distracted driving


Cookie Wars: MassDrive Edition

massdrive crew

When it comes to competition, we take it very seriously over here at MassDrive, and this week we had a great idea to spice up the holiday season!  We were inspired by the holiday gifts our friends at Plymouth Rock Assurance sent us; three cookie cutters meant to represent their offerings, a gingerbread man (life insurance), a car (auto insurance), and a house (homeowners insurance).  After we got those, it didn’t take long for us to come up with the idea for a cookie decorating contest between the Boston and Phoenix offices!

Each team had to use the cutters provided, and the only other rule was to be as creative as possible!  Both offices are full of creative minds so we all knew competition would be stiff, but of course before we could begin decorating we needed the actual cookies.  Luckily we had two gracious volunteers from each office offer to bake some for everyone.

As we’ve said before, MassDrive is not your typical insurance company, and the cookie creations both offices came up with is further proof of that.  We have incredibly creative employees working in both offices, and a true team effort turned a simple cookie contest into two impressive masterpieces in their own right.  Each office combined the decorating talents of each employee to create a full on holiday scene.

To keep things fair, our California office and a few remote employees served as impartial judges.  Since both offices created amazing cookies, we know this may have been the toughest job of all.

Phoenix creative an amazing holiday village scene complete with insurance themed touches including “Renters Row”, “Auto Ave”, “Pet Protection Parkway”, and even a “NGI University” building!  The judges loves the variety of ingredients used as decorations, especially the pretzel windows which gave the cookies an appealing salty & sweet quality.  The judges also loved the creativity of incorporating insurance aspects into the holiday village.

phoenix village

In Boston, we came up with the idea to create a stop-animation video using our cookies to illustrate the dangers of distracted driving.  The whole office enjoyed creating it, we worked together to come up with a story board, figured out exactly how many cookies we would need for our video, and had our talented crew begin decorating.  We then used the Stop Motion App to create the video, which was awesome because it was free and very user-friendly.  What resulted was a distracted driving awareness video that impressed the judges, and even the competition in Phoenix!  The judges thought that the i-Phone cookie with an incoming message was the most creative cookie, and also thought that the cookies had the “perfect amount of icing”.

After both teams had finished, we had a company conference call to announce the results.  Both offices went into the call without ever seeing what the other team had created, and hearing all the different reactions from each other may have been the most entertaining part of the contest.  Even though both teams did an amazing job, the judges unanimously agreed that Boston was the winner.  What do you think?  Do you agree with the judges?

 

Back To School Driving Safety

school bus

It’s that time of year again, back to school season is here! With back to school comes the return of school buses, school zones, and young kids running here there and everywhere.  What does that mean for drivers?  It means it’s probably a good idea to refresh your memory when it comes to back to school driving safety, so check out these helpful tips now that back to school season is in full swing.

  • School Buses – School buses are back on the road and it’s always good to have a quick reminder when it comes to the specific laws around school buses.  First off, they have red flashing lights and stop signs to alert drivers when they are about to stop.  School pupil transport vehicles have red flashing lights and “SCHOOL BUS” signs on top.  They use these signals as warnings letting students on and off.  If the lights are on and the sign is out, you MUST stop regardless of which side you’re traveling on, it’s the law.  The only exception is if a school bus has stopped on the other side of a divided highway with a barrier between travel directions.  That is the only time you do not have to stop.  If you violate this law, a first offense can get you a $250 fine or even a license suspension.  Be sure to go slow even once the stop signs are away and the lights stop flashing, children can often times run out on the street and surprise you, so proceed with caution.
  • School Zones – When it comes to school zones, you should not be going any faster than 20 MPH.  Be conscious of children crossing the street, riding bikes, school buses, and crossing guards.  Keep your foot above the brake at all times and be prepared for anything, children can be unpredictable and may jump out in front of you when you least expect it, so slow down and stay safe on the road.
  • Crosswalks – When you come to a crosswalk, you must yield to pedestrians as they have the right of way.  Look both ways and double check for children in the area.  Children may expect to cross at a crosswalk whenever they want, especially if they are young.  Some may not look before they cross, so don’t assume that they see you coming.   You may think the coast is all clear, but that might be the exact moment a child runs across the street after their toy that rolled into the street.  Double and triple check before proceeding with caution near crosswalks, playgrounds, and of course school zones.
  • Distracted Driving – Distracted driving is dangerous enough as it is, and there’s no reason to be on the phone when you’re driving, but if you’re in a school zone or anywhere near an area that kids gather, it becomes even more dangerous because children have been known to unexpectedly dart across the street, so you need to give the road your full attention.  If you’re a new driver under the age of 18, any and all cell phone use while driving is against the law.  Texting and any internet related activities are illegal for all drivers, although if you are over 18 it is legal to make a phone call while driving, but try to avoid doing so if you’re in a school zone, near a playground, or any other area where children gather.

