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image1-8The month of October holds many events which drivers, especially teens, need to be aware of. October 20-26 is National Teen Driver Safety Week.

When your teen begins to drive, it’s important to instill safe driving habits. Talk to your teens about the resources available to ensure their safety while driving. Be sure to have conversations with your teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. The greatest dangers for teen drivers include alcohol, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding and number of passengers. 

In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens aged 15 to 18 years old. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver. Of these crashes, 755 deaths were the teen drivers themselves. 

Driving is a new chapter and a step towards independence for many teens. This is where constant communication about safe driving skills is essential for your new teen driver. Even if your teen has had their license for a few years, it’s important to keep the following in mind when talking to your teen:

  • Talk about safe driving practices and the consequences they’ll face if they don’t obey the rules of the road.
  • Become familiar with Massachusetts’ nighttime driving restrictions, passenger restrictions, and all the graduated driver licensing (GDL) restrictions found here.
  • Be a good role model for your teen driver and set an example with your own safe driving habits.
  • Set the rules before they hit the road, and make it clear to your teen that violating the rules will have serious repercussions.
  • Talk to your teen about safe cell phone use while in the car. Encourage them to designate a texter, or to pull over before answering phone calls or responding to text messages. 

During the month of October, it is essential that all motorists, not just teens, keep these topics in mind. October involves many fall activities, such as football games, tailgating, high school or college events, and more. Among these events, Halloween is the most dangerous in terms of motor vehicle crashes. From 2013-2017, there were 158 people killed in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night. In 2017 alone, those under the age of 21 had the highest percentage of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night.  Be sure to plan before you party. It’s imperative to your safety and the safety of others to plan a responsible ride home from the party. If you leave your house unprepared to get home safely, you may not make the best choices by the end of the night. Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive, even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage. Always designate a sober driver, plan to use public transportation, or use a taxi or ride-sharing service to get home safely. Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you see a drunk driver on the road. Lastly, always remember to check on your friends and take away their keys if you feel they are unsafe to drive. 

Even the safest of drivers can find themselves in need of assistance, which is why 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. The Highway Assistance Program drivers monitor some of the state’s busiest highways and turnpikes around Metro Boston, Worcester, Springfield and 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. Happy Halloween and Safe Travels!

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

 

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