New left-turn signals on Michigan’s roads

You may have begun to notice a new style of left-turn signal on Michigan’s roads. Placed OVER the left-turn lane at a signalized intersection, this new signal display includes a flashing yellow arrow.  In coming years, this type of signal will replace all flashing red left-turn signals.

How will it work?
In most locations, the flashing yellow arrow will be part of a four-arrow signal. In areas where this is not possible, the bottom of a three-arrow signal will display either the flashing yellow arrow or a steady green arrow.

Signal phases:

red light  Red: STOP.
yellow flashing light Flashing yellow arrow: Left turns permitted.  Yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. [Oncoming traffic has a green light.]
green light Green arrow: Safe to turn left. [Oncoming traffic must stop.]
yellow  light Steady yellow arrow: The left-turn signal is about to change to red; prepare to stop, or prepare to complete your left turn if you are within the intersection.

Why the change?
This change is the result of a national study conducted for the Federal Highway Administration, which demonstrated that the new signals:

  • help to prevent crashes
  • move more traffic through an intersection
  • and provide additional traffic management flexibility.

Why is it a better left-turn signal?

  • It’s safer. A national study demonstrated that drivers made fewer mistakes with the new signals than with traditional left-turn arrow signals.
  • It’s more efficient The new signals provide traffic engineers with more options to handle variable traffic volumes.
  • It’s more consistent. You’ll see the same signals in every state because the new signals are being introduced throughout the U.S.

 

From the Michigan Department of Transportation

How to Prevent Common Desk-Related Injuries

Did you know spending hours at a desk can affect your muscle and bone structure? It can cause you to develop serious conditions that are both painful and debilitating. If you have an office job or lead a sedentary lifestyle, there are ways to reduce your risk of a desk-related injury.

Protect your joints and bones with these office-friendly techniques:

Hands and Wrist

Carpal tunnel is one of the most common injuries among office workers. It’s caused by severe pressure on the median nerve that runs through the wrist. This can lead to tingling or numbness in the fingers as well as muscle atrophy. Avoid these symptoms by taking the following precautions:

  • Keep the arm and wrist closely leveled to each other, with the wrist slightly lower (if possible).
  • Keep frequently used objects close by to prevent strain from strenuous reaching.
  • When possible, avoid bending the wrist completely up or down. This will help relieve pressure from the median nerve.

Upper and Lower Back

Either too much or too little activity can lead to serious back problems. That means overexertion or a lack of mobility, which are linked to stiffness and bad posture. Adding these small changes to your daily routine will keep your back strong and fluid.

  • Make sure the height of your chair allows your feet to rest flat on the floor with your thighs parallel to the ground.
  • Avoid slouching. This can roll your shoulders forward, crushing the nerves in your neck.
  • Just as its important for wrist health, keeping everything within arm’s reach prevents unnecessary bending and twisting.

Eyes 

Eyestrain (asthenopia), is a condition caused by the exhaustive and prolonged use of the eyes. It can be caused by excessive screen time, long drives, stress, fatigue and even dry air. Luckily, eyestrain can be prevented by taking these active measures:

  • When at a desk, keep the computer monitor at arm’s length, with the screen angled slightly below your eye line.
  • Through your display settings, lower the brightness and change the “temperature” of your monitor to a more reddish color.
  • Keep your eyes busy by practicing the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

It’s extremely important to take breaks during the work day. Getting up and walking for a few minutes every hour resets your body to its natural position. You’ll return to your desk feeling loose and refreshed.

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Buckle Up for the Ones Who Will Miss You

To stress the importance of buckling up, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) recently launched a new safety campaign that includes television and radio ads, billboards, social media posts, and banners displayed at more than 600 police and public safety offices across Michigan. The effort is part of the annual Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement crackdown that runs May 20 through June 2.

“Three out of four people ejected from a vehicle in a crash will die,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “Wearing a seat belt is the simplest thing you can do to reduce injuries and save lives. Buckle up for the ones who will miss you – every trip, every time.”

As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, officers from police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police will be conducting seat belt enforcement across the state during the two-week period.

