Traffic fatalities in Maine decreased 19% to 140 deaths in 2018 compared with 173 in 2017, reports the Claims Journal.
The 2018 roadway fatality number is among the lowest on record in 60 years, despite a slight increase in population over the past decade. Maine’s population grew from 1.32 million in 2010 to 1.34 million in 2018.
Historically, Maine’s traffic fatality statistics have varied widely. The Pine Tree State suffered an all-time high number of deaths—276—in 1970, while its lowest number of roadway fatalities was 131 in 2014, according to the report.
While experts are not entirely sure why the 2018 numbers were relatively low, the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety attributes fewer lost lives to a number of factors. These include new safety features in cars, extra law enforcement, and a state-sponsored educational initiative focusing on pedestrian safety, the report notes.
The state also experienced fewer fatalities among pedestrians and younger drivers (ages 16-19).