distracted driving

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine lawmakers are considering a bill that would clarify how much a violator can be fined for using a hand-held device while driving.

Maine's Tougher New Distracted Driving Ban In Effect

Sep 19, 2019
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine - A new Maine law that prohibits the use of hand-held phones and other devices while driving is now in effect.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement officials don't have to show what specifically distracted a driver who caused a fatal chain-reaction crash.

Thomas Palmer testified that he "looked up'' to see a car stopped in the road before the crash on U.S. Route 1 in Woolwich in August 2015. His truck smashed into a car that was forced into a van, which collided with an SUV. A passenger in the van died.

The trial judge who convicted Palmer of two driving violations concluded he was distracted.

AUGUSTA, Maine - By a vote of 24 to 10, the Maine Senate has given initial support to a bill that would ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving.

Supporters say distracted driving has surpassed drunk driving as the major public safety hazard on roads. But opponents argue that existing laws already allow law enforcement to penalize distracted drivers.

Last year, more than 2,000 collisions in Maine were the result of distracted driving, and most of them involved cell phones, says Republican Sen. Roger Katz, of Augusta. Twelve people died.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine State Police say state troopers have cited more than 1,000 drivers for texting and distracted driving during a six-month crackdown.

State police spokesman Steve McCausland says state police efforts to curb distracted driving will continue throughout 2015. Col. Robert Williams, the state police chief, says his department has received federal grants totaling nearly $300,000 to step up enforcement against distracted driving. The money is paying for overtime for troopers.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Members of the Legislatures' Transportation Committee today heard sometimes emotional testimony both supporting and opposing legislation that would ban hand held use of cell phones while driving.

Linda McKee of Wayne says there are way too many distractions for drivers from all sorts of activities, from eating to tuning the car radio.