National Teen Driver Safety Week – Let’s help our teen drivers be safe!

Support Older Novice Drivers: Build Awareness of the Trend in Licensure

driver's ed

Parents ideally raise their children to become independent and “fly the coop” so to speak. They work hard helping their children to develop the skills of life, maintain healthy and consistent relationships, and to be able to build a family with someone they love and eventually do what they did – raise children of their own.

Many kids and teenagers attribute the pinnacle of independence to getting that driver’s license. No more asking Mom or Dad to take them on an errand. Now they can shop, socialize, and just explore much more easily. Driving has serious ramifications though and we will discuss many of them in coming posts. So stay tuned. I was inspired to write a series of posts as this week, October 19-25, 2014 is National Teen Driver Safety Week otherwise known as NTDSW.

Focus of this year’s NTDSW

  • What this year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week awareness campaign is addressing is the interesting fact that many teenagers will delay getting their licenses until 18 or later. Delaying getting a license can be positive in that kids too young to drive won’t be driving until they are ready. It also can mean that there are those who did not have the means to pay for the education and are now getting their license later with fewer requirements, namely a GDL.
  • Many youth may choose to drive unlicensed before the age of 18 simply because they cannot afford the requirements of the GDL.
  • In cities where there is ample public transportation, driving a car can be delayed and recommended. However, as mentioned, there are the educational and experiential deficits to be considered as well.
    In fact, one out of three teens will get a license at 18 or older without the protective benefits of Graduated Driver Licensing also known as GDL. Read more here.
  • Obtaining a license without proper education (GDL) is legal but not recommended.
  • New Jersey is the only state that requires a GDL until the age of 21.
  • Novice drivers – regardless of their age – are more likely to get into automobile accidents. Those getting licenses at 18 are more prone to having more accidents during their first month of driving than those who have gotten licenses earlier. That is, even though they are older they still do not have the education or experience.

Possible suggestions:

  • Raise the GDL minimum age to at least 20 in the rest of the states.
  • For those who get licenses at 18 or older due to socioeconomic factors, at least give yourself the education you need to be a safe driver. Parents – please take notes.
  • Read up the permit booklet. Learn the rules for driving especially for your state and those you’ll visit.
    Practice makes perfect. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Ask an older friend, mentor or parent to accompany you to practice parking, driving both in heavy city traffic and easier areas.
  • Only practice your highway driving after you’ve attained certain proficiency with city driving. Know hoe to change lanes, check your mirrors consistently, know who’s around you.
  • Take a few inexpensive lessons to brush up on your driving skills. Even if you’re not required to get the GDL (which can be much more time consuming and expensive) at least get some professional guidance for 3 or so sessions. I did it and it proved to be very valuable and affordable!
  • These suggestions are from me and from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

    All in all they are basic and intuitive suggestions which anyone can come up with.
    When your child comes to you requesting to get their license, know that they are trying to become independent. Help them in this process; just guide them to do it responsibly as well.

    Enjoy this short video on safe driving tips for teens from The National Safety Council.

How to Donate a Boat or Jet Ski – 10 Easy Steps

10 step “How to” guide from Kars4Kids on donating a boat to a charity

kars4kids boat donation 

  1. Locate your charity’s phone number or website. Here is our charity’s contact info
  2. Fill out the easy form with basic details of your boat. Including but not limited to:
    • length
    • year, make, and model
    • overall aesthetic condition of the boat and overall mechanical condition
    • Title, name on title, registration, and trailer for the boat.
    • Address of boat pickup location
  3. Mail or email pictures for charity to determine if they can receive your donation.
  4. Receive confirmation from a tower when and where the boat will be picked up.
  5. Remove all personal belongings from your boat.
  6. Contact the yard or marina in which boat is kept notifying them that it will be picked up by a charity.
  7. Once boat has been picked up (sometimes later after the boat has been sold in auction) receive a tax deductible receipt from the charity (both emailed and mailed) in place of a 1098-c IRS tax form.
  8. Receive a vacation voucher or some other form of promotion from your charity.
  9. File your taxes either by yourself or with your accountant. (in California and some other states fill out a release of liability form).
  10. Enjoy the fruits of your generosity!

Always be in touch with the charity, the tower and anyone else to be on top of your property. Don’t expect that everything will be handled without your vital input. This IS an easy process but take care of your personal property.

For more details in how to research a charity here are some previous articles.

  1. Boat Donation – Why Do it?
  2. Donating a boat? – Here is a User Friendly Guide

A User Friendly Guide to the Boat Donation Procedure – Compliments of Kars4Kids

The Boat Donation Process from Kars for Kids – part II

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This post is a follow up to a recent article regarding those who are considering getting rid of their boat before winter.

