Funny Signs, Serious Messages, as Maine Battles Deadly Start to Summer

News Center Maine reports a record 47 million people are expected to travel over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. A record deadly start to summer has authorities moving on a number of fronts to improve road safety and reduce the risk of Maine car accidents.

Motorists can expect increased road patrols and heavy traffic, but safety advocates are trying to make it not all doom and gloom. The Maine Department of Transportation is using the results of a funny sign contest to get motorists’ attention by using humorous signs with serious messages. Bangor Daily News reported winning messages that will appear on the state’s network of digital highway signs include “Put Down UR Cell — Or You May End Up In One,” and “Be Protected — Not Projected – Buckle Up.”

As our car accident lawyers in Bangor and Portland reported recently on our Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, improper passing was blamed for the state’s deadliest crash in three years, after four people were killed and four others seriously injured. The crash is being blamed on improper passing on Route 4 in Berwick.

Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates 19 of every 20 traffic collisions (94 percent) are caused by driver error. These are not accidents but avoidable collisions that too often result in serious or fatal injuries to innocent victims. An experienced personal injury law firm in Maine is the best place to start when it comes to protecting your rights.

Accident victims seeking to make a recovery from an at-fault driver under Maine negligence law must prove 5 elements:  that the defendant owed a duty of care, that the defendant breached that duty, that the breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries, that the defendant’s actions (or inactions) could be reasonably foreseen to have caused the injuries, and that the plaintiff suffered some form of compensable damages, such as medical bills or lost wages.

Young drivers are also a focus of special attention after summer started with a series of serious and fatal teen traffic collisions. Safety advocates refer to the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers. Maine is among the deadliest places in New England for teen drivers, with Cars.com recently reporting Maine is the 15th-safest state for teen drivers, behind Maryland (3rd), Delaware (5th), Connecticut (11th), and Massachusetts (12th).

Seat-belt use will be another focus. News Center Maine recently reported that about half of the 119 people killed on Maine roads in 2016 were not wearing their seat belts. Increased holiday patrols will include the “Click It or Ticket campaign.” Title 29-A Chapter 19 §2081 makes failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense, meaning drivers can be stopped and ticketed.

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety and the Maine Department of Transportation have also launched a campaign targeting motorist-involved pedestrian deaths, in response to a recent spike in deadly incidents:  “Heads Up! Safety is a Two-Way Street.” More than 50 people have been killed in pedestrian accidents in the past three years. MDOT is holding forums in 10 communities, which aim to come up with design solutions to help reduce the risks. These community clusters are Augusta/Hallowell, Bangor/Brewer, Bath/Brunswick, Biddeford/Saco, Camden/Rockland, Lewiston/Auburn, Old Town/Orono, Portland/South Portland, Westbrook/Sanford, and Waterville/Winslow.

If you are a victim of a car accident in Maine, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-490-5218 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Crashes Kill 8 in a Week as Dangerous Travel Season Starts, June 12, 2018, Associated Press

More Blog Entries:

Improper Passing Causes Deadliest Maine Traffic Accident in Three Years, June 15, 2018, Peter Thompson & Associates

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