Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

We assume that when someone’s conduct behind the wheel is so egregious they receive a “lifetime driving ban” that it means just that – they’ll no longer be able to lawfully drive. It turns out that it’s not so in Maine. car keys

This was highlighted in a recent case out of Fairfield. There, a man previously from Skowhegan was convicted of drunk driving for a 1996 crash that killed three people and injured two others. For this crime, as part of his sentence, the judge imposed a lifelong ban on his driving privileges. That should have been the end of the story, but as it turns out, there is a loophole in Maine law. If a person’s driver’s license has been “permanently” revoked, they are still allowed to petition the court for reinstatement of that license if 10 years have passed since they were released from prison.

After this case was highlighted by the Press Herald, two lawmakers from central Maine who are members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee vowed to introduce a bill that would scrap that section of the law. In an interview, they noted it was “upsetting” that the word “permanent” doesn’t actually mean that under state law. They say there should be no chance for a driver like this one to appeal years after a judge ruled they should never be allowed to drive again.

Continue reading

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics reveals that 43 percent of children killed in car accidents were not wearing a seat belt or buckled in properly to a car seat. Among children involved in a fatal crash in which someone died (not necessarily them), 20 percent were not properly buckled. cihld in car

Rates of child fatality varied significantly from state to state, which underscores the argument that public information and state regulations can potentially have a direct impact on motor vehicle safety for children. For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that seat belt usage tends to be higher for all kids in states that have tighter seat belt laws and enforcement.

In Maine, Maine Rev. Stat. Ch. 19, 1-2801 requires that children under 40 pounds be properly secured in a child safety seat in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction. The fine is $50 for a first-time offense and cannot be suspended by the court. Passengers under the age of 18 have to be wearing seat belts, and here again, the fine is $50 for a first-time offense.

Continue reading

Very often, when we hear of vehicles “crossing the center line” in traffic, the cause is distracted driving. This action is especially dangerous because it’s the catalyst for head-on collisions. These collisions have some of the worst outcomes because the force of the impact is doubled due to the traveling speed of both vehicles. That’s why head-on collisions account for 10 percent of all auto accident deaths, even though they account for just two percent of crashes. It’s believed the percentage of head-on collisions may even be increasing due to the rising impact of distraction. distracted driving

Two fatal car accidents in Maine recently were head-on collisions. Although investigations are ongoing and authorities haven’t yet cited causation, it would not be a stretch to imagine distraction may have played a role, particularly given a new study by Zendrive that found drivers use their phones in 88 out of 100 trips.

Continue reading

The loss of a child is a profound and devastating loss that leaves parents, siblings, and other loved ones forever changed. It can be particularly traumatizing when the death occurs suddenly and unnecessarily, such as in a car accident.car accident

Motor vehicle crashes remain one of the top causes of childhood mortality and serious injuries, and new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows they are on the rise nationally.

Just recently, a nine-year-old Maine boy died after suffering severe traumatic brain injuries in a car accident on Interstate 95 that closed the highway for hours. The boy, from Kittery, was killed in the Connecticut crash while seated in the back of a Toyota Camry, seat belt fastened. According to the Bangor Daily News, the driver of his vehicle had to stop abruptly due to a sudden slowdown in traffic up ahead. The 29-year-old driver of a sport utility vehicle directly behind them slammed into the back of the car and then pushed it into the vehicle ahead. The driver who rear-ended the Camry was also from Maine.

Continue reading

Spring brings a welcome respite for many in Maine who braved a bitter winter and are now looking forward to warmer days ahead. But for drivers, spring also brings what can be an unexpected hazard:  frost heaves.car accident

These are an uplift of water-soaked soil or other surface deposits that rise up due to expansion and freezing. In some cases, the rise can be so dramatic that it breaks through the pavement of the road, creating a major risk for drivers. Maine residents have given the road features many monikers:  asphalt crevasses, nature’s speed bumps, chuck holes, and paved divots. Although they regularly appear every spring season, they can still catch operators by surprise.

Continue reading

A mother and her three-year-old son lost their lives recently in New Portland after the mother failed to stop at a traffic sign and was struck by a school bus, officials say.

The 36-year-old mother and her young child were pronounced dead at the scene at an intersection on U.S. Route 2, shortly before 10 p.m. The bus was carrying a large group of students back from an earlier function. The students aboard the bus, while shaken, were not injured. Authorities were still investigating details, including possible contributing factors. Investigators say all they know for sure is the driver failed to stop at the stop sign. The intersection reportedly isn’t one known for crashes, and the speed limit is 55 mph, according to the Portland Press-Herald.school bus

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released figures from a decades-long analysis of school bus and school transportation-related crashes nationally. What they discovered was that from 2006 to 2015, there were 1,172 school transportation-related accidents. That amounts to 0.4 percent of the total fatal crashes, which numbered nearly 325,000.