I will briefly recap a few key pointers to keep in mind.

  • Can you sell your boat, or is too big of a hassle?
  • Ask friends and do your homework to find a reliable charity.
  • Transparency and customer service are key when picking a charity.
  • Be realistic about the donation process.

Each charity has its own way of accepting boat donations. Some have better customer service than others. Some will get back to you quicker and many will promise the world which they cannot fulfill.

Be clear what the boat donation will go towards. A boat donation can go to provide actual training in the water at certain charities. Most places that receive boats sell the boat in a junk yard and then transfer the funds towards various projects and programs which can include kids’ education, American Cancer Society, the VA, and Habitat for Humanity etc.

Third Parties

Many charities utilize the services of a third party or middleman to help them process these boats from handling the pickup, sale, title-work, and transference of the funds. When this is the case, there is less funding going directly to the actual programs of the charity. The third party will naturally take a percentage of the revenue of the donation. This is in addition to the administrative costs of the charity themselves. This does not necessarily disqualify the charity as legitimate as the IRS does give specific guidelines how much a charity can spend on these services and still be considered a qualified 501c3 charity.

Donors ask – Will I receive a tax deductible receipt?
The general rule is as follows:
If the vehicle (in this case your boat or jet ski) sells for more than $500 then you can deduct the actual amount (gross proceeds) for which the boat sold for. This is when the boat is sold to a non-needy individual. If the charity will make improvements to the boat or keep it for the charity’s use, donate it or sell it for significantly less than fair market value to a needy individual, then there are exceptions and you may be able to use a much higher amount for deduction.
If the boat is sold for $500 or less then the donor has the option of deducting up to $500 even if the boat sold for less.
For more information on this please refer to our tax benefits page and the IRS.

The actual “How to” process for donating a boat is as follows with most charities including Kars4Kids.

  1. Call the charity or us at Kars4Kids at 877-527-7454 or fill out the application online.
  2. Have a title and registration for both the boat and trailer.
  3. Make sure the boat is out of the water (even if still in the water, we still may be able to work with it).
  4. Know the make, model, year, and length of the boat.
  5. Know the approximate mechanical and physical condition of the boat.
  6. Know who the actual owner of the boat is.
  7. Have either recent digital pictures of the boat to email us or physical photos to mail via USPS for the Kars4Kids Operations Team to review.
  8. Be in touch with the charity and the tower to make sure the pick-up is arranged and takes place.
  9. Follow up with the charity after 1-2 weeks to make sure the receipt will be sent out or anything has to be worked out with the title etc.
  10. Wait 2-4 weeks until boat sells and receive receipt via email or mail
  11. We’d love to hear your feedback! We are always working on improving our service.

With each successful boat donation, another child or family can be helped whether educationally, financially, and/or emotionally. The funds at Kars4Kids do NOT go through a third party and go directly towards the charitable programs.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any other questions you have regarding our process.

The New 2015 Car Models – Will You be Influenced by the Marketing and How?

Understanding the human psyche from a marketing perspective. Buy a Car? -Donate a Car?

I just saw this adorable post on buzzfeed about a baby who did not completely recognize its dad because he had shaved. What’s funny is that this happened to me recently as well with my baby.

Kids are the world’s greatest educators. They have no biases, no outside influence just what their minds, emotions, feelings, and bodies are telling them. They essentially, if we pay attention to them teach us what a human being is in its purest form with their inborn brain and feelings.

In today’s modern world we have promotions and ads influencing us who is important and what is good. When to take a shower and which soap and shampoo to use. This is around us at all times working on influencing our every decision.

Marketing and social influence can be good though. It can be promote good causes, discover one’s self, and helpful in relating to other human beings’ needs. We want that there should be good competition in business, that’s what helps our economy.

Advertisements will vie for each consumer’s attention and it will be up to the consumer to tap into those basic human instincts (like that little baby has) and also use the more developed and matured intelligence and experience to make each choice effectively.

Educating children means to tap into their basic human psyche and to embellish that with all of the good and experience today’s modern world has to offer. Our children may be born pure, however, they won’t remain that way. It is up to us to enable them to grow in the path that they choose and that is good for them.

It’s the season for buying the upcoming cars new for 2015. Below are some examples of the new cars on the market. How you will be influenced is up to you. Once people are in the market for a new car will they sell or donate their old vehicle? Use those inner instincts and make the the decision best for you. Don’t let marketers decide for you.

youtube accord youtube f-150 youtube acura
car donation -kars for kids car donation - wheels for wishes

Boat Donation – Why do it?

