In 2022, the state of Maine could have the most highway deaths since 2007, according to the Director of the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, Lauren Stewart.

Number of Highway Deaths

As of Wednesday, December 28, there were 177 fatalities. The worst year in 15 years when the number of deaths was 183.

Speeding and Aggressive Driving Are Key Factors

Stewart said speeding and reckless driving are major factors in the increase. She added that it's a trend that got worse during the pandemic when motorists were speeding and driving more aggressively as less people were on the roads. Stewart said the trend continues as travel has increased in numbers, according to the Associated Press as reported by WABI.

Most Deaths Related to Not Wearing Seatbelts and Impaired Driving

Officials said that drivers not wearing seatbelts makes up for half of the highway deaths in Maine in 2022. Drivers that were impaired by alcohol, drugs or both made up about a third of the fatalities, according to Stewart. She said, “we find that drivers are more aggressive. They’re in a hurry to get where they’re going. They’re only thinking of themselves, and not others on the road.”

Maine Maritime Academy Crash

The crash that killed four Maine Maritime Academy students in early December 2022 in Castine was the deadliest of the year, said Stewart. Three others were injured in the accident when their SUV struck a tree and caught fire. The investigation into the cause of the crash still continues.

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Safety on the Roads

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety urges caution and safe driving as the year ends going into 2023.

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