Our car accident lawyers reveal what Mainers need to know
When getting behind the wheel of a car, people often underestimate the dangers of speeding — especially younger and inexperienced drivers.
Yet in Maine, almost every year, more people die in car accidents caused by speeding than those involving drunk drivers.
Some of the people most likely to be involved in fatal crashes due to speeding are teens ages 16-19, according to a new study seeking to bring awareness to speeding risks.
“Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle” suggests that parents and other adults have more power than they may think to stop teenagers from driving too fast.
One way to get teens to stop speeding is for adults to stop speeding themselves. When adults speed, they don’t have to say the words “driving over the speed limit is okay.” Children are receiving the message loud and clear.
Maine has one of the highest speeding car accident death rates for teens in the U.S.
In Maine, more than 70% of fatal motor vehicle accidents involving teens cited speed as a crash factor. The national average is 43%.
It’s not up to parents, alone, however, to get young drivers to follow the rules of the road. Study authors at the Governors Highway Safety Association have a handful of proposals to reduce the risks of teen speeding.
No need for teens to speed
The GHSA recommendations to reduce teen speeding range from statewide law and licensing changes to simple conversations around the kitchen table.
Here are some of the recommendations.
Parent-teen driving agreements
The point of these agreements isn’t to create an unbreakable promise, but rather to review the rules of the road and responsibilities expected with your teen driver. The agreements, sometimes called contracts or pledges, also include responsibilities the parent agrees to perform such as providing adequate driver education and as safe a driving experience as possible. You can find templates of these agreements online; AAA provides one that is thorough and free to download.
In-vehicle safety technology
A lot of newer cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs are coming standard with improved driver safety features. Teens should understand how to use these and be encouraged to activate the technology while driving to reduce the risk of accidents. Newer safety features include lane-keeping assistance, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and speed limit recognition.
There are a lot of apps available that can provide real-time information about how your teen is driving. Some of them are expensive, but there are free ones. The GHSA recommends Life360, which tracks location, speed, and hard braking; Hyundai Blue Link, which alerts parents to speeding; and Bouncie, which will send information about speed, acceleration, hard braking, idling, and more to parents.
Graduated driver licensing systems
This type of statewide program creates various levels of driving privileges for young and inexperienced drivers. Maine has a 3-step GDL already in place. It restricts nighttime driving, mobile phone use, and sets some education requirements.
Arrive Alive Creative Contest
At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the effects of dangerous driving. Each year in Maine and across the U.S., communities are devastated by tragic accidents involving teenagers. That’s why we started the Arrive Alive Creative Contest for high school seniors.
Now in its 17th year, the contest asks seniors to submit a creative project of their choice that sends a message to their peers about the dangers of drinking and driving and/or distracted driving. First-place winners receive a new laptop computer, second and third-place winners receive a new iPad, and everyone who enters the contest wins fun prizes from our law firm.
A complete set of rules and all past winners can be found online: www.arrivealivecreativecontest.com.
Get Joe on your side
Recovering from a high-speed car accident is never easy, and the faster the speed of the vehicles involved, the more severe the injuries will be. Under Maine law, if you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, you have the right to seek compensation that covers the cost of your medical bills and other accident-related expenses.
The trouble is the car insurance company for the at-fault driver is financially motivated to pay you as little money as possible. As such, it's all in a day's work for insurance adjusters to trick crash victims into admitting fault in a recorded statement, purposefully delay the claims process, misrepresent your coverage, make you a "lowball" settlement offer, and insist that you don't need to hire an attorney to get your claim resolved.
At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, our law firm has nearly 50 years of experience protecting the rights of injured Mainers. Since 1974, our highly skilled legal team has helped over 25,000 injured and disabled Mainers recover more than $500 million.
Find out how an experienced car accident lawyer in Maine can help with your injury claim and contact us today to set up a free consultation. We have offices located across Maine in Sanford, Biddeford, Portland, Windham, Lewiston, Augusta, and Bangor.