Two new Click It or Ticket ads that are part of the safety campaign by the OHSP remind motorists why it’s important to buckle up. They can be found at:

Last Memorial Day, 19 people died in traffic crashes over the holiday period, almost double the number in 2017. Seat belt use is the single most effective way to stay alive in a crash. Buckling up can reduce the risk of serious injury or death in a crash by 45 percent.

In Michigan, the seat belt usage rate stands at 93.4 percent. The national seat belt use rate in 2018 was 89.6 percent.

Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passengers and passengers 15 and younger in any seating position to be buckled up.  The fine and associated costs for not wearing a seat belt is $65.  Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall, and children under 4 years old must be in the back seat.

The OHSP coordinates the Click It or Ticket effort which is supported by federal traffic safety funds.

 

https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-72297_64773_64776-497454–,00.html 

Northwood University International Auto Show

In its 56th year, The Northwood University International Auto Show (NUIAS) continues to be the largest outdoor new car show in North America. Year after year Northwood University students work tirelessly to display over 500 vehicles from 65 manufacturers. Being 100% student run, the show is funded by the generosity of alumni, supporters, friends, and corporations. This year NUIAS is looking back on its legacy as a premier experiential learning and guest destination. Student captains are focusing on showcasing the history of their brand’s most iconic vehicles.

 

Founded in 1964, NUIAS is completely free to the community – guests are not required pay admission or parking fees.

2019 Show Hours:

  • Friday Sept. 27: 1pm-6pm
  • Saturday Sept. 28: 9am-6pm
  • Sunday Sept. 29: 10am-5pm

 

https://nuias.northwood.edu/  

 

Auto industry drives state parks development

This is part of a series of stories to mark the centennial of Michigan state parks. On May 12, 1919, the Michigan Legislature established the Michigan State Park Commission, paving the way for our state parks system. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is celebrating this milestone throughout the year with special events, podcasts, historical stories, videos, geocaching and more. Find more details at Michigan.gov/StateParks100.

By CASEY WARNER
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Visitors enjoy the Upper Falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the eastern Upper Peninsula.Visit a popular destination like Grand Haven State Park or Tahquamenon Falls State Park on a sunny summer day, with their bustling parking lots and vehicles lined up at the entry gates, and the link between cars and state parks is evident.

That connection began decades ago, as the burgeoning automobile industry drove development of Michigan’s state park system.

That system dates back to 1919, with the establishment of the Michigan State Park Commission and Interlochen State Park.

During this same era, cars were becoming an increasingly popular mode of transportation.

“The turn of the century marked the start of the motor age and the beginning of a revolution in transportation. Ready access to features of the State would no longer be limited to points on railroads or water routes,” the Michigan Department of Conservation’s “State Parks of Michigan: A Report of the Past, a Look to the Future,” said in 1957.

Automobiles and state parks became popular together as is shown here at Island Lake State Park.The auto industry’s growth was an important trend for park development nationwide as well as in Michigan.

By the time the National Park Service was formed in 1916, “motor cars, many mass produced by Michigan technology, were speeding tourists along an expanding network of roads,” Claire V. Korn wrote in the book “Michigan State Parks: Yesterday Through Tomorrow.”

In 1921, when the first National Conference on State Parks convened, Michigan was one of only 17 states that had its own state parks.

“Michigan’s state park system was built on the foundations painstakingly laid at this conference. Before dispersing, the conservationists issued a call for all governments – local, county, state, and national – to acquire recreational lands and waters within easy access of all citizens,” Korn wrote.

The mindset of making outdoor recreation opportunities accessible to travelers was evident on state road maps.

In 1912, Michigan’s highway department issued a free road map of the state. In 1919, the state Legislature authorized the highway department to publish and sell a tourist map. By 1922, that map included state parks, and by 1923 the map also contained information on recreation sites, campsites and ferry schedules.

A historic photo shows Fort Wilkins State Historic Park along U.S. 41 in Keweenaw County.In 1919, Michigan also established the nation’s first roadside park, along US-2 in the Upper Peninsula’s Iron County, a development spurred by Iron County Road Commission engineer Herbert Larson’s difficulty in finding a picnic spot while on a vacation to northern Wisconsin.

