McGrath Insurance Brings Distractology 101 Tour Back to Sturbridge

STURBRIDGE, Mass. – McGrath Insurance Group, Inc. is proud to bring the state-of-the-art Distractology 101 tour to Sturbridge during the week of May 18-22. 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.

According to a 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated nine people die and 1,060 are hurt each day as a result of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 71% of teens and young adults say they have composed and sent text messages while driving, and 78% of teens and young adults say they have read a text while driving. Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds—the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field at 55 mph, blind. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, teens represented the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of a fatal crash and 57 percent of those killed were the teen drivers themselves.

“Despite increased awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, the epidemic shows few signs of slowing down,” said John Donohue, chairman, president and CEO of the Arbella Insurance Group, and chairman and president of the Arbella Insurance Foundation. “We remain dedicated, for a fifth year, to our mission of educating young drivers on the perils of distracted driving. Distractology is a highly effective tool because it gives drivers a very clear picture of the consequences of a distracted driving crash scenario.”

To date, nearly 10,000 new drivers, meaning those that have been licensed less than three years or have a learner’s permit, have completed the Distractology 101 training. After taking our course, students were 22% less likely to check their phone while driving and 38% less comfortable with the idea of multi-tasking behind the wheel.

“Since 2010, Distractology 101 has played a vital role in educating our communities’ young drivers on the dangers of distracted driving,” said Richard McGrath, president and CEO of McGrath Insurance Group. “Though laws are now in place against distracted driving, education is the real key to making sure drivers make smart decisions behind the wheel. We at McGrath Insurance are proud to host the Distractology tour for our teens in Sturbridge.”

“The Sturbridge Police Department decided to participate in the Distractology 101 program because distracted driving is very dangerous, and tragically, teenagers behind the wheel distracted are most at risk of being in a fatal or serious injury or crash,” said Lt. Earl Dessert. “We hope that by hosting the Distractology 101 it will educate our young drivers and open their eyes to how quickly a crash can occur when they are distracted while driving.”

The Distractology driving simulator, based on Arbella-funded research conducted with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, will travel to various communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island during the 2014-2015 school year, 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.

To sign up for the free Distractology 101 training, contact the Sturbridge Police Department at 508-347-2525 x318.

About the Arbella Insurance Group and the Arbella Insurance Foundation

Established in 1988, the Arbella Insurance Group (www.arbella.com) is a company with over $700M in revenue with approximately $1.3B 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 McGrath Insurance Group

McGrath Insurance Group, Inc. of Sturbridge, Mass. (www.mcgrathinsurance.com) is a full-service, independent insurance agency that provides business insurance, personal insurance, life insurance, employee benefits and specialty insurance products to clients throughout New England. Founded in 1927, it is one of the oldest and largest insurance agencies in Central Massachusetts. Our account representatives strive to provide each client with a sense of Freedom from Worry by researching their individual needs, then customizing an insurance plan that fulfills those needs at a competitive, yet affordable price.

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