American Automobile Association technicians Tim Chatfield and Doug Dix were at Big Walnut High School last week, but they weren’t there on an emergency run. They were at the high school to help students who drive to and from school avoid experiencing an emergency.
Chatfield and Dix inspected students’ vehicles to make certain they are ready for winter. They checked vehicle belts, hoses, tires, lights, fluid levels and batteries, and also educated the students on simple vehicle maintenance tasks, such as checking tire pressure.
“Of the 57 vehicles inspected, 82 percent, 47 vehicles, had at least one fault,” said AAA senior public relations manager Kimberly Schwind. “Our technicians discussed any detected problems with the student and provide an inspection sheet to take home to their parents.
“Last winter AAA Ohio Auto Club responded to more than 169,000 calls for roadside assistance in its 38-county territory,” Schwind continued. “Experts estimate that about 40 to 50 percent of these calls could have been prevented with routine maintenance. High school vehicle maintenance inspections are aimed at keeping the most at-risk drivers safe and on-the-go throughout the year.”
Schwind said students who participated in the vehicle maintenance inspections also received a free lunch, and had a chance to sign a banner pledging to not text and drive. Those who signed the banner received a lanyard or wristband with the text “Dnt txt n drV” to serve as a reminder to put down the phone behind the wheel.
In 2014, AAA Ohio Auto Club inspected more than 1,100 vehicles throughout Ohio. Nearly 82 percent of vehicles had at least one fault. Nearly 93 percent of the vehicles AAA inspected at Big Walnut High School in 2014 had at least one fault. The most common issues were with vehicle lubricants, lights and tires.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093