Maine’s High Accident Risk Due to Construction, Hazards and Road Condition, Report Says

Maine drivers have to contend with a higher-than-average number of traffic accidents, construction and roadway hazards.

That’s according to the latest report from Waze, a service purchased by Google two years ago.

It works like this: Drivers download the application and then can send and receive warnings about roadway obstacles, such as traffic jams, police units, heavy traffic and accidents. Users get points for finding roadway obstructions and warning others behind them.

So it’s important to point out the data gleaned from this application is flawed: It only counts what users report, which means it’s not necessarily an accurate accounting of all the accidents on the road or all the construction. But nationally, 36 million drivers used in 2012 to share 90 million reports. That means there is value in the state-level information the company collected.

What they discovered about Maine was that, first, more than 20 percent of the reports made by drivers here were based on issues with construction. That ranked us sixth-highest in the country. Construction can be a noteworthy road hazard, not just for motorists, who have to navigate unpredictable lane changes and uneven surfaces, but also for those who work on these projects. Many drivers fail to slow down as required and don’t use an appropriate level of caution.

As far as the number of traffic accident alerts by Maine drivers, that amounted to 3.2 percent of the total number of Waze reports. That put the state at No. 14 for the most accidents. That indicates a somewhat higher figure than reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency reports that when it comes to fatality rates, Maine counted 11.96 per 100,000 population. Meanwhile, the U.S. rate was 11.05. The best state ranked 4.90.

The state was closer to the middle of the road when it comes to roadway hazards. The company counted nearly 43 percent of alerts made by users were for hazards in the road – things like rogue tires or spilled cargo or even animals. Maine ranked 20th in the nation for that.

Interestingly, very few users reported road quality. In fact, less than 2 percent of the user-generated reports were for things like potholes or deteriorating road quality. This is in stark contrast to a a report issued earlier this year by TRIP, a non-profit transportation research firm that analyzed road quality conditions in all 50 states. Maine ranked No. 8 for having the words roads in the country. The only reason the other states were considered in poorer shape was because of the high number of structurally deficient bridges. But here, 26 percent of our rural roads have pavement that is considered to be in “poor” condition. Fifteen percent of our bridges in rural areas are considered structurally deficient. Responding to that report, state transportation officials stated the need exceeds the funding everywhere in the country, not just Maine.

But the reason it probably didn’t show up in the Waze report is that not every user is reporting every pothole they encounter.

One positive bit of information from Waze: Maine had one of the lowest reports for missing road signs, accounting for just 0.11 percent of the total number of reports, meaning we ranked 49th out of 50 states.

If you are the victim of a Portland car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

What 2 years of Google’s data say about the state of Maine’s roads, Aug. 3, 2015, By Dan MacLeod, Bangor Daily news

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Maine Motorcycle Accident Risk Spikes in Summer, July 7, 2015, Portland Traffic Accident Attorney Blog

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