When we hear in the news that someone dies in a car accident, we can often be quick to jump to the conclusion that someone was operating under the influence. While that is the case in some instances, data for 2019 shared by the Norway Police Department show that more than half of fatal crashes didn't involve OUI and could have been avoided.

The Norway Police Department looked up the most recent data on the related factors for drivers involved in fatal crashes in Maine. In 2019, there were 189 drivers involved in fatal crashes, and more than half of those fatal accidents were caused by a driver taking an action that is a traffic violation that could have been prevented.

Traffic violations, also known as infractions, are defined as an act or omission that's prohibited by law but isn't a crime. Basically it's the things you do while driving that you know you're not allowed to do, but just get a ticket for, like speeding, or not stopping at a stop sign.

The list from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the Norway PD shared shows fatal accidents were caused by driving the wrong way on a one-way highway, failing to obey traffic signs or signals, distracted driving, failure to yield the right of way and failure to keep in the proper lane.

However, the related factor that caused a fatal accident with most drivers was driving too fast for conditions or in excess of the posted limit. In very simple terms, Speeding.

Now keep in mind that speeding could also involve an OUI, but a driver could be listed more than once on the NHTSA list. So one driver could fall under the OUI category and the speeding category.

The bottom line here is that people need to slow down on the roads, put their phones down, stay alert, and obey all traffic signs and signals.

The 2020 data is set to be released soon. Let's hope the number of fatalities due to careless drivers in Maine has dropped.

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