Doherty Insurance Brings Distractology 101 Tour to Andover to Educate Teen Drivers
Doherty Insurance Agency is proud to bring the state-of-the-art Distractology 101 tour to Andover September 11th through Andover Day on September 15th. Distractology 101 is an interactive program developed by the Arbella Insurance Foundation to teach new drivers the dangers of distracted driving. The campaign features a 36-foot-long, neon-yellow mobile classroom outfitted with high-tech driving simulators designed to give new drivers the chance to experience the perils of distracted driving, including texting while driving.
Nearly 5,500 people were killed and almost half a million were injured in accidents related to distracted driving (including text messaging) in 2009.1 Not surprisingly, research has found that text messaging increases the risk of a crash by 23 times.3 In June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the U.S., up nearly 50% from June 2009.2 Driving while distracted is particularly dangerous for teen drivers; in 2009, a startling 40% of American teens said they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.4 In 2012 AAA found that electronics were the number one cause of distraction for teen drivers and that females were twice as likely as males to use their phones while driving.
“Distracted driving is a widespread epidemic among young drivers that continues to worsen, particularly as mobile devices become more prevalent, more advanced and more addictive,” said John Donohue, chairman, president and CEO of the Arbella Insurance Group, and chairman and president of the Arbella Insurance Foundation. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 800,000 drivers are using a hand-held cell phone at any given moment but only 57% recognize it as a serious threat to their safety. This lack of awareness and understanding is quite startling. It is our hope that Distractology 101 will continue to tackle this naivety head on and force drivers to once and for all break their mobile phone addiction while on the road.”
To date a total of 3,798 new drivers, meaning those that have been licensed less than three years, have completed the Distractology 101 training. Last year, 94% percent of students surveyed said the experience was effective or extremely effective and 75% said they would recommend the experience to a friend, up from 64% in 2010.
“In just two years Arbella’s Distractology 101 campaign has made enormous strides in terms of combating distracted driving,” said Jay Doherty VP of Doherty Insurance Agency. “The program’s mission is quite simple: to educate young drivers of the dangers of distracted driving and ultimately save the lives of teens living in communities such as Methuen, North Andover, Lawrence and Andover.” Sheila Doherty, President of Doherty Insurance Agency added, “Our communities have seen firsthand the tragedy of texting while driving by young people. Research has indicated that this type of real life stimulation and education can truly help to change dangerous behavior and all of us at Doherty Insurance are proud to support this important mission.”
The Distractology driving simulator, based on Arbella-funded research conducted with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMASS), will travel to various communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island during 2012, offering 45 minutes of simulated distracted driving to each participant.
During the driving simulator training — Distractology 101: A Crash Course on Distracted Driving — teens and other new drivers face a number of scenarios based on real-world examples, educating participants on how to anticipate hidden hazards, react to the road and avoid accidents. Participants also complete the online portion of the curriculum at www.DistractU.com and make a safe-driving pledge in order to complete the training.
Participation is by appointment only at 21 Elm Street in Andover. To sign up for the free Distractology 101 training, contact Doherty Insurance at 978-475-0260.
About the Arbella Insurance Group and the Arbella Insurance Foundation
Established in 1988, the Arbella Insurance Group (www.arbella.com) is a company with more than $600M in revenue with approximately $1B in assets, headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts. Arbella is a customer-focused regional property and casualty insurance company, providing personal and business insurance in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and business insurance in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Arbella Insurance Group founded the Arbella Insurance Foundation in 2004. The mission of Arbella’s Foundation is to engage in activities and to support not-for-profit organizations that have a significant positive impact on the people and communities served by Arbella.
About Doherty Insurance
Doherty Insurance was started in 1934 by William A Doherty and he was soon joined by his Brother Jim. Today we are a second generation family business owned now by Jim’s daughter, Sheila and son, Jay. Doherty Insurance is proud of the fact that they are the longest continuous business in down town Andover. Doherty Insurance continues to serve the needs of clients throughout the Merrimack Valley by providing sound insurance advice, competitive pricing, person to person service and a continuing commitment to the community.