Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

The recent injury of a Sanford girl in a UTV accident highlights the risk of these and other all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) as we head into autumn.About 500 people a year are killed in ATV accidents, according to federal statistics, and more than 100,000 are injured seriously enough to seek treatment in hospital emergency rooms. About 25 percent of victims are under 16 years of age. In all, nearly 15,000 riders have been fatally injured since ATVs became popular in the 1980s.

CBS13 reports hundreds participated in a Sanford fundraiser for the 8-year-old girl, who broke her neck and jaw and suffered numerous skull fractures after falling from her UTV. The local Maine ATV Club sponsored the event.

Autumn is the most dangerous time of year for accidents involving utility and all-terrain vehicles for various reasons. Experience and familiarity bring more aggressive riding, often on newer, larger, and more powerful ATVs. The ground is hard, and vegetation is reaching maximum growth, which reduces visibility and creates hazards of its own.

Construction at a busy downtown Bangor intersection has proven stressful to motorists and has authorities preaching caution through the remainder of summer road-construction season.

The downtown work to replace Civl War era drainage and sewer lines began in April and is expected to last through the remainder of the year. The project has narrowed Exchange, State, Harlow and Hammond streets to one lane, and temporarily reconfigured Park Street to one-way travel.

Summer is prime time for road construction throughout Maine, as crews work to improve infrastructure and repair winter road damage. As of mid-July, the Maine Department of Transportation lists 360 road construction projects in progress throughout the state.

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Hit-and-run accidents in Maine (and nationwide) are a rapidly rising concern, highlighted by an alarming new report indicating hit-and-run deaths have a record-high nationally. 

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that in a single recent year, there were 737,000 total hit-and-run crashes tallied with 2,049 deaths. Both of these figures are the most ever recorded since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began recording in 1975. Hit-and-run crashes account for 12 percent of the total crashes in the U.S., 7 percent of all injuries and 5.5 percent of all car accident deaths.

In Maine, there were a total of seven hit-and-run crashes resulted in death recorded that year. On one hand, that’s one of the lowest figures of fatal hit-and-runs in the country. However, the data is presented in raw numbers, failing to factor in population. Beyond that, those seven crashes amounted to a 75 percent year-over-year increase and the highest reported in the last decade. We had four straight years in that time with zero hit-and-run crash deaths, and the year before that, there one deadly hit-and-run crash.  Continue reading

News Center Maine reports a record 47 million people are expected to travel over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. A record deadly start to summer has authorities moving on a number of fronts to improve road safety and reduce the risk of Maine car accidents.

Motorists can expect increased road patrols and heavy traffic, but safety advocates are trying to make it not all doom and gloom. The Maine Department of Transportation is using the results of a funny sign contest to get motorists’ attention by using humorous signs with serious messages. Bangor Daily News reported winning messages that will appear on the state’s network of digital highway signs include “Put Down UR Cell — Or You May End Up In One,” and “Be Protected — Not Projected – Buckle Up.”

As our car accident lawyers in Bangor and Portland reported recently on our Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, improper passing was blamed for the state’s deadliest crash in three years, after four people were killed and four others seriously injured. The crash is being blamed on improper passing on Route 4 in Berwick.

Four people have died after a head-on collision on Route 4 in Berwick. It’s the deadliest Maine car accident in more than three years.

Three died at the scene, and another died at the hospital. Four others were hospitalized with serious injuries. It was one of four deadly accidents on Maine roads last weekend.

The Boston Globe reported that a 2014 Ford Explorer was struck head-on by a 1994 Honda Civic, after the Honda driver lost control while trying to make an improper pass. The Honda’s driver and two passengers were killed, including a seven-year-old North Berwick boy. A 73-year-old Wells woman was also killed. She had been a passenger in the Ford.

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Amid media coverage of prom, spring high school sports, and graduation season, we have started to see more tragic coverage of fatal auto accidents.

A Litchfield man was killed in a Presque Isle motorcycle crash; a Maine East High School teenager was killed in a single-vehicle accident; several turnpike accidents caused injuries and lengthy delays; and Maine’s governor said he will need surgery after a bicycle accident, while noting a helmet likely saved his life.

Maine Travel & Summer Car Accident Risks

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety is reminding motorists to obey the state’s Move Over Law, after a trooper’s dash-cam video recorded a truck side-swiping a motorist stopped by Maine State Police.You can view the video at the Boston Globe. The officer had been standing alongside the motorist’s vehicle in the moments before it was struck by a box truck, and he likely would have been very seriously injured or killed. Authorities report the at-fault truck driver told police he was looking at his phone.

Maine’s Move Over Law (Title 29-A §2054-9) was passed in 2001 and requires motorists approaching stopped emergency vehicles to slow down and pull over to the lane furthest from the traffic stop (whenever possible). Emergency vehicles under the law are defined as law enforcement, fire department vehicles, or ambulances. Wreckers were added to the law in 2007. The law provides for a minimum fine of $311.

As the weather begins to clear, people will be traveling more frequently, increasing the risks for our law enforcement and safety service professionals. In the past month, a North Carolina trooper was struck by a distracted driver, and two troopers and two tow truck drivers were injured after an incident in New York.

A number of legal questions are being raised by the death of an Arizona pedestrian, who was struck earlier this month by a self-driving Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona.It is the first death in the country involving a self-driving vehicle, and the Insurance Journal reports legal liability in the case is being closely watched. It could raise issues relevant to Maine car accident victims as well.

The self-driving SUV was operating in autonomous mode under the supervision of a safety driver when the Volvo XC90 struck and killed a 49-year-old woman walking her bicycle outside a crosswalk on a four-lane road, according to police. The incident has been caught on videotape.

Liability in Ride-Sharing Accidents in Maine

An increasing number of motorists are driving without insurance, according to an article published this month in the Insurance Journal.

Nationwide, the Insurance Research Council estimates 13 percent of all U.S. motorists were uninsured in 2015, up slightly from 2010 following a number of years of decline. Maine reported about 5 percent of all motorists are on the road without insurance, which put it ahead of other states. But motorists in Maine still remain at substantial risk of uninsured motorist accidents — in part because poor driving records have often left such motorists without either a driver’s license or liability insurance. 

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Maine

The Maine Department of Transportation is releasing a new Strategic Highway Safety Plan in response to an increasing number of traffic fatalities.

MDOT reports about 33,000 Maine car crashes a year with about 150 traffic deaths. The improving economy and low gas prices were both cited as factors in the increase. Still, motorists are urged to do their part.

“Crashes are not accidents,” said Highway Safety Director Lauren Stewart.

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