Personal Injury Lawyers • Portland and Waterville, ME

Maine Sees Largest Decrease in Annual Number of Fatal Crashes Involving Young Drivers

male teen texting and driving

A Portland, Maine car accident attorney discusses the trend

According to a recent analysis by ValuePenguin of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data covering 2010 to 2019, Maine had the largest decrease in the nation with regard to fatal crashes involving drivers ages 15 to 20.

The number of deadly car accidents plummeted 54%, edging New Hampshire (53% decrease) and Rhode Island (50%) for the decade. By comparison, the national decline was only 14%.

In terms of raw numbers, young Maine drivers were involved in 168 fatal accidents for the decade. At the other end of the spectrum, young Texans were in 4,278 crashes. California was second at 3,617, while Florida ranked third with 3,178. Nationwide, the total was 41,187 fatal accidents.

Nonetheless, young Maine drivers paid a steep price after being involved in a crash. Their insurance rates after a single accident skyrocketed 329%, the fifth-highest in the country and far exceeding the national increase of 253%. The average Maine policy that cost $1,286 annually in 2010 was, by comparison, an astronomical $5,515 in 2019 after one accident.

Tips for young Maine drivers

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, as part of its effort to further reduce fatal auto accidents among young drivers, breaks down safety advice into four areas:

Buckle Up: Always wear a seat belt.

  • Teens have the lowest rate of using seat belts, inviting serious injuries and death in the event of a bad crash.
  • Six out of 10 drivers ages 16 to 20 who die in crashes are not wearing seat belts.
  • Two out of three teens killed as passengers are not belted.

Speeding: Always be aware of your speed, especially in hazardous weather and traffic conditions.

  • Speeding increases the risk of a crash because drivers have less time to react and less margin for error.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers, outpacing homicide and suicide.

Distracted Driving: Always pay attention.

  • Under state law, drivers under 18 are banned from using a cellphone or any handheld electronic device.
  • 34% of teen drivers admit to talking on their cellphones.
  • 40% of teens ages 12-17 say they have been in a car when the driver using a cellphone put themselves or others in danger.

Driving Under the Influence: Never drive after using alcohol and/or other mind-altering substances.

  • Maine has a zero-tolerance law for underage drinking and driving.
  • Over 10% of the state’s alcohol-related crashes involve drivers ages 16-20.
  • Driving under the influence is among the leading causes of accidents.

Crash victims should know their legal options

Whether the driver who caused your crash was older or younger, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. If you were injured or a loved one died in a car accident due to the reckless, negligent, or intentional actions of another driver, you should talk to an attorney right away to get a clear understanding of your legal rights and options.

At Jabar LaLiberty, LLC, we have decades of experience fighting for injured clients who have been in the same predicament. We understand the difficulties you face and will stand by your side every step of the way. Let us worry about the legal system and insurance companies while you focus on the healing process. With offices in Portland and Waterville, our team serves all of Maine. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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