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MassDOT, MAPFRE Insurance Reminder: Travel to the Thanksgiving Table Safely

 

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are right around the corner, with Thanksgiving approaching. Now that 80% of Massachusetts residents at least 12 years old are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Thanksgiving will be more “back to normal” this year. We will likely see an increase in those choosing to travel longer distances, by automobile and using public transportation, after a year where many haven’t been able to gather.

While Thanksgiving is a time of celebration it can also be a time for sorrow for some families as Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and unfortunately, it is also one of the deadliest on our nation’s roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2017, there were 365 passenger vehicle occupants killed in vehicle crashes across the nation. Not only that, from 2015 to 2019, 135 drivers involved in fatal crashes on Thanksgiving Eve were alcohol-impaired, and over the entire Thanksgiving holiday period, nearly 800 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes.

 

Before heading out on the road to visit friends and family, the most important thing you can do to celebrate safely is to plan ahead. If you know you will be celebrating with alcohol or marijuana, designate a sober driver, use a ride share service, or make other arrangements to be sure you do not end up behind the wheel. If you notice a friend who is impaired and about to drive, take their keys, suggest public transportation, or take other steps to help them make other plans to ensure they get home safely.

 

It is vital to remember that whether a drug is legal or illegal, drug-impaired driving poses a threat to the driver, passengers, and other road users. More than 14 million Americans admit to having driven within an hour of smoking marijuana in the past 30 days, according to a recent study by AAA. It has been shown that marijuana can slow reaction times, impair cognitive performance, and make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane.

 

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to drive with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or higher. It is against the law and hazardous to get behind the wheel when under the influence. Not only could you endanger your life or someone else’s, an OUI can set you back $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, and more. You can also face jail time and could likely lose your driver’s license.

 

We wish all Massachusetts residents to travel safely this Thanksgiving, buckle up and remember, If You Feel Different, You Drive Different.

 

Thankfully, the MassDOT Highway Assistance Program sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance is on patrol to help on the highways. Patrol operators 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) between New York and 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

Keith Jensen

Senior Vice President, Northeast Business Development

MAPFRE Insurance

Written By:

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