Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Government Bans Texting By Truck And Bus Drivers

The Transportation Department decided January 26th that it is prohibiting truck and bus drivers from sending text messages on hand-held devices while operating commercial vehicles.

The prohibition applies to interstate buses and truckers over 10,000 pounds and is effective immediately. Truck and bus drivers who violate the new ban may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2750.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia already prohibit all drivers from texting behind the wheel, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Another 10 states restrict texting by novice (i.e. teen) drivers.

Research by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting, the department said. At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road, the department said.

Thank you to NPR.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oprah Winfrey and Progressive's "No Phone Zone"

During her show today (Jan. 22), Oprah Winfrey announced that Progressive is sponsoring the No Phone Zone campaign, an awareness campaign designed to educate drivers on the dangers of cell phone use while driving. Drivers are encouraged to visit www.oprah.com/nophonezone to sign a pledge to not use cell phones while driving.

Ms. Winfrey launched the campaign January 15, and already, over 45,000 people have signed the pledge.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, close to 500,000 people are injured and 6,000 are killed each year as a result of drivers talking, texting, or e-mailing while behind the wheel.

“This sponsorship fits well with our brand. We encourage all drivers to operate their vehicles safely,” states Karen Barone, Agency Distribution leader. “In fact, we feel so strongly about this that Progressive employees are prohibited from using any electronic equipment, including cell phones, while driving on behalf of Progressive.”

For more information--or if you'e like to sign the pledge yourself--please visit www.oprah.com/nophonezone.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Tax Credit for Current Homeowners

With tax season coming up, are you bummed you didn't qualify for that $8000 tax credit the first-time homebuyers are receiving?

Did you know that there is a tax credit for current homeowners? Current homeowners looking for a replacement residence may qualify for a tax credit of up to $6500 ($3250 if married filing separately) under the new "long-term resident" provision. They must have lived in the same principal residence for any five-consecutive year period during the eight-year period that ended on the date the replacement home is purchased. This new provision also only applies to homes purchased after Nov. 6th 2009.

And now for the exclusions...no homes that cost more than $800,000, you must be over 18 years of age (dependants cannot claim the credit). Those who sell their new home or stop using it as their main residence within three years would have to repay the credit. You cannot claim the credit if acquired your home by gift or inheritance OR if you acquired your home from a related person.

For more information, check out the Federal Housing Tax Credit's FAQs

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

CarMax Launches Car Giveaway on Twitter

Prizes Include $250 Gas Cards

RICHMOND, Va. (January 4, 2010) - CarMax, Inc. (NYSE: KMX) the nation's largest retailer of used cars, has launched a contest on the social networking site Twitter, to award one lucky winner $25,000 towards the purchase of a used vehicle from CarMax's nationwide inventory. Contestants are encouraged to visit http://www.carmax.com/tweet to find the specific phrase to tweet, which will automatically enter them in the contest.

The "Tweet Yourself to a New Ride" contest will run for eight weeks and, in addition to the grand prize, will award gas cards valued at $250 each to eight separate randomly selected entries. A full list of rules and regulations, as well as frequently asked questions can be found on the contest page, www.carmax.com/tweet.

"Giving away a late-model, fully-reconditioned CarMax vehicle is an excellent way to draw attention to both our great cars and our efforts on Twitter," said Joe Kunkel, senior vice president of marketing and strategy. "This Twitter contest is a fun way to promote our brand and to share our story with car shoppers who haven't previously heard about us."

Twitter is a free, social networking website that enables its users to send and read 140 character messages known as tweets. CarMax uses Twitter to share information about CarMax, car buying tips and auto industry news.