The Ins and outs of Boat donations from Kars for Kids – part I

boat donation jet ski donation boat donation - KarsforKids

The summer is coming to an end or essentially has already been over for a few weeks already. There are those who still keep there boats out and ready just in case the weather is nice and they can still enjoy another nice trip out on the water this season. Many boat owners have used their boats for many years and are contemplating what to do next. Fix it, store it, and keep it for another year? Try to sell it? Maybe donate it?

Well all of these options can cause some anxiety over how this will work out. A boat is not a simple little machine that one stores in their garage. There is significant work to maintain the boat, keep it weather safe, and in a good and secure place while it’s not in use. There may be some mechanical difficulties or even aesthetically lacking a bit. Will anyone buy it? I put so much money into it, I don’t want to lose out. It really runs well and served us a while. With a bit of investment this can sell nicely, I just don’t have the time or money. Will a charity take it in this condition? These may be some of the questions and thoughts that go through a boat owner’s mind.

What is clear is that a boat can have significant value and still not sell and not provide value for a charity either. What I intend to do in this post and in a future post is to clarify this process even if just a bit for any potential boat donor.

  • Do your homework. Figure out how much work and effort it will be to store your boat for another year. Maybe it’s worthwhile at this time of year to look into the options of selling or donating a boat.
  • Find venues to sell the boat. How much will it cost you to fix the boat? How much will it cost to store it until next boat season? Will selling it bring in enough return that makes the storage costs and efforts worthwhile?
  • Start looking into donating a boat to a charity. Ask around, maybe some of your friends did donate a boat or at least did some research. Their experience can be invaluable.
  • Look around online. Find a reputable charity. Find a cause close to your heart or the best service that’s most convenient for you. Charities that are up-front and honest about what they can and cannot do are really worth speaking to regarding your options. If your boat donation does not work out, with good information your experience can be more pleasant and you may be inclined to call them back for your car donation.
  • Do your research online about charities. Are they recognized as a reputable charity by the IRS? Are they a 501C3 recognized charity? How much will you receive in tax benefits? Are there other valuable perks? What’s their service like? Professional, efficient, open and honest?
  • What will the charity do with your boat? Will that be sufficient for your tax needs? Will the process run relatively smoothly. I personally feel that open ended promises of hassle free pick-up etc. are too vague. Selling a boat, fixing a boat, maintaining and owning a boat, or donating a boat all have their paperwork, some hassle and details that have to be taken care of. That’s what a legal process entails. Nothing is hassle free ever!

Well, I think I’ve given you some food for thought. I will be back next week or the week after with more specific information about the process of boat donations.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact our customer service with any questions or you can email me at You can also visit our boat page to see some basic information until the next time we speak.

All the best and happy last week or more of the water!

Fall Safety Tips – Road Safety – Child Safety and more…

Safety Tips of the Week from Kars for Kids

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It was the first day of autumn yesterday and the weather is getting colder. The foliage will start to get really colorful and beautiful. There are lots of fun times to be had both as individuals and as kids. I loved romping around in the backyard with my brothers as a kid; the foliage would increasingly change colors, and we had the time of our lives throwing leaves at each other and even helping my parents rake them.

As autumn is still at the beginning of the school year there is much to discuss. There are holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving and a lot to learn regarding the weather, and the science of the season.

I’d like to address some safety points for this time of year.

Child Safety - Make sure to follow the laws with regard to school buses. Watch out for those kids crossing the street or chasing a ball. My dad always cautioned us even when we weren’t yet drivers, “if you see a ball rolling into the street, chances are there’s a kid running after it”. The nights are getting longer as we go from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. When driving home from work, kids may still be out and hard to see them in the dark. Click here for more information.

Road Safety - Roads can start getting icy and foggy during autumn. Before starting the car in the morning watch your step for thin ice, and make sure to totally defrost your windshield, windows, and mirrors so you have clear vision. Always use low beams to enhance your visibility in foggy areas. Keep your car well stocked with the fluids it needs, check your wipers, lights, heat, and defrost. Rainstorms can be quite hazardous during this season as I mentioned earlier the leaves can be slippery along with heavy amounts of rain and possible flooding. The roads may still have some residue left from the summer driving composed of oil remnants, dust , dirt, and rubber. If your car starts hydroplaning, don’t brave the storm. Slowly pump your brakes and pull over until the storm subsides a bit.

When driving, it’s nice to admire the changing foliage. It can be absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking, but for nature lovers it can be hazardous while on the road. Pull over the car and snap away with your camera, just don’t do it while driving. Leaves gathered in the streets can end up being slippery whether from rainfalls or the leaves decomposing. Don’t brake at the last minute, just keep safe. Check your tires and brakes while you’re at it to make sure they are in good shape for these seasonal conditions. When driving, be careful of crossing deer or any other large animals. Read more from esurance.

