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Traffic Safety St Pats Day 2019As March unfolds, it’s more important than ever to commit to safe driving. March brings changes in the weather, so be alert to more pedestrians, potholes and puddles. In addition, March includes one of the largest, sometimes alcohol-based holidays.

Although St. Patrick’s Day means parades, fun costumes, and beer, it unfortunately may end with drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving accounts for nearly one-third of vehicle-related fatalities in the United States, with the odds only increasing during St. Patrick’s Day.

NHTSA facts:

  • In 2017 alone, 59 people (37% of all crash fatalities) were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period.
  • Between midnight and 5:59 a.m. March 18, 2017, three-fourths (75%) of crash fatalities involved a drunk driver.

As motorists, we have a responsibility to our fellow drivers, as well as to ourselves, to help keep the roadways safe. After consuming alcohol, you should refrain from getting behind the wheel. Make sure to hold your friends, and yourself, accountable this holiday and designate sober drivers to ensure a safe celebration for everyone.

If you are hosting the St. Patrick’s Day celebration this year, use these simple tips to keep everyone safe. First, make sure your guests designate their sober drivers in advance. Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party. Stop serving alcohol a few hours prior to the end of the party, while continuing to serve food. NHTSA advises to take the keys away from anyone who plans to drive after drinking, and help them find another form of transportation home. It’s important to look out for your guests, as well as yourself, and drunk driving can also hurt your wallet. On average, DUIs can cost $10,000 in attorney fees, fines, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, car towing, repairs and more.

March also brings Daylight Saving time. As we adjust the clocks to the new time, it’s important to remember that we are adjusting as well. Making sure you are setting your alarms to reflect the new time change can ensure you are not running late, therefore not speeding to get to your destination. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, speed was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities. Not only is speeding breaking the law, the consequences are far-ranging; including a greater potential for loss of vehicle control, increased stopping distance after the driver perceives a danger, and the economic implications of fuel consumption and costs. So, slow down and enjoy the start of spring.

The MassDOT Highway Assistance Program patrol operators can provide you just the right amount of luck you need to get back on the road. The MassDOT Highway Assistance Program sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance is here to help with fixing minor mechanical problems, flat tires, fuel shortages, and emergency situations and to aid distressed motorists. The patrol operators monitor some of the state’s busiest highways and turnpikes around Metro Boston, Worcester, Springfield & Cape Cod (seasonal). The Highway Assistance Patrol covers 13 major state roadways and interstates, the Emergency Service Patrol covers the Mass Pike (I-90) from New York to Boston and the Incident Response Operators cover the Metropolitan Highway System and tunnels. The Highway Assistance Patrol is in service Monday–Friday between the hours of 6 a.m.–10 a.m. and 3 p.m.–7 p.m. During holidays, there are extended routes in heavy traffic areas. On I-90, and in Boston’s tunnel system, assistance is provided 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

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

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