Maine State Police Issued a statement this week on social media with a bit of disturbing observation. They said that they have noticed a recent increase in the number of hit and runs in our state. Just this past weekend, I heard of two different instances here in Bangor, where someone's car had been crashed into, and the person/persons responsible had fled the scene of the crime.

Now, from my early days of learning how to drive in Driver's Ed (20+ years ago), even I remember reading in the booklet that if you are involved in a motor vehicle crash, you're supposed to report it. But it seems there are a number of Mainers who have either forgotten this, or perhaps think that because many government offices and departments have changed the way they do things in the wake of Covid-19, that calling the cops after a crash is something that's not done anymore. Well, that assumption would be incorrect.

According to the Maine State Police Facebook Page, the excuses being given by people who have left the scene and failed to report the accident include everything from "not having a cell phone" to "having a pressing appointment." Some even said they did not know that a report had to be made.

To that degree, The Maine State Police are offering some tips on reporting a crash. They're hope is by helping to educate motorists on the laws of the road, more folks will start following them.

"In Maine, if you are involved in a crash that is reportable, for example; property damage over the amount of $1,000 you are required to notify police in a timely and reasonable manner, or you could face criminal charges. Reporting crashes as soon as possible allows for law enforcement to conduct a proper investigation, determine if drugs or alcohol were involved etc. In addition, vehicles should not be disturbed or moved from their final resting place, until police arrive on scene, or specifically advised by police that is okay to move the vehicles."

So despite the fact that it may seem like a good idea to move your crashed vehicle out of the roadway, unless it is threatening a life or in the way of someone receiving life-saving treatment, leave it where it landed.

Something else you may want to consider is that it is still the law to report a crash if involves a large animal, like a deer or moose. If there is a thousand dollars or more, or if the animal is still alive but possibly injured, you need to call it in.

The Maine State Police were kind enough to include links to the different Maine laws regarding car crashes, should anyone need a refresher course. I'll copy them here for you to read at your leisure.

Below are links to the statutes surrounding the laws. This is the statue for “Failure to give notice of an accident by quickest means” which is a Class E Crime. This is the statue for “Leaving the scene of a property damage crash” which is a Class E Crime. This is the statue for “Leaving the scene of a personal injury crash” Class D, and Class C if serious bodily injury or death occurs.
Drive safe, out there.
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