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With our eyes on sparkly gifts and excitement building for the New Year, there is a national enforcement mobilization to raise awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The holidays are known for being merry and bright, but they’re also known for being the deadliest season when it comes to impaired driving.

Snowglobe_Buzzed_1200x1200According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2018 alone, there were more drunk-driving-related fatalities (285) than during any other holiday period that year. With winter approaching and the increase of snow and icy roads, the need for attentive driving becomes more crucial.

Keep in mind the dangers of how alcohol, marijuana, or other substances can affect you, especially when behind the wheel. Although a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent is considered legally impaired, alcohol can start to affect many of your senses after only one drink. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), when a person reaches a BAC of 0.02, they begin to show signs of lack of judgment, increased relaxation, slightly increased body temperature, mood swings, decreased visual functionality, and inability to multi-task. Once a person reaches a BAC of 0.08, they begin to have reduced muscle coordination, lack of self-control, loss of short-term memory, reduced ability to concentrate, lack of speed control, and reduced ability to process information.

Similar effects can happen after the use of marijuana. It has been shown that THC in marijuana can slow reaction times, impair cognitive performance, and make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane. The CDC also found that marijuana can affect specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, decision making, coordination, and emotions.

Even though holiday gatherings may look different this year and many are staying close to home, you should always plan ahead if you plan to travel after celebrating. Hand your keys to a sober friend or family member, even if you’ve only had one drink. It is never worth the risk of endangering your life or someone else’s. Also, during this holiday season, please keep in mind social distancing guidelines and stay up to date on the state’s current mandates, which you can find here.

Throughout the year, 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. Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!

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

Written By:

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