Don’t forget to always check and re-check crosswalks before proceeding, go the speed limit or slower in school zones, avoid distracted driving, and be mindful of the laws associated with school buses.  We want drivers and of course pedestrians to stay safe on the roads, so keep these tips in mind this back to school season!

Photo By: Sean

Keeping Your Teen Safe On The Road This Summer

teen driver

Did you know that summer is the most dangerous time of year for teens to be on the road? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest for drivers between ages 15-20.   It makes sense, less time in school, more time for parties, going to the beach, road trips, and endless other places to drive to during the summer season. Don’t let your teen become another statistic, share these safety tips with them and help them practice safe driving this summer!  Remember to set a good example as well, teens pick up habits from other drivers that they observe and you don’t want them to think it’s ok to send a quick text or ditch their seat belt just because they’re going somewhere close.  These tips may seem like common sense to some, but new drivers  don’t have as much experience behind the wheel and may not consider things that drivers with a little more experience would consider obvious.

  • Click it or ticket!  Wearing your seat belt is not only a good idea, but it’s also the law here in Massachusetts.  New drivers may think it’s no big deal to hop in the car and ride down the street to the store without their seat belt just because it’s close, but accidents can happen anywhere. Make sure your teen knows just how important it is to wear your seat belt.  Did you know that drivers and passengers increase their risk of injury or death by up to 50% by not wearing a safety belt?  Those are odds you don’t want to gamble with so remind your teen of the importance of their seat belt and set a good example when you’re driving as well!
  • Talk To Your Teen About Car Maintenance – Again, some things that may seem obvious to experienced drivers may not be so clear to teens.  Make sure your teen knows how to check their tire pressure, put air in the tires, knows how often they need an oil change and tire rotation, and knows how to check and replace the car’s fluids.  A problem as small as low tire pressure can cause the car to handle differently, and may even potentially lead to an accident.  Make sure your teen knows exactly what to look for when it comes to their car.
  • Understand the Dangers of Distracted Driving – Although teens are the least experienced drivers on the road, they are typically the most likely to use their cell phones when behind the wheel.  Averting your eyes from the road for even five seconds, or the amount of time it takes to send a quick text, can lead to a major accident.  Even having too many passengers in a car can be a major distraction, paying attention to friends, music, and the road all at the same time is difficult for any driver, but especially those with little experience. If your teen still has their junior operator license, make sure they are following the rules and regulations that go along with that, which can be found here.
  • Communicate the Danger of Drinking And Driving – Again, this may seem obvious but it’s still a good idea to sit down with your teen and make sure they understand exactly how important this is.  Underage drinking continues to be an issue and although there are attempts to crack down on it, teens still find access to alcohol and it’s important that parents communicate how dangerous and deadly drinking and driving can be.  Make sure your teen knows not to drive themselves, or get into the car with anyone that has had a drink.
  • Limit Unnecessary Trips – Unless your teen has a purpose for their outing, they shouldn’t be going out “just for a drive”.  The less time they spend on the road, the less likely they are to be in an accident.
  • Make Sure Your Teen Knows Where They Are Going – If your teen is taking a trip to the beach or a concert, make sure they know exactly how to get there to prevent getting lost.  If their destination is nearby, take a test drive out there with them and make sure they know exactly where they’re going. If their destination is too far for a convenient test drive, make sure they have a GPS system, and fully charged cell phone to use in case of emergency.

These tips will help your teen make smart decisions and stay safe on the road this summer.  Make sure they understand how important it is for them to give the road their undivided attention, distractions while driving have caused fatal accidents in the past, and the sad thing is that they are typically preventable.  The sooner your teen understands these tips, the safer they will be!

