Safer Cars Does Not Mean Safer Roads

These days, it is pretty standard for cars to include top of the line safety features. These range from rear-view cameras, lane departure warnings, traction control and even blind spot detection.

Driving a safe vehicle can also mean more money in your pocket as drivers can save on car insurance cost. A car insurance company is generally able to provide more affordable car insurance if your vehicle has safety features. However, safer cars do not necessarily mean safer roads across the country.

From January to June, approximately 18,720 people have died on U.S. roads. As a result of a growing economy, people are driving more miles compared to recession level data. Less unemployment means more cars are on the road getting people to and from work and more money for leisure activities. In 2017, Americans traveled 3.22 trillion miles according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Factor in more miles driven along with speeding, drug and alcohol impaired driving and distracted driving and the fatality rate is at an all-time high.

South Carolina leads the nation in traffic fatality rates per miles traveled. In 2017, the state had 1.88 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, which is almost two times the national average. Illinois reported 1,090 traffic deaths.

This trend prompted Governor Rauner to declare August 17 as Traffic Fatality Awareness Day at the Illinois State Fair through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Health, Illinois Secretary of State and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

States across the country have launched similar awareness efforts like Vision Zero. Vision Zero’s goal is to strategically eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for everyone.

Reducing speed is perhaps the most effective way to reduce the fatalities. Speed increases the distance it takes a car to come to a complete stop. The speed of impact is also directly correlated to the risk of death. The higher the speed of impact, the higher the probability of a passenger dying becomes.

Even with lower speeds, it is hard for police officers to enforce these lower limits. Automated cameras are already unpopular and adding more would also be costly.

Planning For Emergency Financial Situations

Emergency financial situations can happen to anybody and any financial arrangement exercise is not ideal without planning for such occasions. The whole idea of having an emergency fund is to offer a cushion against any unexpected expense.

This will ensure it does not have any negative impact on your financial condition and does not rip off the whole financial security.

There are many circumstances which can cause a financial emergency such as a sudden illness, accident, medical emergencies, emergency house repairs, loss of a job, emergency car repairs and much more.

The major reason for having an emergency fund is very clear because when a person falls into an emergency financial situation, they will have to break their savings or make a compromise to get the needed money.

It’s not rare to find people who just take out their credit card and swipe it for hard cash. Opposing popular opinions, credit cards are the worst way to fund any financial emergency. The fastest way to get thousands of dollars its to get a car title loan it is not a long-term solution but a short-term solution.

In a circumstance where you’ve taken a cash advance with your credit card to get the needed money, the credit card company will charge you a cash advance fee with an interest rate. This is a very costly way to borrow and manage finances for emergency situations.

Therefore, what is the best amount that should be set aside as emergency money? There are diverse opinions on it. Some professional’s experts agree that a minimum of 3-6 months’ worth of monthly income should be set aside for an emergency situation. This amount can differ according to marital status, the size of family and lifestyle.

Everyone must reserve some extra cash in case of emergencies. But, the amount to reserve depends on your income and monthly expenses. The amount that is needed for your emergency fund is open to debate, the minimum amount should be sufficient to cover your expenses for daily living for at least 3 months. It’s also ideal to save for 6 months even though some financial advisers agree on a full year worth of cash.

These funds must be kept aside in an instrument, which is easily available when needed. It could be money in a bank account, hard cash, liquid funds or fixed deposits. This will ensure the fund is always accessible instantly or within a short period when it’s needed.

Where to Keep the Cash

Your situations and what can offer you peace of mind are the factors that can help you determine how cautious you want to be. Keep your emergency fund somewhere that is safe and accessible because you may be required to get the cash in a hurry when an emergency arises. The best option you’ve is to open a money market account or savings account. But, always examine their offer with regards to the interest rate, minimum balance, and other terms.

Online Gambling in Atlantic City

For better or for worse, online gambling is coming to New Jersey.

In late February, Chris Christie officially signed into law a bill that legalized internet gambling in Atlantic City.

Initially the bill was vetoed by the Governor because of issues surrounding transparency and taxes. Lawmakers adjusted the text and the amended bill passed by an overwhelming majority in the legislature and earned Christie’s seal of approval.

Here are the basics of the bill:

- Casinos located in Atlantic City will be able to apply for a license to offer online gambling. Only the twelve official Atlantic City casinos will be eligible for the license. No other organizations can offer internet gambling, and face stiff fines if they do. All facilities used for the operation of internet gambling must be located within city limits; only bets that are received by a server in Atlantic City will be legal.

- Players must be “physically present” in New Jersey to place wagers. In the future, New Jersey may develop agreements with other states where internet gambling is legal to permit out-of-state gambling. The casino’s equipment must verify players’ locations before accepting wagers.

- Any games available to play in the casinos can be played online. (For comparison, Nevada only allows poker.) As of now, sports betting will not be protected by this bill, although the state of New Jersey is trying to fight the federal statute barring the legalization of sports betting.

- The bill has all kinds of provisions to keep gambling addiction at bay, such as requiring the prominent display of the 1-800-GAMBLER hotline number, a way to set maximum bets and losses over a certain period of time, and tracking player losses to identify and limit users who may demonstrate addictive gambling behavior.

- Revenue from online gambling will carry a 15% tax. The Christie administration states that about $180 million in revenue for the state will be generated from this tax, but some analysts think this number is seriously overestimated.

The official regulations, which the bill required the Division of Gaming Enforcement to produce, were released on June 3, and are subject to a “public comment period” until August 2 before being finalized. These rules include details such as how a casino acquires the appropriate licenses and procedures for maintaining network security on gambling sites.

So, will online gambling actually benefit the state?

The Good

Revenues from Atlantic City casinos have been on the decline for the past seven years, and online gambling could be what saves the failing casinos. Since 2006, casino revenue has dropped from $5.2 billion to around $3 billion. Online gambling could be a $500 million to $1 billion industry in New Jersey, which may be enough to keep struggling casinos afloat and save jobs in Atlantic City. Further, even though estimates of tax revenue are all over the map, there is potential for online gambling to be a considerably valuable source of money for the state. The casinos will also have to pay a tax to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which will provide further assistance to struggling casinos in Atlantic City.

For the player, low overhead costs mean better prizes and more opportunities to play. Casinos can incent players with free “chips” that have minimal costs for them but give players more opportunities to play and win. The convenience of gambling online allows players to play more with less travel.

BAD:

One of the goals of the bill is supposedly to attract more people to visit the brick-and-mortar casinos, but it is hard to say if online gambling will actually lead to this outcome. One could speculate it could even cause people to go to the casinos less (However, this seems unlikely; the social element and the free drinks are lost in online gambling. Also, research indicates that, at least with poker, internet gaming does not reduce casino gaming.) Advertising for the host casino will be allowed on the online gambling sites, which could possibly encourage people to visit the casino but could also be annoying for players.

Online gambling could be seriously devastating for people who have gambling addictions, or even cause people to develop them, raising financial and moral concerns. Even with all the preventative steps the bill requires, it will definitely be much harder to cut off compulsive gamblers if they can place bets anywhere with an internet connection.

Regardless, it is going to be a while before the casinos can actually kick off their online gambling offerings. The regulations need to be finalized and casinos need to apply for licensure and develop their gambling websites. This means the casinos will not be enjoying this new source of revenue during the 2013 summer season, which could be Atlantic City’s toughest season ever following recovery from Hurricane Sandy.