Deluge of Maine Pedestrian Accident Injuries and Deaths are Cause for Deep Concern

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.

While walkers have faced such risks for many years, the evidence suggests the risks have reached epidemic levels, particularly in urban areas where adequate infrastructure like streetlights, sidewalks and crosswalks have not kept up with demand.

Factors in Maine Pedestrian Accident Deaths

Although Maine doesn’t rank among states with the highest number of these incidents, Portland pedestrian accident attorneys know that is primarily because we do not have the population of states like Florida, California, Texas and Arizona.

Population increases in some states are cited as another factor in the uptick of pedestrian crashes. Maine’s population is expected to increase by about 1 percent over the next decade. That does not sound like much, but it is ultimately going to mean thousands more vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians and other users sharing the roads.

The bigger issue is we have spent decades designing and building roadways for the movement of motor vehicles – not people. Pointing the finger at jaywalkers overlooks the infrastructure shortfalls. Frequently, pedestrians have to walk several blocks just to find a crosswalk, sometimes in the opposite direction and too often along roads with no sidewalks.

Meanwhile, sales of light trucks and sport utility vehicles have far outpaced smaller cars over the last few years. The larger the vehicle involved in a pedestrian accident, the worse the crash injuries and the greater the risk of fatality. Add smartphones and other distractions to the list, and it is little wonder we are seeing an increase in risks of serious and fatal pedestrian accidents.

If you are struck by a vehicle while walking in Maine, you may be entitled to pursue damages from one or more at-fault parties. Our injury lawyers can help you determine your legal rights.

Contact Portland pedestrian accident attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.