Photo By: State Farm

Talking To Your Teen About Distracted Driving

teen driver

In honor of National Distracted Driving Awareness month, we wanted to continue spreading the awareness and give you some tips for talking to your teenager about the dangers of distracted driving.  Teens are some of the most frequent texters, tweeters, and social media addicts out there, and phones are staples of our daily lives in today’s world.  It can be difficult to put our phones down even for a moment, but in the moment it takes to respond to a text or look at your phone, anything can happen.

Although it can be difficult to unplug from your mobile device while driving, it’s necessary to fully concentrate on the task at hand.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teenagers.  These accidents can be prevented, and talking to your teens and setting a good example for them are some of the most important things you can do for your young driver.  The following facts, figures, and tips will come in handy when you sit down with your teen to talk about the dangers of distracted driving.

According to a survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center for drivers ages 16-21, nearly half of the respondents said they had talked on their handheld phone while driving in the past 30 days.  Although this statistic is not surprising, it is nevertheless frightening to know that so many drivers on the road are endangering their own lives as well as the lives of other drivers and pedestrians.  The majority of drivers acknowledged such behavior as dangerous, but 48% of respondents said they had witnessed a parent talking on their phone while driving in the past 30 days, which is why it’s extremely important to set a good example for your children or any young drivers that you interact with.

It doesn’t hurt that it is illegal in Massachusetts for anyone under the age of 18 to use their cell phone while driving.  Remind your children of the penalties associated with distracted driving.  The first offense will get you a $100 ticket, plus a potential license suspension.  Once your teenager has their license and therefore freedom, they won’t want to lose it.  Knowing in the back of their mind that they could potentially lose their license if caught, they will be more likely to think twice before picking up their phone while behind the wheel.  You should also remind your young driver how important they are to you, and how much it would affect you if anything ever happened to them.  If they understand that their actions can have a serious impact on others, they may be less likely to take unnecessary risks.

Giving your children the facts and talking to them really can make a difference!  According to the same survey from the Consumer Reports National Research Center, concern about distracted driving convinced about three fourths of those surveyed to stop or decrease such behavior.  More than 60% say they were influenced after reading or hearing about the problem, 40% were convinced by related bans (such as the one here in MA that prohibits any cell phone use by drivers under the age of 18), and almost 30% by their family talking to them.  Your actions as a parent can make a huge impact on your child!  Young drivers learn by example, so set a good one!

Photo By: State Farm

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

distracted driving

The National Safety Council is recognizing April as distracted driving awareness month!  Many of us are guilty of it, but distracted driving is a dangerous habit that does not only jeopardize the person who is driving, but also anyone else on the road in that vicinity.  When you take a second to pick up your phone or read a text, you take your eyes off of the road for the split second it takes for an accident to occur. Thousands of people die every year because of distracted driving, help spread awareness this April, and set a good example for your own friends and family to follow!

So, how can you help?  First, you can take the pledge to drive cell free.  Starting with your own habits is the best way to end distracted driving, and from there you can convince others to follow your lead.  Did you know that the NSC estimates that 25% of car crashes involve cell phone use?  Those crashes are entirely preventable, and driving is a task that requires the driver’s undivided attention.  Drivers need to have their hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and brain focused on driving.  All three of those things are necessary to drive safely, and ANY cell phone use behind the wheel(even hands free)  is dangerous.

So what else can you do?  Spread the word!  Tell your friends, family, co-workers, and anyone who will listen about the dangers of distracted driving!  If someone calls you while they’re driving, tell them to call you back once they reach their destination.  There are many common myths and misconceptions about distracted driving, and although many people think they can multi-task, it is impossible for the brain to focus on the conversation you are having as well as the road.  You can read more about distracted driving myths in this infographic from the NSC called The Great Multitasking Lie.

If you’re wondering why cell phone use is being targeted as such a dangerous distraction while driving, it’s because there are many more drivers being distracted by cell phone use than anything else!  How often do you see someone putting on makeup or digging around in their car for something?  Definitely not as often as someone is on their cell phone, in fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about 9% of all drivers are talking on their cell phones at any given daylight moment.  This fact sheet from the NSC has more information regarding the scary truths about distracted driving.

