Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

With various stay-at-home and social-distancing measures in place because of COVID-19, many of our neighbors have been spending more time outdoors. Taking an evening or early morning stroll, biking, or running have been popular activities during this time. Of course, more people outdoors also means that motorists need to be more cautious of people crossing streets and in bike lanes. Pedestrians also need to be safe while having fun or enjoying fresh air outdoors, but sometimes Maine pedestrian accidents happen even when all safety precautions are taken.

Based on a report from the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, pedestrian crashes and fatalities in the state have remained consistent over the years. Additionally, based on a recent article, Maine has seen a rise in the number of pedestrian deaths since 2019, leading state authorities to establishing more concrete action items toward eliminating motor vehicle-related fatalities.

In an effort to address this public safety issue, the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety has begun offering grants to law enforcement in communities in the state with higher occurrences of pedestrian crashes. State authorities tasked with addressing the issue have observed various causes for the increase in numbers. Some constituents have reported that motorists driving too fast, going over speed limits. Others have urged local authorities to re-evaluate current speed limits and potentially lower them because these limits have discouraged people from wanting to take a walk or ride a bike because of safety concerns.

A record-breaking number of Maine pedestrian accidents in recent years is vexing traffic safety officials.  Maine Public Radio reported pedestrian accident deaths nationally last year were the highest they had been in 30 years. In Maine, officials recorded a 24-year high in 2017. This year is not shaping up to be any safer.

The biggest factor, as noted by numerous traffic safety officials and our own Portland pedestrian accident lawyers, is distraction. Smartphones are the most ubiquitous example, with the average adult spending four hours daily on their phones. A recent comprehensive data analysis by Zendrive reveals distracted driving is 100 times worse than government data reports. These statistics illustrate the real risks when it comes to walking on Maine roads.

Maine Pedestrian Accident Injuries and Deaths Reported Last Three Months

If recent headlines in the Portland Press-Herald and Lewiston Sun-Journal are any indication, it’s unlikely the trend will ease anytime soon. Among those incidents:

  • In April, a 40-year-old woman was struck and killed in a pedestrian accident reportedly caused by a drunk driver on Yarmouth Road. The 58-year-old driver was arrested. Her 11-year-old daughter was also in the vehicle.
  • A few weeks earlier, a 21-year-old woman walking on Franklin Street was struck by a 23-year-old male driver. The Portland pedestrian accident resulted in serious but not life-threatening injuries.
  • In February, a woman was struck and killed in a Turner pedestrian accident involving a truck on Route 4.
  • Also in February, a 36-year-old woman in Lisbon was struck by a box truck while jogging on Route 196. She told police she tried to jump out of the way when the truck veered toward her, but the vehicle nonetheless knocked her to the ground. Although it was early morning, the woman was wearing an illuminated running vest. The 25-year-old driver reportedly did not stop and is facing criminal charges.

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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

The death of a man in a Maine pedestrian accident is being blamed on an impaired driver who has since been arrested for multiple felonies. The Portland-Press Herald reported the crash happened near the entrance of a Target store, where the victim was reportedly exiting. He was 24 and died at the scene.

The defendant reportedly left the scene of the crash, abandoning her vehicle a few miles away before having a friend pick her up to take her to a nearby residence.

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A Maine woman has reportedly confessed to striking three pedestrians at a bus stop in New Hampshire, resulting in life-threatening injuries to each of those hit. 

According to WGME.com, the three pedestrians had just gotten off a bus stop and were crossing the street when a vehicle approached from a hill and struck all three. Witnesses at a nearby hotel opined the vehicle was traveling at least at the speed limit of 45 mph, if not faster. Two of those struck were a young couple who lived just across the street from where the crash happened. They were all three still in the road when first responders arrived. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene but later turned herself in to local authorities and confessed.

Pedestrian accidents are a serious problem in Maine and elsewhere in the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedestrian fatalities increased by 9.5 percent from 2014 to 2015 (the most recent year for which initial counts are available). That amounted to 466 more deaths in 2015 than the year before, which brought the final tally – 5,376 pedestrian accident deaths – to the highest it’s been since 1996.

