New Law Penalizes Texters, Behaviors that Lead to Distracted Driving Accidents in Portland, Throughout Maine

What will it take to get Maine motorists to curb the dangerous driving behavior of texting while driving? Cell phones and other distractions kill thousands of motorists on our nation’s roadways every year and is a common cause of car accidents in Portland and elsewhere in Maine.

We posted on our Maine Injury Lawyer Blog back in July that Governor Paul LePage was being applauded by U. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for joining the many other states to finally sign a bill prohibiting texting while driving on Maine roadways.Bangor car accident lawyers want Maine motorists to understand that by the end of this month there will be consequences if you continue to practice this unsafe behavior behind the wheel. Touching screens on your iPhone or punching buttons on your keyboard while driving will need to become a thing of the past.

Seacoastonline reports starting September 28, the new texting ban will take effect and Maine motorists will face a $100 fine if caught texting while driving for the first offense. Subsequent violations will result in increased penalties. York Police Chief Douglas Bracy is one person happy to see the law finally take effect. He said he finds numerous drivers of all ages busy looking at screens or punching buttons while they drive, which puts many motorists at risk of a serious accident. Bracy reflects on the tragedy last fall that killed a young high school graduate after she lost control of her vehicle on Interstate 295 while texting.

Maine already has a distracted driving law in place for things that cause a driver to operate a vehicle unsafely, such as eating or putting on make-up, but the law is secondary,swhich means a motorist must be infringing the law in another way before they can be cited for driving distracted. The texting ban will now allow law enforcement officials to pull over drivers who are distracted by cell phones as a primary offense and no other infractions are needed.

The National Safety Council recently released a series of videos to help educate and drive home the message about the dangers of distracted driving related to using a cell phone. Thes”Understanding Distracted Driving” clips are frequently asked questions in the form of a 2-3 minute video which are answered by David Teater, NSC Senior Director of Transportation Initiatives. Teater lost his son in a car accident back in 2004 and has been a strong advocate against distracted driving ever since. A few sample questions asked in the videos include:

  • How can employees be protected by workplace distracted driving polices?
  • How can talking to passengers in the vehicle cause a distraction behind the wheel?
  • What can parents do for their children that would set a good example for them to follow?
  • What is cognitive distraction?
  • Why are using cell phones dangerous when you are operating a vehicle?

The public can download the videos for free on YouTube.
Maine motorists may consider the $100 penalty a small price to pay for taking the risk to text while they drive. Yet they should consider the very different consequences and what they can cost you if you are involved in a distracted driving accident which causes severe injury to you or other motorists traveling next to you.

If you or someone close to you has been involved in a distracted driving accident in Bangor, Portland or throughout Maine, contact the car accident attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates for consultation and advice. sCall 1-800-804-2004 to discuss your claim with an experienced attorney today.
Additional Resources:

Maine law to get tougher on texting while driving, by Deborah Mcdermott,
Properly Inflated Tires Can Reduce the Risk of Car Accidents in Bangor, Portland, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, July 18, 2011.
Proposed Bill Could Lead to an Increase in Speed-Related Car Accidents in Northern Maine, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, May 25, 2011.

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