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distracted-driving-2018As Massachusetts residents eagerly anticipate April’s arrival of spring, MassDOT and MAPFRE Insurance would also like to remind motorists that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

This is an opportunity for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to advocate for safer roads by spreading awareness of common driving distractions and dangerous trends. MAPFRE is steadfast in ensuring the safety of Massachusetts residents, and we’d like to offer a few ways that you can be part of the solution to distracted driving. When you are behind the wheel, your focus should be to #Justdrive.

Distracted driving encompasses all activities that divert attention away from the road, putting yourself and your passengers in danger– however pedestrians and cyclists are in a far more vulnerable position on the roadside. In 2015 alone, the NHTSA recorded 391,000 injuries resulting from distracted driving vehicle incidents and a total of 3,477 fatalities. Unfortunately, recent statistics have shown a continuing trend, so now is the time to put an end to these risky driving behaviors.

Driving distractions include a wide range of activities such as adjusting music and volume, eating and talking to passengers, however, phone usage poses one of the biggest threats to roadway safety. Too often motorists cannot “unplug” from their devices, even for a short amount of time, and many states have taken matters into their own hands through legislation. In Massachusetts, cell phone use is completely banned for those under the age of 18, and texting while operating a vehicle is illegal for all drivers.

A driver’s age or years of experience does not decrease the danger associated with choosing to drive distracted. In fact, experienced drivers should lead by example by encouraging and demonstrating safe driving practices. Studies have shown that teens are more prone to becoming distracted due to a lack of maturity, but there are plenty of ways to combat this issue. Forming contracts between young drivers and parents, friends, school and/or community groups can teach accountability for actions, as well as create a mutual understanding that driving is a privilege which will be lost by exhibiting risky driving behaviors.

Even the safest of drivers need a little help sometimes, which is why the MassDOT Highway Assistance Program sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance is here to help with fixing minor mechanical problems and flat tires, plus providing gas and more. The Highway Assist Patrol drivers monitor some of the state’s busiest highways and turnpikes around Metro Boston, Worcester, Springfield & Cape Cod (seasonal) Monday through Friday during the peak hours of 6:00AM- 10:00AM and 3:00PM-7:00PM. MAPFRE understands how valuable this program is to state residents and visitors which is why we continue to sponsor such a helpful program in hopes of providing a little more piece of mind for Bay State residents.

Written By Patrick McDonald, CPCU CEO, Northeast Region, MAPFRE Insurance

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