Congress Funds Safe Driving Initiatives in Portland, elsewhere

There’s going to be nearly $25 million in cash incentives available to states that decide that their distracted driving laws could use a facelift.

Congress recently decided that it was going to free up millions to help to persuade state lawmakers to strengthen their road laws to help to reduce the risks of car accidents in Portland and elsewhere.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there’s an additional $13 million that has been freed up to encourage states to strengthen their Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) programs.

Congress has already offered incentive programs to states that campaigned for seat belt usage and fought drunk drivers. Targeting teens and distracted drivers makes sense because so many car “accidents” are caused by a young, inexperienced driver, or by a motorist who is not paying attention to the road.
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Our Portland car accident attorneys understand that the state of Maine lags a bit when it comes to implementing all of the components of a comprehensive GDL program. Not only do we allow our young drivers to get their permit at the age of 15, but we also allow them to get a restricted license after only having the learner’s permit for 6 months.

In the restricted stages our laws aren’t that tough either. We only require these young drivers to complete 35 hours of supervised driving time. Safe driving experts recommend at least 50 hours for a full and thorough driving education. After that we send them out on their own!sThey only have passenger restrictions for 6 months and are only prohibited from driving between midnight and 5:00 a.m., according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Congress wants state lawmakers to strengthen these restrictions!sTougher laws and stricter enforcement will help to keep our teen drivers safe behind the wheel. Car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for teens across the country.

“We are grateful to see that Congress has taken action to reduce distracted driving and to help protect our youngest, most inexperienced drivers,” Janet Froetscher with the NSC said.

In Maine, only learner’s permit and intermediate license holders are prohibited from using hand-held cell phones behind the wheel. All drivers are banned from text messaging while driving. We may not have the weakest laws in the books, but officials are encouraging law enforcement officers to step up enforcement, and lawmakers to continue to make legislating safe driving a priority.

The bill also includes funding for distracted driving research.

Drivers are asked to drive within the spirit of the law and keep distractions out of the driver’s seat. Parents and guardians of young drivers are urged to keep an eye on their newly-licensed teenagers. Be sure to enforce your own household driving rules to help to keep your young driver safe. Know where they’re going and when they’ll be home. Know who they’re driving with and who is driving with them. Staying in the loop can reduce the risk of an accident.

Contact the experienced injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates if you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a car accident in Bangor, Portland or elsewhere in Maine. Call 1-800-804-2004 to set up a free and confidential appointment to speak to a lawyer about your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Teens at High Risks for Accidents in Bangor and Elsewhere, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, June 20, 2012

Teens Risks High for Car Accidents in Bangor and Elsewhere, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, April 6, 2012