Access to outdoor recreation became a selling point for both Michigan tourism – with the State Park Commission adopting the slogan “Michigan – America’s Playground” – and cars.

An advertisement for the 1924 Ford Model T, showing a family camping on the lakeshore, said “Get out the old fish pole, the lunch basket, your camping outfit and camera – you’ll need them now that Spring is here again. Neither stream, nor field, nor mountain park can hide their beauty from you – it’s all yours with a Ford.”

With the state’s roads carrying an increasing number of tourists in search of the great outdoors, Michigan also built the nation’s first permanent travel information center at New Buffalo, in the southwest corner of the state near the Indiana border, in 1935.

The expansion of the auto industry in the early 1900s also meant ample job opportunities in Michigan.

“‘Michigan Leads All States in Gain of People in Towns!’ a 1921 newspaper headline trumpeted, and Detroit was bursting its seams.

“The sons of poor struggling farmers, lumberjacks, and miners were flocking to the city to take lucrative and dependable factory jobs. Steady work brought prosperity, and with prosperity came leisure … for the common working family,” Korn wrote.

Beachgoers enjoy Dodge #4 State Park in Oakland County.“At last all the pieces – the idea, the means, the need, the transportation, and the organization – united to fuel the vigorous growth of Michigan’s state park system.”

The Michigan Department of Conservation, in its 1923/1924 biennial report, noted the need to expand parks to keep up with the increase in cars, roads and leisure time:

“The ever increasing number of automobiles, the extension of good roads, together with an increase of efficiency in production which makes available more time for the people to use both the automobile and road – all go to make up the problems of taking care of the increased number of people who are travelling.

The work that is being done and effort spent to cope with other problems caused by the same three factors, is proof enough to show them a great big reality. Questions that arise on this are: Where are they all going? Where should they go? What shall they do when they get there? An adequate system of State Parks will do much towards the solution or answers to these points.”

The report’s recommendations included acquiring more lands in southern Michigan for state parks, enlarging and improving existing park sites, and helping local governments establish parks.

In 1922, the first year park attendance was recorded, state parks welcomed more than 200,000 visitors. By 1930 – eight years later, by which time 30-plus state parks had been established – attendance had skyrocketed to more than 8 million visitors a year, a 40-fold increase.

And by 1955, when another 20 parks had been added to the system, annual state park attendance had grown to almost 18 million.

See a list of dates Michigan state parks were established.

Today, Michigan’s 103 state parks see 28 million visitors a year.

Learn more about Michigan’s state parks at Michigan.gov/StateParks.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at Michigan.gov/DNRStories. To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles, sign up for free email delivery at Michigan.gov/DNR.


/Note to editors: Contact: John Pepin, Showcasing the DNR series editor, 906-226-1352. Accompanying photos and a text-only version of this story are available below for download. Caption information follows. Credit Michigan Department of Natural Resources, unless otherwise noted.

Text-only version of this story.

Ad: A brochure for the 1924 Ford Model T touts the car as a means to outdoor family fun. (From the collections of The Henry Ford.)

Dodge #4 1 and Dodge #4 2: Dodge #4 State Park in Oakland County – whose land was donated to state by the Dodge Brothers Corporation in 1922 – has long been a popular outdoor recreation opportunity within a short drive from urban areas. The historic photo, taken in 1940, shows a line of cars waiting to get into the park. (Dodge #4 1 courtesy of Archives of Michigan.)

Fort Wilkins 1Fort Wilkins 2 and Copper Harbor: As cars became a more prevalent mode of travel and Michigan’s network of roads expanded, tourists could more easily visit remote outdoor attractions like Fort Wilkins State Park and Copper Harbor Lighthouse, located at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. (Fort Wilkins 1 and Fort Wilkins 2 courtesy of Archives of Michigan.)

Grand Haven 1 and Grand Haven 2: Today and decades ago, Grand Haven State Park in Ottawa County is a favorite recreation destination for those traveling by car.

