On Thanksgiving Day, the kitchen is the busiest room in the home. With COVID-19 cancelling many big holiday get togethers, more people than ever are entering the kitchen to make their own holiday meals for the first time. Help your policyholders have a safe holiday with these cooking safety tips.
Did you know that the highest rate of deer collisions occurs between October and December? This is the migration and mating season for deer, so they are likely to be moving at a more frequent pace.
According to theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are one million car accidents involving deer each year in the United States, resulting in close to 200 deaths and an additional 10,000 injuries. The financial costs are also high, as deer collision damages to vehicles total upward of$1 billionin costs a year. On average, a vehicle collision with a deer will cost an insured more than $3,000 in damages. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) attributes the increase in deer-vehicle collisions to the fact that more roads are being built through wildlife habitats, which causes deer to be displaced from their natural habitat.
How to avoid becoming a statistic
Stay alert and look for signs:The easiest way to avoid crashes is to stay awake and aware of your surroundings while driving – a best practice in any season. Drivers should also look for signs regarding deer crossing, as studies have found that crash risk can be reduced by up to 34% when signs are posted.
Recognize deer patterns:You're most likely to see a deer at dawn or at dusk, and if you do see a deer, always slow down. Deer typically travel in groups so if you see a deer crossing alone, you should wait a few minutes - more deer are likely to follow.
Don't swerve to avoid a deer collision:If a crash with a deer becomes inevitable, it is better to apply the brake hard and fast rather than try to swerve in another direction; this could cause a more serious accident with another vehicle, guardrail or tree. Brake firmly, holding onto the steering wheel, and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop.
If you are involved in a crash, make sure to notify police officials and your insurance agency immediately.
Tips to prevent water damage from a leaking refrigerator from our friends at Service Master Dynamic Cleaning.
These leaks are often small and can go unnoticed for a long time. This is why it's usually the smallest leaks that cause the most damage! If not caught and restored properly, a water leak can cause mold to grow within 48 hours.
Follow these expert tips to help prevent water damage from fridge leaks:
The Massachusetts RMV is taking important additional steps following Governor Charlie Baker’s declaration of a State of Emergency the week of March 9th and to complement the work that has been underway across state government to keep residents safe and healthy.
To help you and your customers maintain proper social distancing, as of March 20 the annual motor vehicle safety and emissions inspection expiration dates are being extended as follows:
In light of the current situation effective Tuesday 3/17/2020 our offices will be closed to the public. We must do what is best for the safety of our employees and their families as well as the general public. Our office will still be open and employees working on site and remotely. If you need to speak with us during our normal office hours (Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm) please call 781-762-0042 or email your representative directly. If you would like to leave a payment or paperwork you may use the mail slot on the front door.
Governor Baker has signed the Hands-Free Driving Bill into law
Massachusetts finally has a hands-free driving law. Yesterday afternoon, Governor Baker signed, as expected, a bill enacted by the Legislature on November 20, 2019, entitled “An Act Requiring The Hands-Free Use Of Mobile Telephones While Driving.” The law does not have an emergency preamble so it will not take effect until Sunday, February 23, 2020, ninety days from November 25th.
Massachusetts newly enacted Hands Free Driving law amends M.G.L. c. 90, § 13B and states that, “No operator of a motor vehicle shall hold a mobile electronic device” or “use a mobile electronic device unless the device is being used in hands-free mode.” The statute defines “hands-free mode” as use without the user holding or touching the device except to initiate the hands-mode feature of the device.
The law which applies to both operators of motor vehicles and bicycles does allow “emergency” use of a hand-held device to report that:
The vehicle was disabled;
Medical attention or assistance was required;
Police intervention, fire department or other emergency services were necessary for the personal safety of the operator or a passenger or to otherwise ensure the safety of the public;
a disabled vehicle or an accident was present on a roadway.
At a State House ceremony, attended by families who had lost loved ones to distracted drivers using cellphones and the legislators who pushed a comprise through to the Governor’s desk, His Excellency the Governor signed the distracted driving bill stating, “This bill is a major step in our ongoing work to keep our roads safe. We are especially grateful for the many advocates and families who passionately fought for this bill. We look forward to working with our legislative colleagues to make more progress in this area soon.”
The passage of a hands-free driving law has been a long process
Massachusetts legislators have long sought to enact a law addressing this issue, but have sparred over various issues such as data collection included as part of the proposed bill. Last Monday, November 18th, however, a new movement to enact a law on this issue began in the House. After several compromises, a version ultimately passed the Senate and the bill was laid before the Governor late last week.
According to Cambridge-based telematics company True Motion, which has long supported such a bill, there is “…one distracted driving incident per minute in front of Massachusetts’ State House.” On July 23, 2018, the company reported in a blog post that it had sat in front of the State House, at the corner of Beacon and Park Streets every day from 8:30 to 9:30 AM for a week counting distracted drivers. “This included anyone who was using their phone texting (illegal), dialing (legal), and making handheld phone calls (legal then).” After a week’s time, the start-up said it had counted over “…300 distracted driving incidents in just 5 hours – one per minute.”
A third-offense under the New Hands-Free Driving Bill Will Result in a Surcharge
According to the terms laid out in the new Bill, a first-time violation with result in a $100 fine, a second offense will be a $250 fine, followed by a $500 fine for a third or subsequent offense. While a first or second offense is not categorized as a “surchargeable incident” under the statute, a third or subsequent office will be considered as such.
(e) A first or second offense under this section or section 8M shall not be a surchargeable 66 incident under section 113B of chapter 175 or under a motor vehicle liability policy as defined in 67 section 34A that is issued pursuant to said chapter 175; provided, however, that a third or 68 subsequent offense under this section or section 8M shall be a surchargeable incident under said 69 section 113B of said chapter 175 or under a motor vehicle liability policy as defined in said 70 section 34A that is issued pursuant to said chapter 175.
After a second or subsequent offense, operators will be required to complete an educational program on distracted driving prevention.
Short grace period for first-time offenders until March 31, 2020
Although the law will take effect on February 23, 2020, first-time violators cited from February 23, 2020 until March 31, 2020, will receive warnings. The enactment provision of the law provides, “notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, an operator of a motor vehicle shall be issued a warning for a first violation…for conduct other than the typing or reading of an electronic message occurring after the effective date of this act until March 31, 2020, inclusive.”
Other provisions included in the newly enacted law
Another major issue that has prevented earlier Hands-Free Driving Bills to pass was the issue of data collected as part of the enforcement of a potential hands-free bill. In particular, those opposed to wide data collection feared that such information could be used for purposes such as racial profiling. The Bill, however, includes various provisions dealing with the collection and storage of data as well as safeguards in which to prevent potential misuse of the information collected.
The new law also requires the Secretary of Public Safety and Security to issue an annual public report based on the data collected throughout the year.
On Thanksgiving Day, the kitchen is the busiest room in the home. The number one cause of residential fires is caused by unattended cooking. Enjoy the holiday while avoiding fire damage with these cooking safety tips.
This material is for informational purposes only. All statements herein are subject to the provisions, exclusions and conditions of the applicable policy, state and federal laws. For an actual description of coverage, terms and conditions, please refer to the applicable insurance policy or check with your insurance professional. The illustrations, instructions and principles contained in the material are general in scope and, to the best of our knowledge, current at the time of publication.
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