Maine Crash Statistics
Maine has been working hard to reduce fatal traffic crashes, from cracking down on drunk drivers and speeders to implementing a graduated driver’s licensing system that delays when new drivers get full road privileges. All in all, this hard work has paid off, but there are still some troublesome areas, especially where pedestrians and bicyclists safety is concerned.
The most recent completed data show that 172 drivers were involved accidents that resulted in 131 traffic fatalities in 2014. Of these fatalities, 104 were passenger vehicle occupants and 41 were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident. Unfortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that if all vehicle passengers wore their restraints every time they traveled, an additional 21 lives would have been saved.
Of those drivers involved in these fatal accidents, 16 were under the age of 20, which is a significant decrease from a ten-year high of 38 in 2006. This decrease could be due in part to the implementation of the graduated driver’s licensing system where the privileges of new drivers are restricted from unsupervised night driving and from carrying passengers before they have the necessary experience.
If we take a closer look at the 2014 passenger vehicle fatalities, we see –
- 50 were in passenger cars
- 16 were in pickup trucks
- 29 were in light utility trucks
- 9 were in vans
These vehicles were involved in the following crash types –
- 66 single vehicle crashes
- 10 involved at least one large truck
- 39 involved at least one speeding driver
- 22 rollovers
- 102 departed the roadway
- 12 were at or near an intersection
Driver behaviors like speeding and drunk driving continue to take too many lives. In fact, 44 fatalities involved at least one driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. While this is a decrease from the ten-year high of 66 in 2007, it is a significant increase from a low of 23 in 2011.
Driving over the posted speed limit or too fast for the conditions of the road contributed to the deaths of 39 people in 2014. While this is a significant decrease from the 86 who died in 2005, drivers need to be more responsible on Maine roadways to reach every state’s goal of zero preventable traffic deaths.
Walkers, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders continue to have a disadvantage when sharing the road with motor vehicles in the state. In fact, following a high of 24 deaths in 2012, there were 11 motorcycle fatalities in 2014. While the Universal Helmet Law was repealed in 1977, riders under age 18 and those who have had their license for less than one year must wear a helmet. Despite not having a mandatory helmet law, head protection is being used more often as reflected in a decrease in unhelmeted fatalities from 24 in 2012 to four in 2014.
Pedestrian deaths have not really dropped over ten years, from a high of 12 in 2009 to nine in 2014, showing that the state needs to do more to protect walkers and joggers from motor vehicles better than they have thus far.
Bicyclist deaths are another troublesome area because the state has not been able to achieve and sustain zero preventable bicyclist deaths. Two cyclists died in motor vehicle accidents in 2014 following a high of four cyclist deaths the year prior. Zero cyclists died in 2008 and 2011.
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