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buzzed driving imageWhile many states in the country are seeing a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases, those of us in Massachusetts are thankful to be experiencing a safe and steady reopening as cases continue to decrease within the state. After being in quarantine for the past few months, many Bay State residents are eager to hit the road for vacations, or attend outdoor get-togethers with friends and family they have been longing to see. While focusing on the new practices of wearing masks and social distancing, it’s important to remember the other dangers that the summer months can bring.

 

As the number of social gatherings increases, so do the chances of buzzed, drunk, or impaired driving. Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. In 2018, there were 10,511 people killed in drunk-driving crashes. To put it in perspective, that’s equal to about 20 jumbo jets crashing, with no survivors.

 

There’s more than one way to drive under the influence. Like drunk driving, drugged driving is impaired driving. Whether the drug is legally prescribed or illegal, driving while drug-impaired poses a threat to the driver, vehicle passengers, and other road users. In 2017, 45% of the drivers killed in fatal crashes who were tested for drugs, tested positive.If you are impaired by drugs and thinking about driving, pass your keys on to a sober driver. NHTSA urges to keep this important rule in mind: “If you feel different, you drive different.”

 

Driving or riding impaired by drugs and/or alcohol is not only dangerous but illegal, and it puts everyone on the road in jeopardy. Even a little bit of alcohol can alter someone’s ability to drive safely. It is recommended that all who plan on attending celebrations this summer follow these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

  • Plan ahead. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or make other safe arrangements to be sure you get home safely, and keep others out of harm’s way.
  • If you see a drunk or impaired driver on the road, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Be a good friend. Take the keys away and make arrangements for any one you know is unsafe to drive.

 

Remember that if you’re caught driving under the influence, you could lose your driver’s license, your vehicle, or face jail time. This could set you back around $10,000 in attorney fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, and higher insurance rates. The last few months have brought incredible challenges for our communities, including our law enforcement and first responders. Make their jobs easier by drinking responsibly and always designate a sober driver if you may become buzzed, drunk, or impaired.

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.

Written By

Patrick McDonald, CPCU

CEO, Northeast Region

MAPFRE Insurance

 

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