massachusetts drivers


Quick Tips to Prepare Your Car for Fall

It’s here! The weather is getting chillier, the sun is setting earlier, and the leaves are beginning to turn. Football season has returned and coffee shops across the Bay State are offering pumpkin spice lattes. Fall has arrived!

Though it is sad to bid summer in New England goodbye, autumn in New England is beautiful. Don’t forget that the changing weather and beautiful foliage can present risks to Massachusetts drivers, keep yourself safe on Massachusetts roads and enjoy the season safely with these tips!

Tires

As the weather cools, your tire pressure can change and fall weather can leave you with low tire pressure. Be sure to take a look at the pressure on your tires and also check their tread and traction – leaves and frost can make the roadways slippery, you’ll need the grip!

Brakes

Roads are more slippery in the fall, so getting your brakes in tip-top shape is extra important.

Heater, defrosters, anti-freeze

The colder weather is coming and before it hits it’s wise to get your car ready! Ensure your car’s heat works and that your coolant (anti-freeze) is at the correct levels for protecting your engine.

Wiper blades

Did you know November is typically the wettest month of the year in Massachusetts? Check that your windshield wiper blades are functioning properly and have no tears that could interfere with use or grow over time.

Be aware of the changing weather

As it gets colder, the road can fill up with hazards, like frost and falling leaves. When driving on leaves, be sure to slow down and give yourself time to stop. Wet or frozen leaves can make roads slippery, and leaves on the road can conceal other hazards like pot holes and bumps. Frost acts just like black ice and can cause dangerous conditions. During a frost, be extra careful on bridges, as they freeze before roads, and take it slow.

MassDrive Insurance Group Launches Comparison Shopping Platform

Agency adds to growing list of consumer-focused utilities

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MassDrive Insurance Group, one of the first companies to offer Massachusetts consumers an online destination to shop for car insurance, today announced the launch of its instant quoting and comparison shopping platform. The technology solution, combined with MassDrive’s SnapQuote™ tool, live chat and extended hours phone-access to licensed insurance professionals, furthers MassDrive’s commitment to being the most innovative and customer-centric independent agency in Massachusetts.

MassDrive’s new platform offers a unique, streamlined and consumer-friendly user interface that provides accurate real-time quotes from multiple insurance carriers offering a broad range of pricing and coverage options. Complying with Massachusetts’ unique underwriting guidelines, the tool relies on targeted questions and information like driving records and car models. To supplement the comparison shopping tool, MassDrive offers its customers counsel from licensed insurance professionals to ensure the quote is accurate, meets customers’ specific needs, and accounts for any eligible discounts. The agency began pilot testing the service in June.

“We are proud to continue to improve the auto and home insurance buying experience for consumers in Massachusetts with the launch of comparison shopping on MassDrive.com,” said Bill Suneson, co-founder and CEO of MassDrive Insurance Group. “We have always made it a priority to develop the latest technology to best meet our customers’ needs, and we are thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive feedback we have received following this launch.”

MassDrive is known for its adoption of high-tech solutions and offers utilities like web chat and texting that make it easy for customers to get in touch. Through its “Renewal Readiness” program, MassDrive agents monitor premium adjustments from customers’ current insurance company, and upon renewal, re-evaluate the policy with other insurance partners to ensure that every customer receives the best coverage and most cost-competitive policy available.

Massachusetts consumers can access MassDrive’s comparison shopping technology directly at MassDrive.com. MassDrive, through its B2B offering, also makes its technology and insurance services available to strategic partners including affinity groups, online insurance agents and financial institutions.

About MassDrive Insurance Group

MassDrive makes shopping for car and home insurance easy. One of the fastest growing independent insurance agencies in Massachusetts, MassDrive combines innovative, tech-driven services with industry expertise to deliver customized insurance policies that give the best protection and value to consumers. The only company to offer the Renewal Readiness™ policy review program and SnapQuote™ mobile quoting tool, MassDrive is committed to a consumer-centric approach to insurance. MassDrive’s expert agents, partnerships with multiple top-rated insurance carriers and extended hours consistently result in high customer satisfaction. For more information, please visit www.massdrive.com.

