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Zakim Bridge Traffic November 2016The New Year is a time for reflection, resolutions and celebration. As we welcome 2017, MassDOT and MAPFRE Insurance encourage you to also keep safety top of mind, especially during your holiday planning.

Did you know that January 1st ranked as the No. 1 day of the year for deaths related to alcohol, according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data? Let’s work together to reduce this statistic by creating a plan for keeping you and your loved ones safe on the road.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) offers the following suggestions for prepping to go out on New Year’s Eve:

  • Before your New Year’s Eve celebration begins, make a plan to get home safely. If you plan on drinking, designate a non-drinking driver ahead of time and leave your keys at home, or program the phone number of a friend or local taxi service to your phone.
  • If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. They’ll thank you for it.
  • Never get in a car with someone who has been drinking. There’s always another way to get home safely – it’s never worth the risk.
  • If you see someone driving drunk, always call the police. Getting drunk drivers off the roads prevents tragedies and saves lives.

We hope that you and all Massachusetts drivers continue to heed the warnings about drunk and distracted driving, and that we can continue to lead the country in safe driving practices.  According to the latest statistics from the Federal Highway Administration (2014 data), Massachusetts had the lowest motor vehicle accident fatality rate in the country:  “The death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled ranged from 0.57 in Massachusetts to 1.65 in South Carolina.”

Remember, if you need assistance on New Year’s Eve, or at any time in 2017, the Massachusetts DOT Highway Assistance Patrol, sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance, patrols the Commonwealth’s busiest highways to keep us all safe. The Highway Assistance Patrol “HAP” covers routes in Metro Boston, Worcester, Springfield and Cape Cod (seasonal) during peak coverage hours, Monday – Friday, 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., with extended hours on the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) and extended holiday routes in heavy traffic areas. In addition to the HAP vehicles, MassDOT operates an Incident Response Vehicle (IRV) fleet of flatbed tow trucks. IRV’s assigned to Interstate 93, the Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge, Ted Williams Tunnel, Sumner Tunnel and Callahan Tunnel patrol 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable New Year!

Written By Patrick McDonald, CPCU, AIM, AIS, Executive Vice President – Business & Clients, MAPFRE  Insurance

Statistics

In 2014, 16 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week were drunk, compared to 29 percent on weekends.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Traffic Safety Facts 2014: Alcohol-Impaired Driving.” Washington DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2016. http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812231.pdf

The rate of drunk driving is highest among 26 to 29 year olds (20.7 percent).

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHresultsPDFWHTML2013/Web/NSDUHresults2013.pdf

In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2014 data: alcohol-impaired driving. Washington, DC: NHTSA; 2015 [cited 2016 Feb 5]. Available at URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812231.pdf.

Marijuana use is increasing and 13% of nighttime, weekend drivers have marijuana in their system.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. Cannabis. 2015 6/2/2015 [cited 2015 Jul 17]. Available at URL: http://www.samhsa.gov/atod/cannabis.

Berning A, Compton R, Wochinger K. Results of the 2013–2014 National Roadside Survey of alcohol and drug use by drivers. Washington, DC: NHTSA; 2015 (DOT HS 812 118).

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