Police: Maine Car Accident Caused by Driver Taking “Selfie”

A motorist in Orient, about two hours north of Bangor, crashed his vehicle as he attempted to take a “selfie” while driving.

In so doing, he not only wrecked his car, he and two of his passengers were injured and had to be rushed to a local hospital. He had reportedly been with seven passengers total. In an attempt to immortalize the good time they were having, the man took out his camera phone, leaned in to be included in the shot – and then lost control of his car, slamming head-on into a tree.

That’s according to several media reports, which indicate the driver was not a teenager, but rather a 29-year-old man. The others in the vehicle were between the ages of 28 and 35. The two friends who were injured were seated in the front seat and were not wearing seat belts.

After hitting the tree head-on, one of the women suffered a nose fracture and a cut above her eye. Another suffered a neck injury and possible back injury.

Others in the vehicle suffered cuts and bruises, but were otherwise reported uninjured.

The driver was cited by police for failure to control a motor vehicle due to being distracted.

Maine’s distracted driving law doesn’t specifically prohibit “selfies.” But it does bar the use of portable electronic devices, which could be cell phones, electronic games, computers or cell phones for the purpose of sending or reading messages while driving. Novice drivers are prohibited from even talking on their phones, whereas drivers over 21 are not.

The minimum fine for driving and texting is $250 for a first-time offense and $500 for each subsequent offense.

The pertinent law here is Maine Revised Statute Title 29-A, Chapter 19, Subchapter 2, Section 2118, which deals specifically with failure to control a motor vehicle while distracted. It’s a relatively minor offense, particularly considering the extent of damage that can be caused by engaging in this behavior.

A study conducted in August 2014 by Ford revealed the average “selfie” (which is taking a picture of one’s self with a cell phone) takes 14 seconds. If a person is traveling at 60 miles-per-hour, they will have traveled the length of four football fields – virtually blind. That’s a dangerous amount of time not to have one’s eyes on the road.

Although selfie-taking has become an everyday thing for the younger generation, it is the last thing anyone should be doing behind the wheel of a car.

Driving while distracted reportedly killed at least 3,155 people in the U.S. in 2013. That’s fewer than were killed by such crashes the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, the number of injuries has actually increased. About 424,000 people in the U.S. were injured in distracted driving accidents in 2013, compared to 421,000 a year earlier.

Maine lawmakers introduced a bill last session that would have made it illegal for all drivers to talk on cell phones while operating a vehicle, but the measure failed to make it into law.

But it’s an issue our Bangor auto accident lawyers fear isn’t going away anytime soon. Consider that from 2011 to 2013, distraction was cited as the cause of 8,000 Maine accidents, including 41 deaths.

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

Additional Resources:

Man takes “selfie” while driving, crashes into a tree, Aug. 30, 2015, WCSH 6, Portland

More Blog Entries:

Maine Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Fatal Crash Involving Student, Teacher, Aug. 31, 2015, Bangor Accident Attorney Blog

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