Contacts

Greenough Communications
Lucy Muscarella, 617-275-6527
lmuscarella@greenough.biz

Holiday Travel Tips

Holiday Travel in MA

The holidays! What’s not to love? There’s great music, pretty lights, parties aplenty and, if you’re lucky, a great gift waiting for you under some adorable holiday-themed paper. The holiday season does come its share of challenges amongst the joy, and one of my least favorites is holiday travel in Massachusetts and its surroundings, and all the traffic that goes along with it.

Like any good journey,  the holiday travel season requires some thinking ahead and preparation. Make sure you’re prepared to hit the road with these Massachusetts holiday travel and safety tips.

Be Mindful of Massachusetts Law

  • In the state of Massachusetts, all occupants of your vehicle are required to wear seat belts. Make sure you have a seat and working belt for every passenger and yourself when traveling this holiday.
  • The speed limit on most Massachusetts highways is 65mph, however, some can be as low as 55mph. Leave with plenty of time to get where you’re going this holiday season and pay attention to the speed limit – nothing says “Bah Humbug!” like shelling out for a speeding ticket.
  • If you hit any rotaries on your journey, remember to yield to those already in the rotary when entering and always enter to the right.
  • Texting while driving has been banned in Massachusetts. Let it wait until you get there or you could face $100-$500 in fines, depending on whether it is your first offense. This applies to when you’re stopped at red lights. Again, nothing says “Bah Humbug!” like a hefty ticket. Or a crash, for that matter.

Be Ready for the Road

  • Sign up to get a free FAST LANE transponder and cruise through the tolls on the Turnpike, the Sumner and Ted Williams Tunnels, and the Tobin Memorial Bridge on the way to Grandma’s. If you’re heading out of state, your FAST LANE transponder can be used anywhere E-ZPass is accepted.
  • New England weather is unpredictable, so make sure you’ve winterized your car. Snow tires, an ice scraper, and perhaps a foldable shovel will keep you safe on wintery roads.
  • With a lot of people on the road, wintery conditions and the stress of the holidays, anything can happen. Make sure you’re covered with auto insurance.

Have Fun! But Not Too Much Fun…

  • Turn up the Christmas music while you travel! Most stations will play Christmas music mixed in with their standards, but there are a few stations that play strictly holiday themed music. In Massachusetts, Oldies 103.3 and 105.7 WROR play Christmas music round the clock, and WROR has an adorable segment where kids can call into Santa.
  • Plan ahead if you plan on drinking, and make sure have a designated driver for when you need to get home. The legal limit is a blood-alcohol content under .08. Drunk driving increases over the holidays, and Massachusetts police will be on the lookout for drunk drivers. Not only does driving under the influence put you in danger of getting arrested, it puts everyone you pass on the road in danger. Err on the side of safety and avoid a drunk driving accident by making sure you have a sober ride home.

Regardless of what you’re celebrating or where you are celebrating, we wish you safe and easy travel and a very happy holiday season!

Photo by freakapotimus

Preparing Your Kids for the Road

Preparing Your Kids for the Road

Preparing Your Kids (and Yourself) to Drive

Passing a drivers test and receiving their very first licnese is a teenager’s first step to independence and one move closer to adulthood. You can provide your child with driving advice and safety tips to better prepare them behind the wheel. No matter the advice you give, your child’s first time behind the wheel is going to be an exhilarating, and maybe scary experience. Tackling important information early on can help your new driver to make the best decisions during their first days, weeks, and months on the road.

Don’t Miss Out On Driver’s Training

As all younger drivers are require to complete driver’s training, before taking their exam they will need to study the laws of the road. You can be a part of this by helping them to study, quizzing them on the information for the exam, and maybe even pick up a little refresher yourself! With this preparation your child will be more confident and better prepared for the exam and the road.

