drinking and driving

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

Drinking and Driving? Think Again!

Drinking and driving is one of the most dangerous things to do on the road.  Not only are you endangering your own life, but you’re putting everyone else on the road in danger!    If you do drink and drive, and then get a DUI, there are many negative consequences that you can expect.  Besides the obvious embarrassment that goes along with a DUI, it can impact your job, finances, and personal life.

So, what are these consequences exactly?  Other than the obvious possibility of harming yourself or others, we’ve compiled a list of potential repercussions that may result from a DUI.

  •   One of the first things that will happen after a DUI is that your license will be revoked for a minimum of 30 days, however in most cases it’s for a longer period of time.  Losing your ability to drive can also cause many issues in your professional life.  If you aren’t located near any modes of public transportation, getting to work every day may suddenly become a problem.
  • Obviously if you can’t get to work because you lost your license, that’s a major issue.  Also, you may have to miss even more days to go to court for your DUI.  Another way it can affect your job?  Some employers may fire you if they find out you have a DUI because it brings your professional credibility into question.  Of course every company is different, but if you do not legally have to disclose your DUI to your employer, it’s best not to mention it.
  • Another consequence of a DUI is that you will likely have to take alcohol awareness classes, or if you have more than one offense you may be required to participate in a lengthy rehab program.  Every case is different but either way you will be spending a lot of time in a classroom.
  • Financially, a DUI will do a number on you.  First, you have to cover the cost of an attorney who can represent you in court.  That will cost you a few thousand right off the bat.  The longer your case is in court, the more you will have to pay and the more time you will have to take off from work.
  • Another thing that will cost you?  Your insurance.  Having a DUI on your record guarantees that your premium will go up.  In some cases it may double or even triple, depending on how many points you have on your license.  Getting a DUI in Massachusetts automatically gives you 5 points on your license, and many insurance companies will not write you a policy if you have 5 points or more.  A DUI will also remain on your license for six years before the points begin to decrease.
  • Getting insurance after a DUI can definitely be a challenge.  The largest carrier in the insurance market in Massachusetts, which is Commerce, will not write a policy for anyone with 5 points or more.  Many other carriers across the state follow this mentality, so finding insurance after a DUI will prove to be quite difficult.   Since there are less carriers that will write a policy for someone with a DUI, those that will write a policy will likely charge a lot more due to the risk they are assessing.
  • Another issue with finding insurance after a DUI?  Certain companies that will write a policy for someone with a DUI may only offer liability coverage.  This is a problem because unless you own your car outright, you will need full coverage.

Next time you are out enjoying an adult beverage, do yourself, and everyone else on the road a favor and either call a cab or designate a sober driver.  Not only will it save you some embarrassment, time, and money, it may also save a life.

Photo By: OregonDOT


MADD Supports Extended Measures Against Drunk Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 108 people were killed in Massachusetts due to drunk drivers in 2009. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has initiated a fight for legislators to support an extended reach of ignition interlock devices and monitoring. An interlock device prevents a driver from operating a vehicle if they do not pass the breathalyzer test. If the driver passes the interlock the vehicle will start however if their BAC is not up to par the vehicle will remain as it is.

In Massachusetts repeat drunk driving offenders are required to have the systems in their vehicles for the first two years. MADD is asking to reach further and include the requirement for first time offenders during the first 6 months their licnese is reinstated. Drivers will gain training in how to use the device to ensure proper use. The ignition interlock system typically costs $100 – $200 for installation with a monthly rental fee of approximately $70 – $100. The device is programed to prevent a vehicle from starting should you have too high BAC, have a friend blow into the device, use a mechanical device to blow into the system or tamper with it in any way. Drinking and driving is a serious matter. MADD is working along side Senator Robert Hedlund, sponsor of the bill, to ensure drunk driving recognized as such.

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.

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