Car accidents in Maine claim hundreds of lives each year. In an effort to better understand the many factors that contribute to these lethal incidents, the Maine Department of Transportation keeps track of crash data, including time, location and cause.
Recently, local news station WCSH6 analyzed the data, which was collected from a three-year time frame from 2012 to 2014. One of the elements reporters zeroed in on was location. As one DOT spokesperson pointed out, this allows traffic safety officials to target areas of particular concern.
In Bangor, the city’s engineer said he uses this information when he receives calls from concerned residents regarding areas they describe as “the worst” for traffic crashes.
From a Bangor injury lawyer standpoint, it’s important to retain this information because it will help us identify whether the city or other government officials were aware of a problematic intersection or curve – and chose not to act.
According to the data, the two worst intersections with the highest crash rates in Bangor between 2012 and 2014 were:
- The Stillwater Avenue intersection, where vehicles from the 1-95 on-and-off ramps intersect with vehicles entering and exiting the Parkade shopping plaza. At that location, there were 43 crashes.
- The intersection of Griffin and Ohio Street. Officials counted 40 crashes at that site.
The report further details that the annual number of crashes over a recent five-year period statewide was nearly 29,000. The annual motor vehicle fatality rate was 150. There were 5.2 deaths for every 100 crashes.
Looking at statewide figures, state highways had the highest number of crashes and fatalities, followed by state aid roads and townways. Toll highways had the lowest number of crashes.
Major urban collector roads had the highest rates, followed closely by local roads and minor arterial roads.
Common causes of concern contributing to Maine car accidents were identified as:
- Lane departure
- Alcohol impairment
- Driver inattention
- Winter weather
- Large trucks
- Youthful and elderly drivers
Fully one-third of Maine crashes between 2004 and 2013 involved rear-end collisions. Another 29 percent involved drivers who veered off the road. Eighteen percent occurred at intersections, and 11 percent involved animals such as deer or moose.
As far as fatalities, half during that time period involved vehicles that went off the road. Another 22 percent involved vehicles that were struck head-on and 10 percent happened at an intersection.
The worst month of the year for crashes in Maine? December and January, with November and February following close behind. This makes sense when you consider the icy, snowy conditions of the road and the holiday travel. The report indicates that snow, slush, ice, frost and water on the roads during these months is a significant contributing factor.
However, the most fatalities occurred in July, which is likely a result of the fact more people are on the road during that month, taking vacations or celebrating the summer holidays.
The worst day for crashes was Friday, with most occurring between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
In looking at figures nationally, the NHTSA reports nearly 33,000 traffic deaths in 2014, and another 2.3 million people injured. The total number of crashes in the U.S. that year was more than 6 million.
If you are the victim of a car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Where do most car accidents happen in Bangor? Maine DOT Knows, Jan. 14, 2016, By Dustin Wlodowski, WCSH6.com
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Insurance Coverage for Intentional Tort With a Vehicle, Dec. 20, 2016, Bangor Injury Lawyer Blog