Thursday, June 27, 2013

Please Don't Text & Drive!

Do you ever encounter this situation? You’re driving on the freeway when suddenly the vehicle directly in front of you slows down quickly. What is the reason most of the time? It’s called distracted driving and the #1 form of doing it is texting. Texting while driving has become a huge problem in this country today and that’s why states are establishing anti-texting laws and using the media to get the message out there.

The national statistics are scary and surely not an LOL moment. 23% of all accidents in this country are caused by texting (1.3 million annually). 13% of all people ages 18-20 in accidents admitted texting while driving. And since 82% of Americans between the ages 16-17 own cell phones, the numbers are staggering. And here is the most frightening stat out there-- 77% of drivers ages 16-25 believe with confidence that they can safely text while driving without compromising their safety on the road. Now that’s an OMG revelation, for sure!   

At Mike’s Auto Body with 11 locations in the Bay Area, we encounter customers who have been in car accidents because they were texting or the driver of the car they hit was texting. Even though the news is often discussing the dangers of texting while driving, people continue to text on the road.

In a recent study sponsored by the Southwest Region University Transportation Center, 42 drivers between the ages of 16 and 54 participated in the research. Researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) have determined that a driver’s reaction time is doubled when distracted by reading or sending a text message. The study reveals how the texting impairment is even greater than many experts believed, and demonstrates how texting drivers are less able to react to sudden roadway hazards.

The study — the first published work in the U.S. to examine texting while driving in an actual driving environment — consisted of three major steps. First, participants typed a story of their choice (usually a simple fairy tale) and also read and answered questions related to another story, both on their smart phone in a laboratory setting. Each participant then navigated a test-track course involving both an open section and a section lined by construction barrels. Drivers first drove the course without texting, and then repeated both lab tasks separately while driving through the course again. Throughout the test-track exercise, each participant’s reaction time to a periodic flashing light was recorded. Reaction times with no texting activity were typically between one and two seconds.

Based on the study, reaction times while texting were at least three to four seconds on average. Worse yet, drivers were more than 11 times more likely to miss the flashing light altogether when they were texting. The researchers say that the study findings extend to other driving distractions that involve reading or writing, such as checking email or Facebook.

So, please refrain from texting or using your cell phone while driving.  Ask yourself, how important is that text message or phone call? Does it really have to take place right now while you’re driving and risking your safety, not to mention the safety of everyone else on the road?  If you think about it, texting and talking on the phone can ALWAYS usually wait.

A useful safety tip from Mike’s Auto Body, because your well-being is our #1 priority.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Being Green Starts with Waterborne Paint

By painting every car through the doors with PPG’s waterborne Envirobase® High Performance paint, Mike’s Auto Body is a green business and proud of it. Mandated in California, waterborne paint is a healthier alternative to solvent-based paints, because it is safer for both the environment and for the company’s painters that apply the paint. Mike's Auto Body’s Head Painter at their Brentwood location, Kevin Cordua, gives PPG very positive reviews after being introduced to the product several years ago and now it’s big part of his professional life.

If you’re not familiar with waterborne paint, it’s a high solids product where water is the carrier of the color instead of solvents. Waterborne paint is cleaner and generates 25 percent less pollution emissions than that of solvent paint. Most vehicle manufacturers have, or are moving to, waterborne paint systems and there’s a very good chance that your car was originally painted with waterborne paint.

Mike’s Auto Body uses PPG’s waterborne paint because it is a better, safer product that reduces environmental impact and allows the company to efficiently match automotive factory colors on each and every car. Waterborne paint does cost a little more and requires strict process compliance, but if it’s better for the environment, it’s definitely a major win-win for Mike’s Auto Body and its customers throughout the Bay Area. 

Kevin Cordua (shown above painting a vehicle) is the head painter at Mike’s Auto Body's Brentwood location and has been painting cars in both waterborne and solvent paint for 30 years. He fully appreciates the green quality of waterborne paint and likes working with PPG’s Envirobase® High Performance paint for all the right reasons.

“By using less product, it’s better for the environment and we appreciate the quality of the finished product,” Cordua explained. “We’re able to save time over the solvent too, because the waterborne paint dries faster and we can get better coverage more rapidly as well.”

With 11 locations, Mike’s Auto Body paints approximately 1,500 vehicles  monthly, so Cordua knows his paint has to perform perfectly each and every time. “There hasn’t been a drop-off in production or quality since we changed to waterborne paint, and that’s important,” Cordua said. “Because, we want to be green, but we also need to do exceptional work, and the PPG waterborne Envirobase® High Performance paint enables us to do that.”

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Let’s Meet Our New Blogger

We recently signed on with a new blogger who will also be helping us at Mike’s Auto Body with marketing chores, social media and the Internet.  Ed Attanasio, age 50, is a freelance writer, advertising copywriter and automotive journalist with more than 30 years of experience. He is an editorial contributor for Autobody News covering the collision industry in northern California and also writes a monthly column about social media and marketing for body shops.  Ed talks to collision repairers about how to use the Internet and social media to build their businesses and attain new customers.
He’s pleased to be working with the team at Mike’s Auto Body and looks forward to watching the company grow. “Mike’s Auto Body is one of the top MSO’s (Multiple Shop Operations) in the country right now,” Attanasio said. “Mike Rose and his family have taken a very successful business model and emulated it 11 times. By embracing new repair techniques, tools and training, Mike’s Auto Body is a leader in the collision industry in the Bay Area.”

Attanasio has been writing about Mike’s Auto Body’s Benevolence Car Giveaway Program since 2005 for several automotive publications, including Parts & People and Autobody News, he explained. “Mike’s Auto Body is a leader when it comes to doing charity work here in the Bay Area and every year they give away cars to deserving people. It’s something I personally believe in, and that’s why I’m so excited to be working with the Rose Family.”

When Ed isn’t working, he enjoys watching baseball and football, photography, art and reading. He lives in San Francisco, CA with his wife Simone and his two dogs—Fat Freddy and Gracie. He was a stand-up comic for 15 years and performed with Dana Carvey, Sinbad, Rob Schneider and Ton Kinney, the voice of Sponge Bob.