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September is just around the corner, and while final decisions are still being made on what the fall will look like for commuters and students, many districts have decided to push the return to school past Labor Day, extending the summer. Massachusetts residents will likely take advantage of this extension and plan last minute local vacations within these remaining few weeks. Because of this, residents should expect an increase in traffic, and a higher chance of crashes due to impaired driving.

Picture1August 19th through September 7th is National Mobilization Week, meaning that law enforcement professionals and highway safety advocates will increase awareness of the dangers of drunk driving in hopes of reducing the number of crashes and fatalities during this time. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the 2018 Labor Day holiday period, 38% of fatalities in traffic crashes involved a drunk driver.

Among drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2018, 47% of those drivers were drunk, with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 or higher. If you plan on celebrating during the remaining weeks of summer, remember to plan ahead:

• Designate a sober driver or make other arrangements to get home safely, even if you’ve only had one drink.
• If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1 immediately.
• Be a good friend. If you see someone about to drive who shouldn’t, take the keys away and make arrangements to get them home safely.

Even when taking the necessary precautions to avoid driving while intoxicated, crashes during high traffic times are still likely to happen. It’s important to keep in mind your own safety while driving, and the safety of others around you. Make sure you are informed and aware of the types of injuries that can happen, even in the most minor car accidents. These can best be compared to sports injuries.

Summer 2020 brought an increase of outdoor, socially-distant sports and many leagues around the state are preparing for a safe return to fall sports. Football is a major sign of fall approaching, and although this year may be different and will require more safety precautions, players and coaches do what they can to avoid common injuries. The same level of care for safety should also be put in place when behind the wheel. The most common injuries that occur both in sports and car accidents include concussions or other forms of head injuries, back injuries, neck injuries and shoulder injuries. To put this in perspective, (CICO) compared statistics between car and sports injuries. There are about 500,000 football injuries that occur each year, while there are 2.6 million passenger injuries caused by traffic incidents each year.

The most common of these injuries are concussions or head injuries. Sports injuries are estimated to be responsible for 16.5% of all traumatic brain injuries, while car accidents are responsible for 17.3%. Some symptoms of a concussion include confusion, drowsiness, headaches, nausea, changes in consciousness, and memory loss. Given the fact that more people drive cars than play football, a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident is more likely to occur. Although drivers can’t ‘gear up’ in safety equipment like a football player can, a driver can:

• Wear your seatbelt at all times
• Always ride in a car with working air bags
• Make sure that children ride in car seats that are appropriate for their age
• Keep your head pointed forward during an accident
• Avoid distractions, such as cell phones, while driving to prevent such accidents

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 through Friday, 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

Written By:

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