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The month of October holds many safety events which drivers, especially teens, should be aware of. October 18th to the 24th is National Teen Driver Safety Week. When your teen begins to drive, it’s important to instill safe driving habits. Talk to your teens this week about the resources available to ensure their safety while driving. Be sure to have conversations with your teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. The greatest dangers for teen drivers include alcohol, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding and number of passengers.

thumbnail_TeenSafetyWeekIn the United States, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens aged 15 to 18 years old. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver. Of these crashes, 755 deaths were the teen drivers themselves.

Driving is a new chapter and a step towards independence for many teens. This is where constant communication about safe driving skills is essential for your new teen driver. Even if your teen has had their license for a few years, it’s important to keep the following in mind when talking to your teen:

  • Talk about safe driving practices and the consequences they’ll face if they don’t obey the rules of the road.
  • Become familiar with Massachusetts’ nighttime driving restrictions, passenger restrictions, and all the graduated driver licensing (GDL) restrictions found here.
  • Be a good role model for your teen driver and set an example with your own safe driving habits.
  • Set the rules before they hit the road, and make it clear to your teen that violating the rules will have serious repercussions.
  • Talk to your teen about safe cell phone use while in the car. Encourage them to designate a texter, or to pull over before answering phone calls or responding to text messages.

In-person, remote and hybrid schooling varies regionally this fall, however, another event to be aware of this month is National School Bus Safety week, October 19th to the 23rd. According to the NHTSA, from 2005 to 2014, there were 1,332 people killed in school-transportation-related crashes, an average of 133 fatalities per year. Occupants of school transportation vehicles accounted for 8 percent of the fatalities, and non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.) accounted for 21 percent of the fatalities.

As a parent, driver, or pedestrian, it is a good idea to remind yourself, your children, and others of the following rules to ensure safety and peace of mind during the school year. To help prevent these incidents from occurring, add more time to your morning commute since more buses are on the road, remember to always STOP when approaching a school bus that is picking up children, and be alert. Even when school bus lights aren’t flashing, watch out for children, especially in the morning or afternoon school arrival and dismissal times.

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. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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

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