Crosswalks are some of the most dangerous places for pedestrians in Maine cities and towns. Even with safety infrastructure improvements like signaled and raised crosswalks, fatal accidents involving pedestrians at crosswalks are not uncommon in our state. A recent multi-vehicle accident in Augusta that left two pedestrians injured serves as a reminder of the dangers pedestrians encounter, and the importance of holding irresponsible drivers accountable when people get hurt.
According to a local news report discussing the accident, two pedestrians were crossing the street at an intersection using a crosswalk. When the light changed, the pedestrians were still partially in the intersection when a vehicle rear-ended the car that had stopped for the pedestrians. The front vehicle was pushed into the two pedestrians, resulting in injuries requiring emergency assistance and hospitalization. Although the crash remains under investigation, the article does not mention if the drivers involved were cited or charged with any criminal offense or infraction.
Maine drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in a crosswalk. If a pedestrian starts to cross the street and the light changes before they are out of the roadway, drivers must wait and continue to yield the right of way to the pedestrian. If a driver entered an intersection and injures a pedestrian who was crossing the street, that driver could be civilly or criminally responsible for the injuries, even if the traffic light signaling the driver was green at the moment of the collision.