Island Lake: This 1938 photo shows a full parking lot at Island Lake Recreation Area in Livingston County. (Courtesy of Archives of Michigan.)

Tahquamenon Falls 1 and Tahquamenon Falls 2: The advent of auto travel enabled Michigan residents and visitors to enjoy more of Michigan’s scenic locations, like Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the eastern Upper Peninsula. Today tourists flock to these popular destinations that are just a car ride away./

Focusing on Loss Control is the Best Way to Save WC Premium Dollars!

MADSIF – A Risk Management Tool Designed to Prevent Claims and Reduce Your Premiums

Taking the time to understand the drivers behind your workers’ compensation costs and making a long-term commitment to a comprehensive loss control program designed to control those drivers is the best method for reducing your WC premium.

Shopping carriers may bring short-term savings but unless the true issues behind your WC costs are addressed those savings will be just that, short term.

The main driver of your WC premium is your loss control program. The success or failure of the program is reflected in the severity ($ amount) and frequency (# of) of your WC claims. The frequency and severity of your claims are inputs which help determine your experience MOD factor. Like accidents and tickets serve as predictors of future losses for your auto insurance the MOD factor does the same for your WC costs. The more claims you have the higher your MOD factor becomes. Higher MOD factors increase your WC premium and lower MOD factors reduce your WC premium. Through the application of the MOD factor, in almost all cases, it is the employer who ultimately pays for their employee’s injuries, not the insurance company.

If you continue to incur losses it doesn’t matter how many different carriers you quote with your premium will eventually increase to pay back the insurance company for those claims.
To truly reduce costs employers must implement a loss control program designed to reduce hazardous conditions which reduces claims, lowers your MOD factor which ultimately will minimize your premium costs.

The MADSIF Experience

The MADSIF comprehensive loss control program is free to members. It has proven to dramatically increase the Dealer’s bottom line.

The average MOD factor for MADSIF members is .89. This means that through MADSIF’s stringent underwriting, aggressive claims handling and our Member’s commitment to loss control the average Member receives an 11% discount on their premium.

These safety training programs when instituted and monitored on a continuing basis have prevented accidents, lowered exposures to MIOSHA citations and fines, and ultimately minimized these dealers’ costs of workers’ compensation insurance. The program has also provided safe working environments for dealer employees which has increased their productivity and increased profits for the dealership.

The MADSIF Program consists of the following:

  1. An annual MADSIF safety survey designed to target hazardous conditions and MIOSHA compliance. (All hazardous conditions are identified and reported to Dealership Management – This includes photos when helpful)
  2. A Follow-up letter is left with the dealership to complete which notifies MADSIF of the date the hazardous conditions were corrected and what actions were taken.
  3. A follow-up visit if necessary
  4. Expert Assistance when MIOSHA visits your dealership
  5. Periodic Training and Seminars

MADSIF members who focus on the risk factors that prevent injuries can significantly reduce their MOD factor and minimize their WC premiums.

MADSIF acts less like an insurance company and more like a risk management partner to help you lower your long-term workers’ compensation costs.

Learn more here.  Or call MADSIF at 866-919-9578 for a free quote or if you have any questions.

Five Surprising Ways Stress Affects the Body

The stress response is a signal to the brain and body that helps us identify psychological and physiological issues. In short bursts, it can be beneficial as a safeguard against impending danger, but when left unchecked, its continuous presence has a detrimental effect. Here are five surprising ways chronic stress can negatively affect the body.