Continue reading

A judge has ordered a Maine man who crashed his vehicle in New Hampshire while high on heroin last summer to undergo a three-month drug rehabilitation program.heroin

Newburyport News reports the 24-year-old was removed from his smoking vehicle by a retired firefighter who happened to pass by after he had crashed into a cluster of trees. The driver suddenly awoke and told the good Samaritan he was fine, but the retired firefighter believed otherwise and summoned help. First responders found the man unconscious and not breathing so they administered an anti-opioid drug called Narcan to the driver. After he was stabilized, he was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The story highlights what has been a growing problem nationally not just for health care providers and law enforcement, but for those who share the road with people under the influence. USA Today reported last year on federal data pointing to an alarming uptick in the percentage of traffic deaths attributed to drivers who tested positive for drugs over the last 10 years. There has been an overall upward trend in traffic fatalities in recent years, but the fact that the percentage of drivers testing positive for illicit and prescription drugs has increased points to this being a substantial part of the problem.  Continue reading

A man who was allegedly drunk and speeding crossed the center line of a Maine roadway last month and crashed his car, killing a 38-year-old woman and inflicting severe traumatic brain injuries and neck injuries on her 16-year-old daughter. Authorities found cocaine and marijuana present in his system at the time of the deadly drunk driving crash. highway

While he awaits trial on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault, and aggravated criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants, a Superior Court judge granted a motion for a $2 million attachment on his home and assets. The 28-year-old accused is out of jail on $10,000 bond and currently living in the home, valued at $236,000. If he is convicted on the criminal charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison, plus $50,000 in fines – and that is just on the manslaughter charges.

Meanwhile, as the 16-year-old girl slowly works her way toward recovery and completion of basic self-care tasks, her medical bills have ballooned to more than $153,000 – and are likely to continue climbing throughout the course of her rehabilitation. That’s why the girl’s father – and the widower of the decedent – filed a motion for an attachment on the defendant’s house and other property.

Continue reading

Two people were killed – one a child – and three seriously injured in a Maine car accident believed to have been weather-related. snowy highway

The Portland Press-Herald reported the Monday morning crash instantly killed a 45-year-old man and critically injured his fifth-grade daughter, who died two days later. The accident also seriously injured two other children and the girl’s mother. All three children involved in the crash attended Narragansett School in the Gorham School Department, just west of Portland. The newspaper reported the father was a passenger in a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by his wife when she lost control of the vehicle on a road slicked with snow and ice. The Jeep skidded sideways and was then broadsided by a dump truck, which then pushed the Jeep into a telephone pole. The three girls were seated in the back seat of the vehicle, one in a child car seat. There was so much damage to the Jeep that firefighters had no choice but to cut the doors off to pry the victims out. Of the two girls who survived, one suffered a broken hip and the other several broken bones. The driver and mother sustained severe internal injuries, hospital administrators reported. The driver of the dump truck was not injured.

Maine of course is no stranger to snow and ice, but no matter how many times drivers brave it on the roads, it’s still just as lethal. Investigators are still combing through the circumstances, but the Gorham police chief told the Press-Herald that it was safe to say speed was likely a factor in the collision. However, he added that if this had been a dry roadway at the time of the incident, “this accident would not have happened.”

Continue reading

There are many challenges drivers face as they age. Vision deteriorates and reflexes dull. That’s why many states – including Maine – have provisions in place requiring senior drivers to undergo additional testing and in-person renewals.older people

The Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles is one of the more stringent. Drivers are first required to undergo a vision test at age 40 in order to renew their license. Drivers older than 65 have to renew their state-issued licenses every four years, as opposed to every six years, as younger drivers do. Drivers 62 and older are required to undergo a vision test every second renewal. The bureau also accepts requests from anyone with personal knowledge of a driver who may pose a safety concern to others. Road tests may be required if the bureau has reason to believe the driver may be unfit. Bureau personnel have the authority to restrict the driver’s licenses of elder drivers to prevent them from driving when it’s dark or only allow driving within a certain area.

As the population ages (the U.S. Census opines the percentage of the over-65 population will more than double by 2050), states are not rushing to impose additional regulations. In fact, some state legislatures have actually been actively rejecting these measures, according to a recent report published by the Portland Press-Herald. In fact, while 60 million older adults are expected to be on the nation’s roadways by 2030, some legislators are taking the position that licenses should not be restricted solely on the basis of age.

Continue reading