Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving in Maine isn’t limited to any one night, but the night of the Super Bowl is known as one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. The festivities this year led to a Maine drunk driving crash in York. A 29-year-old man was arrested for operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor, according to The Bangor Daily News. The incident, in which the driver crashed into three parked cars along Route 1, occurred soon after the Super Bowl ended.

An analysis conducted by Scram Systems (a personal alcohol-monitoring device) found that drunk driving violations by repeat drunk drivers who are court-ordered to stay sober spikes an average of 22 percent on Super Bowl Sunday, compared to typical Sunday violation rates. This was based on data analysis from 530,000 DUI offenders who are on probation or parole and court-ordered to wear the alcohol monitoring bracelets, usually on their ankles.

Violations reportedly spiked the last 9 of 11 Super Bowl Sundays. Not all areas were equally problematic, though. For example, when the Patriots played in 2015, drinking violations in New England soared to two times higher than the rest of the country and more than 100 percent higher than a usual Sunday for that given region. And when the Denver Broncos were in the Super Bowl, Colorado offenders, who comprise 4 percent of the monitored populations, were responsible for 13 percent of the violations on game day. The analysis further discovered it seems as if the winners tend to drink more than the losers. On average, violations among offenders who represented the champions’ fans were approximately 75 percent higher than those whose residences were home to the losing team. Continue reading

New Year’s Eve signals the end of a year, but too often and for too many on Maine roads, it signals the end of life. On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, nearly half of motor vehicle fatalities are attributed to alcohol-impaired drivers, compared to the annual average, which is about 30 percent. That’s according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) – and it doesn’t include the number who survive, but may suffer permanent, disabling injury. Our Portland drunk driving injury attorneys encourage all drivers to be safe and sober this holiday, especially given our state ranks No. 9 for the most drunk driving deaths per 100 million miles traveled.

Complicating matters this year is the fact voters in 2016 approved legalized recreational marijuana sales (now codified in IB 2015, c. 5). Although implementation of the law has moved at a snail’s pace and there is no business yet approved to sell the drug commercially if it’s not for medicinal use, it is legal for one adult to give it to another. (Some marijuana dispensaries in Portland and elsewhere in Maine have used this loophole to “give” away marijuana, yet charge a delivery fee – the legality of which under state law is questionable, as reported by WGME 13.) The bottom line is that more people in Maine – and thus more drivers – may be under the influence of marijuana.

One recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found traffic accidents have risen about 6 percent in states that have legalized recreational marijuana compared to neighboring states that still outlaw the drug. Random roadside tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that about 22 percent of motorists showed evidence of drug use. In Washington state (which, along with Maine, is one of eight that has legalized recreational marijuana), one-fourth of all traffic deaths in 2016 involved drivers who mixed drugs and alcohol – most commonly alcohol with marijuana, the latter of which is known to slow driver reaction times, impair visual perception and blunt cognitive judgment.

Bangor has a new weapon in the fight against drunk driving after the passage of a citywide ordinance that requires servers and sellers of alcohol to undergo training about state laws. WABI TV reports the new ordinance comes after Bangor police recently issued nearly 70 citations for alcohol-related incidents. Police report seven convenience stores sold to minors during a recent enforcement blitz. Six bars permitted minors into the business and then sold them alcohol.

Bangor’s Public Health and Community Services Department reports the new training is aimed at reducing instances of sales to minors or intoxicated patrons.

Maine Drunk Driving Accident Prevention in Focus 

For many, getting into the holiday spirit involves downing holiday spirits. Although most can responsibly enjoy the indulgence, it’s problematic when those who imbibe get behind the wheel

Last year, nearly 800 Americans died in drunk driving crashes just in December alone last year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports nearly one-third of the 37,500 people killed in car accidents in 2016 were involved in crashes were at least one driver had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.

In Maine, there were almost 500 deaths caused by drunk drivers over a recent nine-year stretch. Approximately 1.2 percent of Maine drivers surveyed admitted to driving while too impaired to do so at least once in the last 30 days. The actual number is likely much higher, as these are only self-admitted cases. The Press Herald in Portland reported earlier this year that more than 16,000 drivers in Maine have had four or more OUI convictions since 1980. More than 80,000 drivers in Maine have more than one OUI conviction. Many of these instances happen around the holidays, when people are more likely to be attending parties and gatherings where alcohol is served. Having a plan for transportation before the festivities is the best way to avoid causing a drunk driving accident. Continue reading

The widow of a man killed when he was struck by a drunk driver in Maine on New Year’s Day is suing both the driver and the nightclub that served her alcohol earlier in the night. 

The 30-year-old defendant driver, who was allegedly drunk, had reportedly been consuming alcohol at the Sapphire Nightclub and Event Center in Auburn, ME on New Year’s Eve, 2016. When the defendant driver left the nightclub after 1 a.m., there was snow on the ground, reducing visibility and traction. Her vehicle slammed into the rear of a parked vehicle, out of which the decedent was in the process of exiting. As a result of the impact, the 41-year-old decedent suffered spinal fractures, numerous broken ribs, and a ruptured aortic arch. His injuries proved fatal, though his widow describes him as enduring conscious pain and suffering before he died.

According to the SunJournal.com, the plaintiff alleges the nightclub served the defendant driver numerous alcoholic beverages on the night in question, allowing her to become highly intoxicated and not fit to safely operate a motor vehicle.

A young man in Maine has been indicted on a manslaughter charge following a Maine drunk driving accident that killed one and left another seriously injured. Although civil liability has not been raised at this juncture, our drunk driving accident lawyers know it could well be an issue in the future, given the facts we know so far. 

Many actions for which one might be deemed liable in a civil case are also violations of criminal statutes. While some criminal courts will impose orders of restitution on convicted offenders to be paid to the victim(s), this is separate and apart from civil liability, which should be explored in cases involving serious injuries. For one thing, restitution orders often do not take into account more than medical expenses. Civil liability, meanwhile, will weigh such elements as lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. That means one stands to obtain far more compensation in a civil case. This is also true, particularly in drunk driving accident cases, since there is the possibility of third-party liability under Maine’s Liquor Liability Act. Under this provision, one can be sued for up to $250,000, plus medical expenses, for reckless or negligent conduct in serving liquor to a person who is intoxicated or a minor if the defendant disregards the obvious and substantial risk that serving liquor to that person might cause to the drinker or others.

In this case, according to CentralMaine.com, three young men were drinking together at a local restaurant. The defendant driver was reportedly “the most sober” of the trio, so he was designated as the driver that night. He reportedly skidded 300 feet before careening off the road into the opposite travel lane and striking a tree and then a telephone pole. All three occupants were ejected from the vehicle. One of the passengers died, and the other suffered severe injuries.

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.

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.

Continue reading

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. 

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?

Continue reading

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.

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.

Continue reading

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. 

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

Contact Information