Here in Massachusetts, certain types of distracted driving are even illegal.  Using your phone for texting or any internet-related activity is illegal for all drivers in the state, but drivers under 18 are prohibited from any and all cell phone use while driving.  What happens if you get caught texting and driving?  The fine for a first offense is $100, and after that it only goes up.  A second offense will get you a ticket for $250, and after that $500!  Sending a quick text can get pretty pricey if you get caught!  Police officers are having a difficult time enforcing the law, but they are employing new methods to catch distracted drivers!  You can read more about these methods and driving laws here.

If you’re not fully convinced of the dangers of distracted driving, the NSC has compiled these stories from family members of distracted driving victims, the sad thing is that these incidents could have been prevented if the driver simply ignored their phone.  So take the pledge, and start spreading the word about distracted driving this April!

Photo By: OregonDOT

 

Distracted Driving Awareness

Distracted driving is an ongoing issue that continues to endanger thousands of drivers each year.  Since April is distracted driving awareness month, we wanted to get some of the facts about this dangerous habit and help spread awareness.

So what is distracted driving exactly?  Basically it is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off of the wheel, or mind off of driving.  It can be an action as simple as changing the radio or reaching for something in the seat next to you.  The best example would be talking on the phone or texting while driving.  Texting is in fact one of the worst distractions facing drivers.  It takes your mind and eyes off the road as well as your hands off of the wheel.

Even if it seems like reading or sending a text is not a big deal, it takes your attention away from driving and increases the odds of an accident.  Hands-free cell phone use isn’t much safer, research has shown that even cognitive distractions hinder a driver’s ability to pick up on audio and visual cues that could potentially prevent an accident.

You may think that distracted driving is not as dangerous as it is made out to be, but the statistics related to it have proven otherwise.  Did you know that in 2010 over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the youngest and most inexperienced drivers are at risk, about 16% of distracted driving accidents involve drivers under the age of 20.

Did you also know that at any point during daylight hours, there are about 800,000 vehicles on the road being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.  That’s a lot of distraction that not only endangers the driver, but everyone else on the road as well.

Why isn’t distracted driving illegal in all states you may ask?  It’s because State law has jurisdiction over passenger car driving.   More and more states are passing tougher laws when it comes to distracted driving, and Massachusetts is one of them.  All drivers are banned from texting and junior operators are banned from any cell phone use whatsoever.  Bus drivers are also banned from any cell phone use.

What are some tips for safe driving?  The first step is being aware of what it is and the damage it can cause.  Next, be sure to avoid any and all cell phone use while driving.  If you listen to music in the car,  choose a CD or and iPod playlist that doesn’t have commercials so you don’t have to change the channel or skip songs.   You can also take the Pledge to drive phone-free today and encourage family and friends to do the same.  Distracted driving is entirely preventable and the accidents it causes are avoidable.  Protect yourself and others on the road by taking all precautions to avoid distractions on the road.

Want to keep your car safe from distracted drivers on the road? MassDrive offers more information on car insurance.

All information and statistics were obtained from the Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving.

Photo By: OregonDOT

Texting While Driving in Massachusetts: Know The Laws


Driving while on a cell phone has undoubtedly led to accidents on the road which could have been prevented.  Massachusetts lawmakers continue to push for stricter regulations against cell phone use while driving.  For those of you that aren’t exactly sure what the current laws are, we’ve done some research so that you can be sure you are in compliance next time you go out for a drive.

Currently, the only law that restricts talking on a cell phone while driving applies to drivers under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit or provisional license.  Violators will have their license or learner’s permit suspended.  Junior Operator’s Licenses or Learner’s Permits will be suspended for 60 days for a first offense, 180 days for a second offense, and 1 year for a third or subsequent violation.
http://www.suspendedlicensehelp.com/blog/post/Massachusetts-to-Ban-Texting-JOL-Cell-Phone-Use-While-Driivng.aspx

While licensed drivers over the age of 18 are allowed to talk on the phone while driving, all drivers are banned from texting or other Internet activity when behind the wheel.  If found texting while driving, drivers will be fined $100 for their first offense, then $250, and then $500 for additional infractions.

