Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Accidents

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Maine, since it jeopardizes the safety and well-being of everyone on the road. It is true that the number of alcohol-fueled crashes has slid slightly in recent years, while the number of drug-related accidents has spiked, driven largely by the rising use of illicit and prescription opioids and the increasing availability of legal marijuana.drugs

Still, as Maine Public Radio reports, people shouldn’t think this means alcohol use is no longer a serious issue on our roads.

Recently, the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report on the issue of drug-impaired driving. Drawing from the most recent 2015 data of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the GHSA revealed drugs were present in 43 percent of all fatally injured drivers with known test results (which were 57 percent of the total). Meanwhile, alcohol was present in 37 percent of those cases. A roadside survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2014 found 22 percent of motorists on weekend nights and days were under the influence of drugs, most often marijuana. In solely looking at the headlines, one might think drugs are responsible for more traffic fatalities than alcohol. That’s actually not what the report says.

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Police in Waterville issued dozens of court summonses for underage drinking after responding to a call of a late-night party off-campus where people were smashing beer bottles in the street. Authorities got there around 1 a.m. and discovered two men on the street who conceded they had been drinking, even though they were under the age of 21. They pointed officers to the home where they had consumed the alcohol. beer

When officers went to the home, they discovered the renters, six college students, had thrown a party that reportedly involved lots of underage drinking. Three of the renters, all 21, were charged with the Class D misdemeanor of allowing minors to drink alcohol, according to CentralMaine.com. Each is facing a fine of a mandatory $1,000 fine if any of the drinkers was under 18. Meanwhile, dozens of other youths were charged with the civil violation of underage drinking and face fines of between $200 and $400 for a first-time offense.

Although this incident did not lead to any underage drinking and driving, it’s not a stretch to think that one of those teens was planning to get behind the wheel of a car that night. Perhaps the police intervention thwarted that. But if they had gotten into a car and if they had been in an accident that caused someone else injuries, who would be liable?

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Drunk driving in Maine causes more wrongful deaths than any type of violent crime. In 2014, law enforcement officials reported 25 people died by homicide, while 50 died in drunk driving accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s double. Impaired driving accounts for more than a third of all motor vehicle fatalities in this state. What’s more, the problem appears to be getting worse. The number of operating under the influence deaths in Maine spiked from 44 to 50 in a single year – an increase of nearly 14 percent. Many hundreds more are injured.beers

We saw it once again in the community of Strong, about 1.5 hours from Bangor. According to the Kennebec Journal, police are reporting a fiery, head-on collision that killed one driver, injured two passengers, and sent another motorist to a Farmington jail on an OUI charge – a class B felony for operating under the influence resulting in death.

The collision was reported at around 7:45 p.m. on a recent Tuesday, when authorities received a call about a traffic accident and possible entrapment on Lambert Hill Road. Authorities arrived to discover two pickup trucks that had collided head-on and were both in flames. The allegedly drunk driver, 24, managed to escape his vehicle, as did his two passengers, although they were injured. However, the driver and sole occupant of the other truck was not able to get out. Fire officials were only able to retrieve his body once they had extinguished the flames.

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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

Drunk driving accidents and the devastating injuries and deaths they cause are 100 percent preventable. gravelroad1

Maine legislators believe this as well, which is why criminal penalties for causing an accident while drunk are severe – especially if someone is seriously hurt or killed. Maine Revised Statute 29-A, Section 2411 spells out  penalties for OUI offenses, aggravating factors and penalties. Generally, if you are in an accident that results in a major injury or death, you will be facing a felony and a long-term license suspension.

But how does that help the victims, whose lives have been irreparably affected? Other than ensuring the at-fault driver is off the road, it really doesn’t. The only way to recover damages is to pursue a claim for damages against the driver (and by proxy his insurance company). If the driver doesn’t have insurance or the coverage is paltry, victims may recover through their own uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage policy. Continue reading

The 23-year-old man was allegedly driving so drunk, his blood-alcohol level was 0.21 – nearly three times the legal limit for a driver of legal drinking age – when he crashed his vehicle, killing one of his passengers and critically injuring another.booze

That crash occurred on Annis Road in Bangor in June. Now, the driver has been indicted on charges of manslaughter and aggravated operating under the influence.

