Distracted Driving Penalty Lowered For First Time Offenders

Sep 20, 2019

One day after Maine's ban on using hand-held devices while driving went into effect, the fine for first-time violations has been lowered by $145.

A first offense will now cost you $50, plus surcharges.

State Sen. William Diamond, who sponsored the bill, says the legislature intended for the lower fine for first-time violators.

“Nobody wanted to hit people real hard the first time, so by keeping it at a $50 minimum, that was a real enhancement for people to vote for this bill,” Diamond says.

The state judiciary set the initial amount of the fine at $230. In a press release, the branch says it landed on that number after "considering the risks created by the specifically-prohibited behavior."

“We started with $50 because, again, we're talking about a culture change, we’re talking about a situation where we're going to get a lot of people pulled over,” Diamond says. “We didn't want to hit them financially, that wasn’t the purpose. The purpose was to get people’s attention, and get them to put the phone down when they're driving.”

Repeat offenders will be fined at least $250.