This law may be frustrating for some drivers but there is good reason for it.  You may think that sending a quick text is no big deal but  texting drivers are 23 times more likely to get involved in a crash.  Sadly, statistics  like this have not been enough to keep drivers from texting behind the wheel which is why bans like this are becoming more common than ever across the country.
http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/faq.html

In addition to these bans,  school bus operators and any public transit drivers are prohibited from any cell phone use whatsoever while driving, which is enforced with a $500 fine. http://handsfreeinfo.com/massachusetts-cell-phone-laws-legislation

As we said there is currently no ban on cell phone use (other than texting) on licensed drivers over the age of 18, however, a bill has recently been introduced in Massachusetts that would only allow for hands-free cell phone use.  This would mean that drivers would need to have a docking station for their phone that would allow them to utilize the speaker phone feature, use headphones, or a Bluetooth to allow for driving with both hands on the wheel.  This bill is yet to be passed.
http://e-lobbyist.com/gaits/MA/H3938

While many drivers see these laws as a nuisance, their purpose is to protect everyone on the road from the dangers of distracted driving.

Lower Than Expected Citations for Texting & Driving

Massachusetts is reporting a lower number of texting while driving citations than expected.  Since September 30th a grand total of 245 drivers across the state have been ticketed on the offense, of those a mere 16 were given to drivers less than 18 years of age. It is possible drivers have found the strength to turn off their cell phones or chucked their PDA to the back seat; then again – maybe they’ve found a way to text without being caught.

After a long legislative debate the texting ban was enacted September 30th of 2010. The new legislation is intended to make roads safer and drivers more alert to their surroundings. It has been thought the low citation numbers across the state, totaling less than 3 per day, may exhibit the difficulty officers face in determining if drivers are using their phones and pda’s behind the wheel.

The texting citation, although not a surchargeable ticket, will cost you a pretty penny. The fine totals $100.00 for drivers over the age of 18. Drivers less than 18 years of age caught texting and driving may face heavier fines, license suspension, and additional driving courses to re-instate a licnese.

New technologies have made it possible to hold incoming messages, send auto responses, and even read incoming messages to you. Weighing the risk of facing a fine, suspension for the under-agers, and placing your life and many others in danger – is that text message really worth it?

75 ThanksGiving Drivers & OUIs

The winter holidays are a stressful time for many, but don’t let the hustle and bustle lead to bad driving decisions. The Massachusetts Public Safety and Securities reported making 171 total arrests Thanksgiving Thursday through Sunday, November 28th. Of the total 171 arrests, 75 have been reported as OUIs – 71 under the influence of alcohol and 4 under the influence of other narcotics.

Neighboring New Hampshire officials arrested 33 drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol. The New Hampshire Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) program stopped 3,519 drivers, almost 1,000 of which were cited with speeding according to the Boston Globe.

The holiday season brings increased patrols, even more reason to drive carefully in this winter wonderland. An additional 13 State Police patrolled the roads from late Wednesday through early Thanksgiving morning. With Christmas and other December holidays around the corner, think twice before drinking your eggnog.

Parallel Parking Stress You Out? We May Have A Solution.

When purchasing a new vehicle what do you look for? Your criteria may contain everything from a price range and safety rating to a leather interior or extra cup holder. A new study released by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Ford Motors may motivate you to add another item to your vehicle checklist: parking assistant program.

A recent technology appearing in a number of new vehicles underwent a study to determine if the parking assistance has an effect on drivers’ stress levels. This proved to be a study important to many motorists as a Harris Interactive study revealed approximately 31% of drivers avoid parallel parking if at all possible.

The study observed 42 drivers’ stress levels with EKG monitors while parallel parking and backing into a tight-fitting parking spaces. As revealed by the study, these sometimes difficult parking maneuvers exerted less stress on the driver while using an automatic parking-assist system.

Drivers’ average heart rate decreased from 83 beats per minute when manually parking to 71 beats per minute while using Ford’s Active Park Assist technology. The average 12 beat per minute drop in drivers’ heart rate accompanied a 30% decrease in drivers’ perceptions of their own stress levels while using the assistant.

The parking assistant program utilizes sonar to determine if the vehicle will fit in the parking space and help to guide it into the spot. While parking the driver controls breaks and thrust as the computer turns the vehicle. For more information on the MIT study please visit the MIT Release at: MIT News.

Ready for a Quote?
Get A Quote