When the climates change, wildlife is seeking shelter. Rats, mice, squirrels and other rodents may seek shelter in your home. I know that’s creepy and you’ll set some traps. Make sure to keep any of those poisons out of pets and children’s reach. Click here to read more.

Sickness - In this type of changing weather, getting a cold or the flu is very common. Allergies can come about through the rotting of leaves, plants and greenery. Allergies can cause sneezing, spread germs, and cause skin rashes. Keep in touch with your doctor not just Dr. Google.

Sunlight - One more interesting tidbit is, although the sky may be cloudy, UV rays are still existent and proper caution should be taken. Additionally, there still may be some really sunny days with temperatures rising. NEVER leave a child in a car unattended, whether due to heatstroke or any other reason. Read more here.

Yard Work - When working in the yard, make sure to use a rake or any other tools which are strong and supportive. Don’t use tools that will strain your back such as rakes that are too short. Wear protective gear when raking, mowing the lawn, or pruning trees and bushes. Never remove something stuck in a lawnmower or other similar machine without shutting off the engine. Even then, take care to wear gloves and remove the obstacle with another object like a branch or pole. See more safety tips from the NSC.

Here’s a nice short and sweet safety video I thought you’d enjoy.

I hope that everyone enjoys this season; it’s the beginning of a new school year, with lots of new opportunities and exciting things to look forward to. The main thing is, take care of yourself and those nearest and dearest to you.

NHTSA Federal Agency

Take Responsibility – It’s the Right Thing to Do – Man Up

A Look at David Friedman and how he dealt with the NHTSA Investigation

Admit your mistakes

David Friedman, the acting leader of the NHTSA is not in a very comfortable seat right now. He is faced with much criticism for what his agency didn’t take care of in time to prevent the many unfortunate deaths, aside from that he also shifted the blame to GM the car manufacturer.

General Motors has had ignition switch issues causing cars to veer off on the road and airbags not deploying properly for a number of years already. Many tragic deaths have occurred because of these flaws. It seems that the main federal safety agency (the NHTSA) responsible for ensuring that these matters are taken care of has not fulfilled its duties. Not only that, but the agency is shifting the blame to the government owned auto manufacturer (GM).

I’m not here to place judgment or to point fingers. What I will say is that one of the hardest things for a person to do is to say “I’m sorry”, “It was my mistake” and things like that. It is my belief and I’m sure many others’ as well, that when someone is able to so to speak “man up” and assume responsibility only gains respect. Even if he/she has to face certain consequences for their actions, people are likely to have a much more favorable look towards him/her and only respect and forgiveness is gained. Hillary Stout and Aaron M. Kessler shared in The New York Times that many members in Congress along with relatives of victims of these crashes expressed disbelief in how David Friedman dealt with the responsibility placed upon him. You can see these comments below

People, not deliveries When dealing with car deaths, we’re not dealing with some unhappy Amazon customers who have not received their package on time. We are dealing with human lives, grieving family, and friends; human beings that have and could have impacted our world in very positive ways.

Aside from all the safety measures drivers and passengers must take when riding in a car, the automakers along with safety agencies they have to answer up to have many safety issues to contend with as well. Yes, business is about making money, but it cannot under any circumstances come at the expense of human safety.

Whatever is going on in the news with GM and the NHTSA is unfortunate but hopefully will be corrected for the future. What  these companies and agencies can take for themselves and us for our own private lives is the ability to take safety seriously, for ourselves, other drivers and passengers (especially children), the elderly and every human being. Taking responsibility for a mistake, admitting to a wrongdoing and misdemeanor is not a fault rather something to take pride in. It shows that you are the human who is intended to be, the one who makes mistakes, commits wrongdoings and goes about fixing them and themselves.

See the video below which shows how admitting to mistakes is professional and something to be proud of.

Below are some interesting quotes from both members of The House and a relative of a victim.

“You want to obfuscate responsibility, rather than take responsibility,” Ms. McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said, her voice rising. “We’ve all said shame on G.M.” She added, “You’ve got to take some responsibility that this isn’t being handled correctly.”

“N.H.T.S.A. was actively trying to find the ball,” he (David Friedman) said. “G.M. was actively trying to hide the ball.”

“But Mr. Friedman declined a request from Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, that he apologize to the public for the agency’s failure to act on thousands of driver complaints about stalling in Cobalts and other G.M. vehicles.”

“As Mr. Friedman continued to speak, Ms. Christian (birth mother of victim) said she could feel herself getting flushed and increasingly upset over the agency’s lack of remorse.”

Go back to where you were