Talk Finances

Whether or not your teenager will be helping to pay for their own car, auto insurance, or gas it’s important that they understand the financial responsibility that comes with a driver’s licnese. Show them a copy of your insurance policy, talk with them about the costs that come with a driver’s licnese and emphasize the responsibility they are about to receive. Discussing the effects of a speeding ticket on insurance rates and the dangers of irresponsible driving is an important subject to touch on as well. These conversations will better prepare your child to be financially responsible with their vehicle and driving habits today and in the future.

Talk Safety

Further than discussing the financial consequences of a speeding ticket or an accident, you’ll want to discuss the importance of safety behind the wheel. Parents should discuss the incredible responsibility the child has acquired not only for themselves, but for the passengers of their own vehicle and others on the road. Topics to discuss here include everything from wearing a seatbelt and ensuring the headlights are used during evening hours to defensive driving techniques. Here you’ll want to be firm, but not overly controlling – you will want your child to take you seriously and feel respected.

Keep the Driving Subject Open

Once they receive their driver’s licnese, the training is not over. You will want to consistently review driving techniques and ask about their driving experiences. Although you will not want to discuss this every time you talk with your child, depending on the length of time they’ve been driving you’ll want to keep on top of these important topics.

Safe Driving!

Photo by Caitlinator

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.

New iZUP Application Prevents Distracted Driving

A new technology has arrived to increase driving safety by restricting cell phone use behind the wheel. The clever iZUP (i.e. “eyes up”) application, developed by Illume Software, was created to help eliminate distracted driving. Recent legislation banning texting and driving holds the potential for strict fines and possible license suspensions if caught. Applications restricting phone use behind the wheel may be answer for parents and employers and necessary step for the texting-addicts.

iZUP technology includes the following features to aid in reducing distracted driving:

  • Preventing outgoing text messages, e-mails and phone calls while driving
  • sending incoming calls to voicemail and holding text messages when the vehicle is in motion
  • Prohibiting web browsing and application use while driving
  • Providing password-protected passenger override
  • Allowing three authorized phone numbers (i.e. home, employer, etcetera)
  • Allowing one authorized application (i.e. navigation/ gps)
  • Making emergency 911 quick dial available at all times
  • Automatically unblocking all calls after a 911 call
  • Tamper alert send to an account holder when the user (child or possibly employee) attempts to disable iZUP
  • Sending notification of 911 call to account holder with a map shoving call location and time

More information about iZUP can be found on the provider’s website: www.getizup.com.

RECEIVE AN iZUP DISCOUNT:

MassDrive is proud to announce drivers with a Plymouth Rock policy have the opportunity to receive a 25% discount on iZUP! This discount is just another of the many benefit of the Savings Pass program, a free perk of holding a policy with Plymouth Rock. MassDrive carriers offer unique discounts on insurance and additional products, such as the iZUP application. For a free qutoe contact your friendly MassDrive agent today!

New Driving Legislature Affecting You

The majority of Massachusetts drivers have at least heard about some new legislature that is to take effect this month, but many are still unaware of how it will affect them. New laws effective this month’s end will affect operators of all ages. Check out the following to keep yourself up-to-date and out-of-trouble:

Mobile Phone & Texting Law Effective September 30th 2010:

This new law prohibits drivers of all ages from using any kind of mobile electronic device to write, send, or read electronic messages including text messages, e-mails, instant messages and internet access. Those who disregard this new regulation will face:

  • 1st offense: $100 fine
  • 2nd offense: $250 fine
  • 3rd + offense: $500 fine

Drivers under 18 years of age are also prohibited by this law to make any use of a mobile electronic device for any reason while operating a vehicle. Massachusetts enforcement will only allow this use for reporting an emergency. Teen drivers violating this provision will face:

