Pennsylvania AAA Clubs are launching a statewide public service outdoor advertising campaign to call attention to the state’s crumbling roads and unsafe bridges.

AAA East Central today announced a campaign to urge state officials to boost funding for the state’s ailing transportation system.

According to Brian Newbacher of AAA East Central, transportation investment has been under-funded in Pennsylvania for decades, and will take some years to fix.