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In the first six months of 2021, the Unites States saw a record number of motor vehicle fatalities. Maine, however, saw a decline, compared to recent years.

As of Dec. 29, 149 individuals lost their lives due to motor vehicle-related incidents compared to 164 in 2020 and 157 in 2019.

Additionally, fewer people were observed driving distracted while using hand-held devices, and 91.8% of people were observed wearing a seat belt. These factors combined may have led to fewer deaths”, according to Lauren Stewart, the Director of Maine’s Bureau of Highway Safety.

The Maine Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Highway Safety reminds motorists to always drive safely, and especially to drive sober this New Year’s Eve.

• 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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