  • 1st offense: $100 fine & 60-day license suspension and a required attitudinal retraining course
  • 2nd offense:$250 fine & 180-day license suspension
  • 3rd offense: $500 fine & 1 year suspension of license

Operators of all ages may be fined for unsafe use of and impeded operation due to mobile devices. Additionally, drivers must keep one hand on the steering wheel at all times. If caught operating a vehicle with no hands on the wheel or distracted while due to a mobile device you will face the following fines:

  • 1st offense: $35 fine
  • 2nd offense (within 12 months): $75 fine
  • 3rd offense (within 12 months): $150 fine

Further than the previously listed offenses Massachusetts law constitutes personal injury and property damages caused by negligent operation a criminal offense. If you’re involved in an accident or crash as a result of using a mobile electronic device, you will face criminal charges and suspension of your licnese.

Three Surcharges & Suspension Legislature Effective September 30th:

When a driver accrues three surcharge-able violations in a two-year time period their license may face suspension. These qualifying surcharge-able events include moving violations and accidents. Once a third surcharge is incurred in that two-year window, the driver must complete a Driver Retraining Course within 90 days of the notification sent by the RMV.

In Person License Renewals for Those 75+ Years Effective September 30th:

Drivers 75 years of age and older as of September 30th will be required to renew their license in person at an RMV branch. The operator will need to successfully complete a vision test or resent a completed Vision Screening


For additional information on the new driving laws affecting  you please visit the Massachsuetts RMV website at: www.massdot.state.ma.us/rmv/.

Right to Repair Denied

A decade-long battle to require auto manufacturers to release diagnostic and software information as well as tools to auto repair shops and individuals was shot down this past weekend. Also known as the “Right to Repair” bill, the proposed legislation which passed the Massachusetts State Senate July 6th was denied entry to law by the Massachusetts House this past Saturday evening.

Opposition to the bill was largely felt by automakers. They believe the bill would be costly for both dealers and automakers possibly threatening their industry. Auto manufacturers also fear their valued information would fall in the wrong hands allowing other companies to make generics of their specialized and trade-secret parts. Supports of the bill stated it would make lower repair costs available to consumers and allow independent repair shops to compete with the dealers.

The high tensions of the Right to Repair Act may also be seen in its expensive costs. Opposition and proponents have spent a total of $1.3 million on lobbying and advertising this past year in efforts to sway voters.

If this measure were to have passed it would have made Massachusetts the first state to require auto manufacturer’s to release their highly valued informaiton. The Right to Repair coalition plans to bring their best when the legislation meets again next year. If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again.

Emergency Vehicles – Move Over & Save a Life

Police across Massachusetts and New Hampshire have announced they will be increasing their efforts in enforcing the laws requiring drivers to move over when an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road. State police in New Hampshire report about 25 accidents a year in which troopers or their vehicles were struck by other vehicles when stopped at construction details or traffic stops.

The seriousness of this measure needs to be understood by all. This past July 17th 2010 a Massachusetts trooper was sitting in his cruiser after pulling a driver over when he was struck by another motorist. The second motorist who collided with the trooper’s cruiser was cited on DWI charges however police note distracted driving is one of the greatest factors in these accidents.

New Hampshire and Massachusetts police said they are doing their best to educate drivers of the law requiring motorists to move over a lane when an emergency vehicle’s lights are flashing. The state police have also noted they will be enforcing this law with greater diligence. Some drivers have complained it’s difficult to move over a lane due to additional traffic – in these cases the state police have said the motorist should slow down or face a fine.

Trooper Thomas Lencki was able to escape an accident in 2003 where another motorist crashed into the back of his vehicle:

“I noticed an SUV coming into the breakdown lane at a high rate of speed… I was able to move a little bit to protect myself and the woman, and he hit me at about 78 mph, pushed me into the Jersey barrier and then pushed me into her.”

Distracted driving can have grave consequences. If you see an emergency vehicle flashing lights, move over a lane – you may just save a life.

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