Articles Tagged with Bangor car accident

Last year, officials reported record-breaking traffic on New England roads over the Thanksgiving holiday. More than 2.2 million people in this region make a turkey day trek more than 50 miles, representing a 3.5 percent increase over a year ago and the biggest boost in volume since 2005. It’s not clear exactly how many of those were in rented vehicles, but we know it’s common. There was also an uptick in air travel, with some 36,000 people flying out of Portland International Jetport, many opting for rental vehicles while in town.  Nationally, it’s estimated some 51 million people traveled over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period from Wednesday through Sunday (with Wednesday being the busiest day).

Maine car accident attorneys in Bangor know that when a collision involves a rented vehicle, there may be some unique elements to consider with regard to auto insurance and liability coverage.

Prior to 2005, victims of car accidents could take legal action against rental car companies, holding them liable for the negligent actions of the person driving a vehicle owned by the rental company. This falls under a special type of law called “vicarious liability,” meaning it’s not necessary to show the person you’re suing for injuries directly did anything wrong. Rather, motor vehicles are inherently dangerous and so the owner was responsible for negligent use of that dangerous tool by someone else if the owner gave that person permission.

But then Congress passed the Graves Amendment, part of a larger federal transportation bill, which largely released rental car companies from liability when a renter crashes a car. However, that does not mean they are entirely off-the-hook. They can still be held liable for direct negligence. For example, if a causal factor in the crash was worn tire tread, that could be the fault of the rental car company. If the brakes were old or the car hadn’t been maintained, that could be evidence of direct negligence by the rental car company.  Continue reading

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.  Continue reading

A series of massive rainstorms over Maine recently set a daily rainfall record in Portland, with nearly 6 inches of water. In nearby Searsport, the precipitation reached almost 10 inches a day.

The storms made headlines as they caused flooding throughout the state, cut off roadway access and in some cases, reached as high as the windows of passing vehicles.

This kind of weather, which is treacherous to anyone caught driving, may seem an anomaly. However, as the Bangor Daily News reported, these kind of “extreme” rain and snow storms are likely here to stay. That assertion is according to a 2012 study that revealed the frequency of these “extreme” events has increased dramatically. What used to happen once year is now happening two or three times, a 74 percent increase. As one meteorologist put it: The severe storms our grandparents experienced once a year when they were young are now happening every six- to- seven months. Continue reading

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of a teacher killed, her two young children seriously injured, after a 17-year-old high school student allegedly crossed the center line in his parents’ vehicle. He struck the teacher’s car head-on in Berwick.

The estate of the elementary school teacher is being represented by her father and a family friend on behalf of the minor children, ages 4 and 7 at the time of the crash. Named defendants include the 17-year-old driver and his parents.

The lawsuit was filed just before the statute of limitations deadline. In Maine, plaintiffs have two years from the date of a person’s death in which to file a wrongful death action. Personal injury actions, meanwhile, can be filed up to six years after the injury occurred. Continue reading

Just a handful of days after one of the biggest chain-reaction car accidents in Maine’s history, state lawmakers are deciding whether to repeal the current seat belt law.

Title 29-A, 2081 of Maine Revised Statutes require all passengers in every vehicle to buckle up, so long as there is a seat belt available. Children must be strapped in to proper carriers, car seats or booster seats. Violators face a $50 fine for a first offense. The only exceptions are drivers or passengers with a disability or medical condition that makes it unsafe or impossible to wear a seat belt. Mail carriers are also exempt.

The new bill, LD 112, is entitled the “Act to Eliminate the Requirement That Adults Wear Safety Belts.” The sponsor is Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, a freshman senator who asserts only children should be required by law to buckle up.

On a snowy stretch of I-95 west, 75 cars, trucks and semis kept “crashing and crashing,” leaving a mangled mass of metal and debris. In total, 17 injuries have been reported, though authorities have expressed shock no one was killed.

The chain-reaction pileup was the worst officials said they’d seen in decades.

“If Hollywood wanted to create a scene, I don’t think they could have created the amount of carnage that was out here today,” said one Maine State Police lieutenant. Some 50 vehicles were towed, many reduced to nothing more than crumpled piles.

A three-car crash on Route 2 in Canaan, a half hour outside of Bangor is being blamed on driver inattention on the part of a 70-year-old motorist.

Bangor car accident lawyers understand two people were transported to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries, while traffic on the highway was snarled for more than an hour. According to reports from The Bangor Daily News, the at-fault driver failed to notice or yield to a motorcyclist stopped in a construction zone.

The 62-year-old motorcyclist and his 55-year-old passenger were tossed into the rear of a boat trailer, being hauled by a 24-year-old pickup driver. The motorists were stopped in a line of traffic awaiting the go-ahead from a flagger working with the construction crew.

Noting dire consequences when motorists fail to focus behind the wheel, Gov. Paul LePage has vowed legislation and a series of other awareness initiatives intended to put the brakes on distracted driving.  He noted fines are an ineffective solution, and vowed to introduce a measure that would result in license suspension instead.

While he works on introducing a bill in that vein, the Maine State Police have teamed up with trucking firms to launch a public education campaign. The sides of big rigs will be emblazoned with messages such as, “One text or call could wreck it all.” Meanwhile, state troopers will be upping enforcement against distracted driving on the highways.

Our Bangor car accident lawyers know Maine is not among the 12 states with a prohibition on cell phone use, which is unfortunate because numerous studies have indicated that talking on one’s phone – even using a hands-free device – is extremely dangerous. Dialing, texting, reaching for the phone and talking sharply raise the risk of a crash or near-miss – especially for younger drivers. State lawmakers do forbid novice drivers from using cell phones, so that is a start. So too is the ban on text messaging, which is considered a primary offense for which officers can stop a vehicle. However, many say those efforts don’t go far enough.

The father of a young woman on trial for the death of two friends in a 2012 Maine auto accident tearfully testified before the jury about his daughter’s hospital bed confession.

As she recovered from the crash that killed both of her best friends, she told her parents why she veered off the road that January morning in Paris: Her cell phone rang. She turned her head and reached to grab it to see who was calling.

Bangor car accident attorneys note teens continue to face higher risks of traffic collisions when riding with other teens. And the more passengers in the car, the higher the risks. In this tragic case, both back seat passengers, ages 16 and 19, were killed. Another passenger in the front seat was injured as was the driver, who was just convicted of two counts of vehicular manslaughter. She faces a maximum 60 years in prison.

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