Thursday, 01 February 2018 07:18

New Strategic Highway Safety Plan could decrease the number of motor vehicle accidents Featured

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STATEWIDE - According to the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), in the last three years, there's been an up-tick of motor vehicle fatalities in the state. But thanks to Maine's new Strategic Highway Safety Plan, those numbers could go down.

"Those numbers represents people. They represent our children, neighbors and friends," said Matthew Dunlap, Maine's Secretary of State. "Everything we do is predicated that these people get home to their families."

 

It's been a growing concern for decades and state officials thought they've found ways to lower the numbers on fatality deaths in Maine. But within the last three years, more than 170 people have been killed due to motor vehicle accidents.

 

"People are still dying but we shouldn't accept that," said Dunlap. "We shouldn't accept that as a fact of life and until we get to the point where we don't accept that, we're always going to have that problem."

 

This is after they've seen improvements over the past decade. According to officials, more people are driving on the road and at faster speeds, increasing the chances of drivers being involved in an accident. Maine experiences over 30,000 crashes each year.

 

"Young people are bullet proof just like we were, they don't think it will happen to them," said Chief Robert Williams, of the Maine State Police. "They don't see the hidden cost of all these crashes."

 

With the growing use of technology, law enforcement officers stated more people are being distracted while driving.

 

"We're seeing a lot of distracted driving incidents and it's happening more and more," said Commissioner David Bernhardt, MaineDOT.

 

But it's not just while driving, officials also deal with pedestrians walking and motorcycles accidents regularly. But thanks the new Strategic Highway Safety Plan, state officials believe it will be a useful tool to help identify areas of most concern.

 

"I think it starts with education at a young level and working it up through," said Williams. "I think it's going to come to the point where it's just going to be strict enforcement."

 

Whether it's creating stricter laws or new signs, state officials believe this new plan will help officials decided the next step.

 

"We really need everybody to pay attention when they're driving and walking and just be vigilant for their personal safety," said Joyce Taylor, chief engineer at MaineDOT. 

Jack Hilton

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Jack Hilton joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX Fox 22 in March of 2016. He was born in Montreal, Canada but was raised in the sunshine state, Fort Lauderdale before graduating cum laude from Husson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications.

Born in a famous boxing family, Jack set off toward a different career path, after the mysterious death of his uncle, Arturo Gatti, who is in the Boxing Hall of Fame.

With a heart for people, he is always looking to meet and tell the stories of those in the community. He is charismatic, funny and down to earth.

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