Police & Fire

The Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Highway Safety reminds drivers to ‘Survive Your Drive’

AUGUSTA — More than 20,000 people died on U.S. roads in the first six months of 2021 showing the largest six-month increase  ever recorded in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history and putting us on track to have one of the highest  years for losses from motor vehicle crashes in recent years.  

In Maine, motor vehicle-related fatalities declined in 2021 compared to recent past years. As of today, 149 individuals  have lost their lives due to motor vehicle-related incidents compared to 164 in 2020 and 157 in 2019. “It is hard to  pinpoint exactly why some years are higher or lower than others, but this year we increased our public outreach  through paid media, social media, and digital media. Additionally, fewer people were observed driving distracted  while using hand-held devices, and 91.8 percent of people were observed wearing a seat belt. These factors combined may  have led to fewer deaths”, stated Lauren Stewart, the director of Maine’s Bureau of Highway Safety. 

The Maine Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Highway Safety wants to remind motorists to always drive safely,  and especially to drive sober this New Year’s Eve. “Let’s start the new year out on the right road and continue to see  fewer serious and fatal crashes”, Stewart said. 

Safe driving begins with responsible choices: 

• Plan ahead and depart for your New Year’s celebration as early as you can.  

• Drive the speed limit even if you’re behind schedule and want to reach your New Year’s celebration right away.  

• Remember that it is never okay to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Designate a sober driver,  plan to stay where you are, or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely. • Use your defensive driving skills and anticipate potential driving challenges such as weather and road conditions,  large animals, and especially be on the lookout for pedestrians. 

• Watch out for other impaired drivers. If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 9-1-1 or contact your local  police department right away. 

As part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s impaired driving campaign, State and municipal  police, and sheriff departments will be stepping up patrols for New Year’s Eve to help ensure the roads are safe for all  travelers. As always, there is a zero tolerance for drunk or drugged driving.

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