The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety says fatal crashes in the state are way up, over last year, so they have some tips on how to stay safe.

As of March 14, there have been 32 people killed in car crashes, with many other people seriously injured. At the same time in 2021, only 23 people had died on Maine's roads. The increase has safety experts concerned about how the rest of the year is going to shape up.

A study of the year's fatal crashes has revealed several common factors that contributed to the fatal outcomes. Those factors include:

  • Unsafe and Illegal Speeds
  • Reckless Driving
  • Alcohol and Drug Impairment while Driving
  • Non-Use of Safety Restraints

Lauren Stewart, Maine's Highway Safety Director, says residents need to become more responsible drivers.

Make safety for yourselves, and all others sharing the road with you, your top priority. No one typically plans to be involved in a serious injury or fatal crash when they leave one destination or another. However, you can always plan to be a safe driver.

She offers several suggestions on how to make your travel time safer:

  1. Slow down and be a courteous and cautious driver. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, so you maintain control of your vehicle. Remember, the experts say, it's not all about you because you're sharing the road with others.
  2. Be a defensive driver, always engaged with the task at hand. Be alert, avoid distractions, and look out for other cars on the road. When you're behind the wheel, there is nothing more important than concentrating on your driving. Everything else can wait.
  3. Buckle up! Seat belts, used in combination with airbags, are your most important safety features when involved in a crash. Being partially or fully ejected from a vehicle in a crash almost always leads to serious injuries or death.
  4. Don't drink or use substances and drive. And if you're going out, make a plan for safe, alternative transportation, even if you don't plan to become impaired.
  5. If you see something, say something. Call 911 to report someone who appears to be driving impaired, driving recklessly or aggressively, or putting others at risk. Be prepared to tell the operator where you are so they can send help.

All drivers working together to make Maine's roadways safer is what it will take to improve these statistics. Safety officials urge everyone to be responsible and do their part.

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