Any kind of distracted driving is dangerous, especially when the use of a hand-held device is involved. Many safety advocates emphasize the dangers of texting and driving. However, not all distracted drivers are actually texting with their devices. They could be browsing the web, taking photos, or streaming videos.
In order to address this problem, a newly proposed bill may soon become law, according to CentralMaine.com. Since 2013, some state lawmakers have been attempting to pass stricter bills to address distracted driving. In fact, a prior bill passed the Maine House and Senate in 2017, but was later vetoed by then-governor Paul Lepage, who considered the proposal to be “social engineering.”
Texting and driving is illegal in Maine. However, the law, as it’s currently written, is very narrow – it doesn’t apply to other uses of hand-held devices, such as looking up directions or browsing the web. The bill, L.D. 165, which is sponsored by State Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, would include broader provisions to ban all uses of hand-held devices behind the wheel.
First-time violators could be fined $75. Repeat violators could be fined $500 and would face a three-month license suspension. In short, the bill would require that drivers leave their devices alone. Hands-free devices are permitted, as long as drivers aren’t handling them.
Prevalence of distracted driving
Distracted driving has been a growing problem in Maine and across the United States in recent years. In 2018, Maine law enforcement officers issued 1,621 tickets for texting and driving. That is a significant increase from 2017, which saw a total of 940 citations.
An April 2018 survey commissioned by the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety involved nearly 13,750 vehicles and found that more than six percent of drivers manipulated hand-held or hands-free devices while on the road.
While many distracted driving accidents go unreported, the Maine Department of Public Safety estimates that it was a factor in nearly 40 percent of roughly 35,000 statewide crashes in 2018.
Know your rights if you’ve been injured in a crash
To help educate Mainers on the dangers of distracted driving, our law firm has established the Arrive Alive Creative Contest which is open to graduating high school seniors throughout the state of Maine. Seniors may enter by submitting a creative project of their choice that sends a message to their peers about the dangers of drinking and driving and/or distracted driving. In the past 14 years, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein has given away over $130,000 in prizes to graduating high school seniors who have helped educate their peers on safe driving practices. A complete set of rules and all past winners can be found at: www.arrivealivecreativecontest.com.
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you are well within your rights to file a personal injury claim. An experienced auto accident attorney at the Law Offices of Joseph L. Bornstein can help you through the process. We’ll fight tirelessly to help you recover damages accrued from your crash.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.