Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Accidents

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.

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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. 

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. 

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.

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.

  • 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.

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.

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.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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Our teens are gearing up for prom and graduation season and they’re looking forward to closing out their high school career. What they might not be thinking too much about is their safety on our roadways — especially with the dangers of drinking and driving.Our teens may not be able to legally purchase or consume alcohol, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t or they won’t. That’s why officials with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are here to help parents and guardians to get the conversation started about safe driving and a safe prom and graduation season. It’s all a part of April’s Alcohol Awareness Month.

Our Portland accident lawyers understand that the number one cause of death for teens across the country is car accidents. USA TODAY reports that compared with a sober driver of the same age, a driver 16 to 20 years old with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent is estimated to be more than 30 times as likely to die in a single-vehicle crash and close to 15 times as likely to be in a crash in which someone else dies.

One of the most beneficial things you can do to help to keep your teen safe, aside from talking with them regularly about roadway dangers, is to make sure you know where your teen is and who they’re with. You want to make sure you have household rules, limits and consequences for breaking these regulations. Consider talking to the parents of your teen’s friends to make sure that everyone is one the same page. You need to know what your teen does after school, at night, and on weekends and with whom they’re doing it.

It all boils down to the fact that our young ones can be reckless and impulsive. Even smart teens with a good head on their shoulders will sometimes make impulsive, poor choices. Peer pressure can overcome their good sense. That’s why it’s important to talk with your teen about different situations that they may find themselves in through prom and graduation season. Talk with them about peer pressure and how to get out of drinking without losing their cool. Practice these conversations with your teen. You’re going to want to help to make sure that they’re prepared for every situation that high school can throw at them.

Lastly, you want to make sure that you’re setting a good example for the young drivers in your family. Sometimes as parents we underestimate the importance of the example we set for our kids and think it doesn’t matter much. But there is good evidence that it does matter. With your help, we can keep our teens safe out there, through graduation and beyond.

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It has been well established that a driver who is drunk is not a very good driver. Drunk drivers have impaired reflexes that make them unable to react effectively behind the wheel.

Blurred vision and impaired faculties can make a drunk driver swerve or go into the wrong lane, and a driver who is intoxicated may also be more likely to fall asleep at the wheel since alcohol is a depressant.

Obviously, a driver with a very high blood-alcohol content will be the most seriously impaired and will present the greatest danger. However, our Bangor drunk driving accident lawyers know that a driver who has had just one too many is also dangerous.

Many drivers who get behind the wheel drunk aren’t completely intoxicated but are just over the line and don’t realize that they are too drunk to drive. According to MSN Autos, a new app can now provide a method of testing BAC on a smartphone, which will hopefully help to ensure that drivers realize when they have had too much to drink and aren’t safe behind the wheel.

New App May Prevent Drunk Driving Crashes
The new app that aims to curb drunk driving crashes is called Breathometer. Made by a California start-up company, the app works in conjunction with a small device that plugs into the headphone jack on your smartphone. You can blow into the device that is plugged into the headphone jack and the app will tell you whether you are over-the-limit.

If you have had too much to drink, the app will provide you with useful information that can help you to get home without driving drunk. For example, the app will provide information on taxi cabs and other local transportation that you can take advantage of instead of getting in your car.

The idea behind the Breathometer is that many people routinely take their smartphones out with them when they go out drinking. Provided the app is installed and the device is hooked into the phone, those who are out at bars, parties or restaurants will thus always have access to a method of testing their blood alcohol content. Those who are concerned they may have had too much to drink can find out conclusively if they are over the limit and if they’d be driving drunk if they drove home.

Checking Your BAC On the Go
The California start-up is currently working to get their product off the ground and to make it available on a widespread basis. They are seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and they are seeking crowdsource funding in order to produce the product for sale. Those who pledge $20 will receive a Breathometer device while those who make a pledge of $500 will receive a lifetime upgrade for all future products.

Until the product becomes available for all to buy, however, there are existing devices on the market that people can use to perform a BAC test when they are out. For around $30, you can buy a device that fits on your keychain and that will allow you to take the smart step of ensuring you aren’t a drunk driver before heading into your car.

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