Five years ago, an accident in Winslow changed Michael Lyons’ future.
“It did change forever. I was in marketing and sales for over 40 years. I had a great job at Bank of America, great people, I had to leave my colleagues, my job behind.”
The accident happened on his way to work in Belfast.
“It was on Route 201 and vehicle crossed in path, causing a head on collision.”
He says it took an hour for emergency responders to cut him out of the car.
He was hospitalized for two months.
After eight surgeries, it was clear he wouldn’t be able to return to his job due to his injuries.
The driver at fault was uninsured.
“This is their cancellation notice and as you notice the date January 3rd, 2008, accident being March 29th 2008, so you figure almost three months with no insurance,” said Lyons.
Through his own health insurance, he was able to get most of the$1,000,000 in medical bills covered. His car was totaled, and there was financial loss, but there was nothing else he could do. The driver was on Maine Care, and had nothing. What Lyons decided to do was fight to get stronger laws in Maine against uninsured motorists.
“This has been a quest of mine for approximately five years, or better, trying to get laws changed, or more teeth put into the auto insurance law,” said Lyons.
“State of Maine says it is applicable for all drivers to maintain liability insurance on their vehicles. They’d be issued a liability citation for failure to maintain liability insurance is issued and and that is a fine up to $171,” said Maine State Trooper Recruit, Andrew Peirson.
After that, it’s in the driver’s hands.
“It would be a civil matter, not something we could arrest that other operator for. That means the driver that had been hit, the accident was not their fault, they would have to spend their own money to hire an attorney to go after the other operator that was not insured,” said Peirson.
Governor LePage commissioned a study that says one in 22 motorists are uninsured.
“That means there are about 42,000 drivers in Maine without insurance,” said Lyons.
The findings from this study came after Lyons says the governor promised he would propose a new bill. Lyons says getting that backing is a major step, but he hopes for the future of his children, his grandchildren, and everyone on the roads in the state that the laws change for good.
“There’s gotta be a change. There’s gotta be a change now,” he said.