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How to Avoid Common Home Buyer Mistakes


Family in front of homeYou’ve probably noticed this yourself recently – there are more houses on the market lately. With an increase in consumer confidence, the decrease in unemployment, and a built-up supply and demand, it’s not surprising.


If you find yourself in the market for a new house, here are a few key tips (courtesy of Trusted Choice) on mistakes to avoid in the process.

  Read the rest of this entry »

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Penalties for OUI in MA


drivesober1Today, August 13, you’ll start to see the national campaign on television about driving sober. The message is: if you decide to drink and drive, be assured that the police will see you before you see them and the consequences are serious. This is a concerted effort to raise awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; it’s also a period of increased enforcement by police departments across the country.


Our thinking: it’s not a matter of hoping the police won’t see you when you’re driving after drinking. It’s about KNOWING that if you drink and then get behind the wheel, you’re risking your own life, your friends’ lives, and the lives of everyone on the road around you.  And if you get pulled over, any penalty you receive is richly deserved.


So if you’re not concerned about your own life, and the lives of the people around you… think about fines, potential jail time, and a loss of your license. Here’s an abridged summary of MA OUI laws to think about:


First, how does Massachusetts define OUI?

Massachusetts uses your blood alcohol content (BAC) to determine whether you’re legally driving under the influence.

  • 0.08% or higher―Drivers 21 years old and older operating regular passenger vehicles.
  • 0.04% or higher―Drivers operating commercial vehicles.
  • 0.02% or higher―Drivers younger than 21 years old.


What are the penalties for driving above those BAC limits?

If you’re convicted of Operating Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs, or some other abused chemical substance, your penalties depend largely on the number of offenses you’ve had as well as your entire driving history.

MA OUI Penalties


The above applies to passenger vehicle operators. If you have a commercial driver’s licenses and are convicted of OUI, you face minimum 1-year suspension of license (3 if you are carrying hazardous materials). Second offense means the loss of your commercial license for life. (You probably already lost your job on the first offense.)


 Open Container Law

It’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle with an open container of alcohol anywhere in the vehicle, no matter who’s holding it. Break this law and you face a $100 – $500 fine.


What about the Breathalyzer?

Failed Tests:

  • All Drivers: automatic 30 day suspension, plus any additional time imposed by court
  • 18-21 years old: additional 180 days license suspension and Youth Alcohol Program
  • Under 18: additional one year license suspension and Youth Alcohol Program

There are those who will tell you to refuse to take the Breathalyzer test. Here are the automatic penalties if you decide on to do that.

21 years of age and older:

  • First offense: 180 days.
  • Second offense: 3 years.
  • Third offense: 5 years.
  • Fourth or subsequent offense: Lifetime.

Younger Than 21:

  • First offense: 3 years.
  • Second offense: 3 years.
  • Third offense: 5 years.
  • Fourth or subsequent offense: Lifetime.



Don’t try to figure out if you’re OK to drive if you’ve been drinking…your judgment is impaired. Just make the decision to find another way home. Have a designated driver. If you don’t, take a cab home. If that’s not an option, call a family member or friend to pick you up…or simply stay where you are.

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Do You Know the REAL Signs That Someone Is Drowning?



Think for a moment about how you would know if someone is drowning.

It’s likely that you think about splashing, waving, yelling for help — because that’s the way it’s depicted on television and in the movies.




For very real, physiological reasons, drowning is usually silent, and it can happen in a matter of seconds. Read the rest of this entry »

Before you think about running that red light…


stopredlightHas this happened to you? You’re driving through an intersection; you have a green light. All of a sudden you see a car racing at you from the cross street into the intersection. In a split second, you have to assess all the traffic around you and how (if possible) to avoid being T-boned. Read the rest of this entry »

MA Flood Insurance Bill Signed Into Law



Flood insurance has been front and center in the news throughout the last year or more as a result of new flood maps released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that expand flood plains and reflect higher predicted water elevations, forcing thousands of property owners to start buying flood coverage. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Avoid the “Man-in-the-email” Fraud



The FBI has cautioned businesses about a new fraud scheme nicknamed the “Man in the email”.” The criminals intercept legitimate emails between purchasing and supply companies and then spoof subsequent emails – impersonating each company to the other – and instructing the purchasing company to send payments to a new bank account due to an audit being conducted in their standard bank. Read the rest of this entry »

FAQs on Boat Insurance


photos-boats-marinaWe find that even experienced boaters may not be knowledgeable about boating insurance. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions we encounter every year: Read the rest of this entry »

Fireworks Safety Tips



What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the 4th of July? We’ll bet barbeques, family get-togethers, and fireworks are somewhere on the list.


What you probably don’t think about is that according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission there were an estimated 9,600 fireworks-related injuries during the Fourth of July season in 2011. (another 7,400 in 2013)


The Cushman Insurance Group is based in Massachusetts, and in our state, the sale and use of fireworks (other than by professionals) is illegal. But we also know that residents travel out of state during the holiday to celebrate, or they buy fireworks out of state and use them here illegally (not something we condone.) Given that reality, we offer these fireworks safety tips: Read the rest of this entry »

How to Avoid and Survive Rip Currents


rip-sign4-27-smRip currents are horizontal currents. They don’t pull people under the water; they pull people away from shore.

Rip currents account for 80% of all beach rescues and over 100 deaths every year in the United States. Those drownings may be due to any combination of fear, panic, exhaustion, or lack of swimming skills.

There are a basic things you should know to (a) avoid finding yourself in a rip current and (b) surviving if it should happen to you: Read the rest of this entry »

How to Prevent Slips and Falls in Your Home


slip-and-tripIt’s NATIONAL HOME SAFETY MONTH. And as were were thinking about that, we were actually surprised to learn that FALLS are the second leading cause of accidental death. (Only automobile accidents exceed its rate of accidental death.)

  • Each year an estimated 424 000 individuals die from falls globally.
  • Adults older than 65 suffer the greatest number of fatal falls. Young children are the next most affected group.
  • Each year 37.3 million falls that are severe enough to require medical attention.

Read the rest of this entry »