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The holidays are fast approaching and while they may look a bit different this year, it is still the busiest time on our nation’s roadways. Although many Massachusetts residents will stay close to home this Thanksgiving, it’s important to keep in mind that more people on the roadways means the potential for more vehicle crashes. With the added stress of shopping, traveling, and planning during our “new normal,” be aware of the ways you can ensure safety for yourself and others. MassDOT and MAPFRE Insurance team up to remind you to Buckle up – Every trip. Every Time.

soc-07-thanks-buckle_turkey_lo-72-enOne of the most important choices drivers and passengers can make to ensure their safety while in a vehicle is to buckle up. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives. However, there were an estimated 2,549 additional lives that seat belts could have saved if everyone had buckled up.

During the 2018 Thanksgiving weekend, 291 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide. The statistics are even more frightening when it comes to driving at night, with 54% of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring after dark. These deaths represent needless tragedies for families across America and may have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt. Before even starting your car, make sure you and your passengers are buckled up, whether driving for 10 minutes or 10 hours.

Many vehicle crashes that occur on Thanksgiving Weekend are due to impaired drivers on the road. According to NHTSA, from 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, making it one of the deadliest holidays on our roadways.

The best way to protect yourself against impaired drivers on the road is to always stay alert, sober, and be buckled up when behind the wheel. As always during this time, please keep in mind social distancing guidelines and stay up to date on the state’s current mandates, which you can find here. If you plan to drive during this holiday weekend, we encourage you to #BoycottBlackoutWednesday and #DitchDanksgiving. The NHTSA offers the following tips:

  • If you have ingested an impairing substance such as marijuana, alcohol, or any form of legal or illegal drug, do not drive. Passengers should never ride with an impaired driver. If you think a driver may be impaired, do not get in the car.
  • If you are drug-impaired, pass the keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you to your destination. Like drunk driving, it is essential that drug-impaired drivers refrain from driving a vehicle. It is never okay to drive while impaired by any substance.
  • Take the keys away from any friend that you feel may be unsafe to drive and arrange to get them home safely.

We are thankful for the dedicated operators of the MassDOT Highway Assistance Program, and we are proud to sponsor this vital program. 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 Thanksgiving!

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

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