  1. Alters Digestive System: The gut is often referred to as the “second brain” for the way it impacts mental and physical well-being. Chronic stress shows short and long-term effects on gut health, from a less efficient immune system to a heightened risk of digestive disorders including: Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), constipation, diarrhea and food allergies.
  2. Causes Weight GainChronic stress has been linked to biochemical changesin the body that trigger cravings, change digestion and increase appetite. Pairing our bodies’ natural desire for comfort foods with the convenience of drive-thru restaurants and processed meals is a recipe for disaster under stressful circumstances.
  3. Impacts Heart Health: Researchers have found that chronic stress may pose a risk for heart disease, the leading killer of men and women in America. Not only can it contribute to a rise in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, it may lead to overeating and inactivity. Interestingly enough, laughter and happiness can lower your blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke, heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
  4. Induces Depression/AnxietyAn anxiety disorder can occur when the symptoms of stress continue after the stressor, or perceived threat, is gone. It can also lead to depression if feelings of anxiousness or irritability become suppressed or are unresolved for long periods of time. Viable treatment options include psychotherapy and medication.
  5. Worsens Diabetes: The American Diabetes Association shares stress can cause or worsen cases of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes by raising blood sugar levels, activating fat cells and increasing blood pressure. It also contributes to insulin resistance, making it more difficult for the pancreas to secrete insulin.

Stress Reduction Techniques

The key to managing stress is setting realistic goals and adapting a healthier lifestyle. That includes eating nutrient-rich foods and exercising regularly, which can decrease blood pressure and improve your mood. It’s also important to reset and recharge the body with a proper amount of rest. Taking time to relax can restore emotional well-being, boost critical thinking and reduce the production of stress hormones. Simple methods include:

Stress management is an ongoing process that requires a full commitment. If it feels beyond one’s control, contact a primary care physician for additional treatment options.

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About the author: Dr. Duane J. DiFrancoMD is vice president of Medicare Stars and Clinical Performance at Emergent Holdings, a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. For more health and stress management tips, visit AHealthierMichigan.org and AHealthierMichigan.org/podcast.

How much do Michigan dealerships support our economy?

MADA encourages Michigan dealers to take part in the NADA Workforce Study. The information collected from dealers will later be used to show the economic importance of franchised dealers in Michigan and the nation. Especially now, with a vastly different Michigan Legislature, this economic data is important to show the value of Michigan’s dealerships to our state’s economy.

The data is also a valuable resource for dealers who use it to compare their dealerships against aggregated data from peers across the nation and region, right down to dealerships selling the same brand in Michigan.

This study is a complimentary program offered to NADA members. In order for Michigan dealers to get the greatest benefit, we need a large percentage of Michigan dealers to participate. If you participate annually – thank you. If you have not done so previously, please consider doing so this year. The results to your dealership and our association are worth the effort put in. Learn more at www.nadaworkforcestudy.com.

If one voice can make a change, consider what a million voices could do

37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017*.  This has to change.

The National Foundation for Teen Safe Driving and other driving and safety advocates are raising awareness of the facts and championing evidenced-based strategies that can save lives.

It’s important to understand that crashes are not accidental.  In fact, statistics indicate that many of the crash fatalities can be avoided. Today, advancements in technology have accelerated the development of more and more safety features in vehicles.  The evolution of advanced driver assistance technology has made great strides, and one day fully automated cars that drive us will become a reality.  Until that time, and even with new technology, human error will continue to add to the risk of fatal crashes. ​

 

Before we can discuss solutions, it’s important to understand the facts and underlying causes of the fatalities.

Here are some 2017 facts.  Of the 37,133 lives lost,

  • 25,096 killed were either driving or passengers in the vehicle.

  • 5,286 were motorcyclists

  • The rest were mainly pedestrians >7,000

Let’s drill down a bit more:

  • 10,497 victims had a blood alcohol level of greater than .08

  • 9,234 were driving too fast or in excess of the posted limit

  • 3,890 drivers swerved

  • 9,657 drivers killed were unrestrained* and

  • 10,428 passengers killed were unrestrained*

       * (not using a seat belt or child passenger restraint)

Or we could say

  • 20,079 lives might not have been lost had the victims been wearing a seatbelt or properly restrained in a child passenger seat

  • Over 10,000 deaths could have been prevented had there been a “designated driver” or really understanding that drinking and driving don’t mix

  • Was that child passenger restraint one of the estimated 46% that were not correctly installed or misused?

And afterwards, friends and loved ones of the victims are plagued by thoughts of “what if.”

