Drunk driving in Maine is a serious problem that claims innocent lives year after year. A number of initiatives have been taken in recent years with the goal of reducing these tragedies, including tougher penalties on impaired drivers. bud

But much of this focus has glossed over drug-impaired driving, which has become a growing threat as we are realizing a heroin epidemic and are considering the legalization of recreational marijuana.

This issue was raised recently at a Portland summit that involved police, prosecutors, traffic safety experts and others – many of whom argued that greater education is going to be essential.  Continue reading

A truck driver from Tennessee was arrested on aggravated DUI and manslaughter charges in Virginia recently in connection with a fatal Maine truck accident that occurred in March. trucksontheroad1

Authorities told the Portland Press Herald the 53-year-old driver was reportedly hauling lumber in a tractor-trailer on Route 17 in Washington, ME when he veered his semi into oncoming traffic. The tractor-trailer rolled over, lumber was flung all over the roadway and a total of five vehicles were involved.

Two people – a 74-year-old man from Owls Head and a 45-year-old woman from Warren – were declared dead at the scene.  Continue reading

A driver behind the wheel in a car crash that left one person dead and three seriously injured was reportedly traveling at nearly twice the speed limit, police say.speed2

Speeding, of course, is one of the most prevalent contributing factors in auto accidents, with the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reporting the average annual cost of speed-related crashes nationally is more than $40 billion.

Bangor Daily News staffers recently combed through law enforcement analysis of the May 14th crash in Belfast involving a 19-year-old driver and her four young passengers. Continue reading

A Windham woman and her 12-year-old son were seriously injured last month in a Maine car accident in which their vehicle tore through a guardrail on Route 1 in Bath and plunged 30-feet off a two-lane bridge, before landing upside down on a pickup truck. The Portland Press Herald reported the bridge from which the car fell had numerous missing or broken rail bolts. Structurally, it was designed to prevent exactly this sort of thing. But it did not, and those deficiencies may have been a factor. oldbridgeoverroad

The horrific crash now has officials with the Maine Department of Transportation launching an investigation into more than a dozen bridges across the state that may have structural inadequacies or safety concerns.

The 37-year-old woman and her 12-year-old son had to be extricated from the mangled mass of metal by firefighters and were then transported via ambulance to the Maine Medical Center in Portland with serious injuries. Fortunately, the injuries they suffered were not expected to be life-threatening. Continue reading

A Tennessee man is facing charges of manslaughter following a Maine truck accident that resulted in two fatalities in March. Now, the Bangor Daily News has revealed the driver had a safety record that was much worse than the national average. truckforward

This matters, particularly for his civil case, because it could be grounds to assert direct liability – and not just vicarious liability – against the trucking company that employed him. It may also be grounds to seek punitive damages, which could greatly increase the damage award for plaintiffs.

The newspaper reported that the 54-year-old trucker was hired by a carrier based in Tennessee. The company’s owner told a reporter he had no idea the driver’s license had been suspended in Louisiana and revoked in Virginia. At that point, he directed questions about the crash to his attorney, though he failed to provide the contact information for that individual.  Continue reading

It’s been 10 years since Judy Bouchard’s daughter died on I-295 while en route to work from her home. The University of New England graduate was working as a teacher of students with autism.driving

Heather Dawn Bouchard’s phone buzzed. She took the call. It was a client. But she dropped the phone mid-conversation. She unbuckled her seat belt to reach down for it. It was the last thing she ever did. The car crossed over into the median and slammed into a van driven by a local television crew. Heather was ejected from her car and died soon after. Although she was an organ donor, her body had sustained such trauma that none of her organs were fit for use. She was just 24 years-old. The two TV crew members in the van suffered injuries, but survived.

Recently, her mother stood before a group of students at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle. She told them of her heartache that cell phone distraction has caused their family. What the world lost that day. How her daughter would never have driven while on the phone if she knew how greatly her family would suffer for it.

“She didn’t think it could happen to her,” Bouchard told the group gathered at the safety symposium.  Continue reading

A baby girl was killed in a Maine car accident on the state turnpike in Wells. Four other people were injured in the crash, according to The Portland Press Heraldcarseat1

It was about 4 p.m. Heavy rains poured onto the roadway. A 22-year-old woman was at the wheel. The 11-month-old baby girl was in the back seat.

The driver allegedly lost control of the vehicle, slammed into guardrails and then came to rest along the tree line on the southbound side of the turnpike. The girl’s mother, 21, had been in the front passenger seat of the car. She and the driver were transported to the Maine Medical Center in Portland with serious injuries.

Two other children in the vehicle – a 3-year-old girl and a 4-month-old boy – survived with minor injuries. Those two, identified as the offspring of the driver, had been buckled into proper child safety harnesses. The 11-month-old girl had also been buckled into a child safety seat in the back. However, she nonetheless suffered fatal head injuries. She was transported to a local hospital, where she died of her injuries.  Continue reading

The family of a motorcycle accident victim who died after falling six stories from his hospital room window says he was not suicidal. Disoriented? Yes. He was suffering from brain injuries, his daughter said. He wanted to go home. hospitalsign

But the hospital had a duty to make sure he was safe and not a danger to himself.

Determining whether his fatal injuries were the result of general negligence or medical malpractice will be part of what the family’s recently-hired injury lawyer will be exploring.  Continue reading

A rash of Maine car accidents has resulted in teen deaths and injuries across the state. teens

From Bangor to Arundale, authorities say inexperience, speed, alcohol and general carelessness have played a role in each of these tragic crashes.

Among those auto accidents being reported by local media: Continue reading

The surviving husband of a 67-year-old woman who died as a passenger in a Maine car accident has filed a lawsuit to recover damages from the two drivers involved in the wreck. One of those drivers is a young, uninsured motorist who was without a license at the time of the crash. The other is his late wife’s sister. drivefastsaab

Although it may seem unsettling that one would take legal action against a relative, especially one who has likely already suffered such trauma, there is a very practical reason for such action. It has to do with insurance coverage and the fact that the 22-year-old driver who struck the two women didn’t have any.

Meanwhile, decedent and her sister were covered by uninsured motorist (UM) coverage and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. These coverage forms will provide coverage when the at-fault driver(s) either don’t have any insurance or when the insurance available isn’t enough.  Continue reading