Deadly Teen Crash in Maine Has Investigators Searching for Clues

Sheriff’s deputies in Warren know this much: An 18-year-old driver’s pickup truck crossed the center line of Route 1 shortly before 7:30 a.m., slamming head-on into a sport utility vehicle driven by a 38-year-old woman.

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The SUV driver was killed instantly. Her 18-year-old son and his 18-year-old girlfriend were seriously injured.

The driver of the pickup? Investigators say he was also seriously hurt, and has no recollection of the crash. Authorities have concluded texting did not play a role, but they aren’t sure what did. Given that it was so early in the morning on a weekday, alcohol wasn’t likely involved either, but toxicity reports are still pending.

Our Bangor car accident lawyers can’t speculate on the details of this crash, but what we can say is that teens in general are more prone to crashes than any other group of drivers, and it comes down to one factor: Inexperience.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention report that in 2010, some 2,700 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes. People between the ages of 15 to 24 only represent about 14 percent of the population in this country, and yet they account for 30 percent of the total costs for motor vehicle injuries.

Teen drivers are also responsible for a disproportionate number of fatalities to other motorists, and again, it all comes back to the inexperience.

That’s part of the reason that states across the country began to enact tougher teen driving laws in the mid-1990s. Most of these measures delay the amount of time a teen must wait before earning a learner’s permit until age 16, and then from there require 30 to 50 hours of supervised driving before they are eligible for a license. These are called graduated driver’s license laws.

In Maine, LD 1392, a new law that went into effect last October was heavily criticized because many said it would hamper new drivers, whose parents didn’t have the time to offer the supervision required to obtain a license. The law passed anyway, doubling the amount of required daytime supervised driving from 35 hours to 70 hours and nighttime supervised hours from five to 10. The law also mandated that the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles would henceforth be the only authority to issue learner’s permits, effectively removing permit issuance from driver’s education schools.

Maine has a three-step graduated driver’s license system, under which any driver under the age of 18 has an intermediate license. With this license, they are restricted from carrying any passengers other than immediate family members unless they are accompanied by another licensed driver who is over 21. They are also forbidden from operating between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., and they can’t talk on a cell phone while driving either.

All of these measures are geared toward targeting the issue of inexperience among teen drivers. But as this recent case in Warren shows, the risks remain.

If you are the victim of a Bangor car accident, contact us at 1-800-804-2004 or read more on our website.

Additional Resources:
Police: Teen driver has no recollection of fatal head-on crash on Route 1 in Warren, March 24, 2014, By Stephen Betts, Bangor Daily News

More Blog Entries:
Maine Snowmobile Accidents Spur State Warden’s Warning, Feb. 22, 2014, Bangor Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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