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The death of a 13-year-old boy, struck and killed in a crosswalk on his way to school in Lewiston, has devastated a community and raised important questions about the lack of pedestrian safety in Maine. 

Police say the eighth grader was crossing Main Street at Frye Street – in the crosswalk – when he was struck by a driver operating a Ford F-150 pickup truck. The driver of the vehicle, a 54-year-old woman, is reportedly cooperating with authorities. It is believed that after the initial impact, the truck dragged the young boy some distance up the street until the vehicle stopped and the driver discovered the child underneath. The incident occurred at around 7:10 a.m., as the boy was making his way to school.

According to the Maine Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Highway Safety, Cumberland County – including Portland – had by far the most pedestrian accidents of any county in the state over the last several years. Between 2008 and 2012, there were 408 pedestrian accidents in Cumberland County. Comparatively, there were 205 in York, 167 in Androscoggin, 169 in Penobscot, and 111 in Kennebec. In the last decade, there have been between nine and 14 pedestrian fatalities a year in Maine.

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A driver was recently critically injured following a three-car crash that ended with one vehicle slamming into the front of the Gothic building in downtown Belfast, an hour south of Bangor. 

According to The Bangor Daily News, officers believe an older man in a Sedan with Massachusetts plates was speeding down the hill on Maine Street around 1 p.m. when he suddenly crossed into opposing traffic and slammed into a van at a five-way intersection. He then drove straight into a parked vehicle and then into the front of a building. The parked vehicle was also sent flying up over the curb, just in front of the Bangor Savings Bank.

The occupants of that parked vehicle – which included a toddler in his car seat – were not seriously injured.  Continue reading

A number of crashes involving pedestrians have been reported in recent weeks, prompting a reminder from our  pedestrian accident lawyers that motorists must be more cautious of those traversing the roads by foot.

Officials report that a 75-year-old pedestrian in Portland suffered serious injuries after being struck by a vehicle on Forest Avenue. The man was struck as he crossed Forest Avenue by a 26-year-old driver. The crash remains under investigation.

A short time later, a pedestrian accident in Farmington left a 26-year-old jogger wounded after she was struck by a pickup truck driven by a 25-year-old man. Authorities say the pickup truck was likely traveling too fast and began to slide on the icy road. The driver tried to swerve to avoid the jogger, but ended up hitting her anyway before slamming into a snowbank. Wind and freezing rain conditions meant the LifeFlight helicopter was unable to make it to the scene. The victim was driven by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where she was recently upgraded to fair condition.

It was shortly after 5:30 p.m. when a 74-year-old Bangor man was struck by a tractor-trailer as he crossed the street, headed to an early evening Sunday service in Brewer.

The man suffered critical injuries as a result of the impact, which rendered him unconscious, though he continued to breathe and maintained a heartbeat in the immediate aftermath. Large gashes to his head, knees and elbows were visible to first-responders.

It’s accidents like this that Portland officials are looking to combat with a bid for some $10 million in transportation funding for projects to revamp city streets, intersections and pedestrian pathways. These projects would ideally incorporate smart road designs that would make them safer for everyone who travels in the area.

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Officials with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) and the New England Passenger Authority (NNEPRA) will be working together for some research work to develop and test new trespass detection and deterrent technologies. They will be researching high-risk areas along the Amtrak’s Downeaster rail line and the Pan Am Railway in the Brunswick area. Their goal is to find a way to successfully mitigate trespassing in these areas.”Illegal trespassing is the number one cause of rail-related fatalities in the United States,” said Governor Paul R. LePage.

Our Portland railroad accident attorneys understand that the number of pedestrian railroad deaths is on the rise. According to a recent article from St. Louis Today, the number of pedestrian fatalities at railroad tracks increased by more than 25 percent during the first five months of 2013, compared to the same time period in 2012. During this time, in 2013, there were close to 200 fatalities witnessed across the nation, compared to 158 during the same time in 2012.

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