The decedent was a 20-year-old from Hermon. Another 20-year-old, a female also from Hermon, was seriously injured in the single-vehicle crash, as was defendant driver. At defendant’s first court appearance in late July, defendant’s bail was set at $20,000 cash. He was released later that day after that bail was posted. Now, he faces up to 40 years in prison on all charges, plus fines of up to $70,000. He may also lose his license for six years. The terms and conditions of the bail require he have no contact with any of the witnesses or victims, and he’s also not allowed to consume alcohol or drugs for which he does not have a prescription. He must undergo drug testing and abide by an 8 p.m. curfew.

However, none of that brings back the life of the man lost. None of that helps the surviving victim recover from her injuries. Continue reading

Impaired drivers in Maine have been wreaking havoc on our roads, causing property damage, serious injury and the loss of innocent victims.anger

  • In Lincolnville, a 31-year-old crossed the center line and struck an oncoming vehicle, driven by a 58-year-old woman. The man was ejected from his vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene, while the woman was rushed to the hospital with injuries. Police suspect the younger driver was speeding and drunk.
  • In Litchfield, a woman was arrested for her fourth DUI after she crashed her vehicle with her son inside. Authorities say her 4-year-old son was inside when she careened into a cluster of trees. Emergency workers had to use a chainsaw to free them. She has 13 prior license suspensions on her record.

Law enforcement agencies have long struggled with the issue of drunk driving. The approaches have been varied, ranging from the initiation of sobriety checkpoints to enhanced patrols to even teaming up with bars, restaurants and advocacy groups to raise awareness and offer alternative transportation. light3

Now, a new study indicates increased traffic enforcement appears to be the best way to stop impaired drivers.

As reported by Maine Public Broadcasting, the study by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation was published in the online journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

On Thanksgiving morning, a man in Bangor had to be extracted from his vehicle by firefighters using the jaws of life. The painstaking recovery occurred as the 32-year-old was leaving a nearby restaurant close to 1 a.m. on Bangor Mall Boulevard. The snow was wet and heavy, and it was the second major storm since winter season has taken hold. beerhand

Officials say the vehicle was so badly damaged, there was no way to get to the seriously injured man except with heavy equipment. Although details of exactly how the crash occurred haven’t yet been released, we do know it was a newer-model vehicle that took a sharp turn, struck a stone and flipped onto its side.

The driver, who suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, has been charged with operating under the influence. It’s believed he previously consumed alcohol or drugs or possibly both before getting behind the wheel. It was the only serious accident to reportedly occur in city limits amidst the storm.

A local man, who reportedly slammed into a parked vehicle, is now facing some serious charges. According to The Bangor Daily News, the accident happened on Broadway near the John Bapst Memorial High School just after midnight.
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When officers arrived at the scene of the accident, the driver was gone but they were able to find him shortly after, hiding under a porch on Penobscot Street. The porch he was hiding under was the porch of his own home. He has been charged with drunk driving as well as leaving the scene of an accident.

Our Portland drunk driving accident lawyers understand that there are thousands killed each and every year in the U. . in drunk driving crashes. These accidents are completely preventable, yet they continue to account for more than 30 percent of all of the traffic fatalities we observe each and every year.

It’s pretty black and white. In Maine, if you are driving a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or more, you are guilty of a criminal offense known as Operating Under the Influence (OUI), according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. If you’re under the age of 21, you are not allowed to have any alcohol in your system when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Officers practice a strict zero tolerance policy with this one.

And not only do you want to stay out from behind the wheel when you’ve been drinking because you could wind up in a potentially fatal accident, but you also run the risk of landing in jail with a charge that can cost you roughly $7,000.

According to MSN Money, the costs associated with this charge come from court fees and fines, OUI classes, driver’s license fees, attorney fees, increase insurance rates, ignition interlocks and various other costs.

It’s a headache you should just want to avoid. You’ll have to take days off of work to appear in court. You might end up serving jail time. You’ll have to dish out cash for the court’s time. You’ll have to take alcohol-related courses. You could get slapped with a costly ignition interlock. You could end up paying a lot to get your license reinstated. You’re going to have to pay more for car insurance because companies now see you as a risk.

Just for a first offense, you’re looking at 30 days behind bars, a license suspension for 90 days and a fine of $500. In addition to all of these costs, you could lose your job and even be skipped over for new job opportunities. A drunk driving conviction doesn’t look good on anyone’s record.

These are risks that anyone and everyone should want to avoid. Stay safe and stay sober behind the wheel to avoid a whole heap of problems this summer.

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