 

So many of these senseless tragedies could have been avoided.  We know the facts and we know how to prevent them. But we can’t assume that everyone does.  So what do we do?

Dealers are encouraged to join the campaign and share these messages with customers and shoppers.

How can a program like this add value and influence change?  Safe driving begins with behavior.  Consider the factors that influence our behavior.  Some are internal and depend directly on us and our motivation. But more are influenced by our friends, family and the environment we put ourselves in.

Think about it.  More than 20,000 lives might have been saved had they buckled up.  It’s a simple solution, but sometimes we need a reminder.  We can talk about making a difference or we can make a difference.

So let’s do this and together we will save lives.

To learn about these evidenced-based strategies and what you can do to help make our roads safer, please visit www.soletsdothis.org

CARS e-Services – a new era begins

The Michigan Department of State is launching a new computer system that will provide you with improved services online and at all Secretary of State offices. We call it our Customer and Automotive Records System or CARS for short.

The new system begins operation Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, and includes services for vehicle owners and automotive-related businesses. The second phase, expected to be introduced in February 2021, will include driver’s license and ID card services.

CARS will enhance services for Michigan residents by adding new online options, improving existing online and kiosk services, and giving staff a more efficient tool to look up vehicle information and process transactions. CARS updates records in real time and replaces antiquated 1960s legacy mainframe technology that has impeded the department’s ability to optimally serve customers.

 

Presidents Day weekend closure

To transition to the new system:

  • Secretary of State branch offices, online services and auto business transactions will be taken offline and unavailable from Friday, Feb. 15, until 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19. The seven Super Centers usually open Saturday will be closed Saturday, Feb. 16, for the system-wide conversion. All branches will be closed on Presidents Day (Monday, Feb. 18).
  • Self-service kiosks will be taken offline in phases beginning Friday, Feb. 8. (See the schedule.)

 

Feb. 19 launch and thereafter

For a few weeks following the launch, as staff gets accustomed to the new computer system and adjusts to a different process for handling transactions, service in offices may take longer. Customers are encouraged to use CARS e-Services at ExpressSOS.com or to complete their transactions outside this timeframe.

Late fees will be waived for transactions with expiration dates between Feb. 11 and March 2.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as the department modernizes its vehicle record computer system.

 

Get transactions done fast with CARS e-Services

Customers will enjoy several new online services under CARS, including the ability to:

  • Request a personalized plate
  • Buy new vehicle plates and replacement plates
  • Renew a snowmobile registration
  • Purchase a Recreation Passport
  • Order a replacement for a lost tab

Auto dealers, repair facilities, mechanics and driver education providers and instructors also will be able to perform many business and professional licensing transactions online.

Plus, CARS will offer improvements to existing online services:

  • Experience a more user-friendly, intuitive interface
  • Renew your vehicle or watercraft registration
  • Request a duplicate registration or title
  • Change your address on your vehicle registration
  • Use one shopping cart for all of your transactions

Real-time data updates also will enable transactions the old system would reject because of delays in the exchange of data with branch offices.

 

Secure log in process with MILogin

Advanced security features will prompt online customers to create a user ID and password using MILogin, which also can be used to access other state government services in Michigan.

You still will be able to renew a vehicle registration without a password if you are just doing a quick renewal, as is currently the case.

 

CARS in Secretary of State offices

CARS also provides Secretary of State staff with new technology to make your office visit better:

  • A single record for each customer lists all their vehicles and other items. Branch employees   won’t have to search through multiple separate databases to pull information together to  complete your transaction.
  • Transactions will be tracked in real time, and notes and scanned documents can be attached easily to customer records.
  • Self-service kiosks now will offer watercraft registration renewals, in addition to the current license plate tab renewals.
  • You will be able to order an instant title at any office.

 

Second phase: Expected in February 2021

In February 2021, the CARS project will unveil driver-related transactions and services. The same straightforward functionality and access made available for vehicle transactions will be provided for all driver-related tasks online and at Secretary of State offices.

Tens of millions of driver and vehicle records will be securely combined into one integrated customer record system.

 

https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127–484544–,00.html