Tricky Maine Laws Contributing to Distraction-Related Car Accidents in Portland and Elsewhere

As we recently reported on our Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, the dangers of distracted driving are raising concerns among safe driving advocates around the country. Distracted driving laws vary across the country from state to state. Many state’s distracted driving laws are difficult to enforce, if they’re even enforced at all. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were roughly 3,100 people who died on U. . roadways because of car accidents involving distracted drivers in 2010.To help reduce the risks of distraction-related car accidents in Portland and elsewhere, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recently stepped forward with a proposal for a nationwide ban on all portable electronic devices for drivers, according to My Fox Maine. The NTSB doesn’t have the authority to make these kinds of laws, but previous recommendations from the Board have proven persuasive to lawmakers.

Our Maine car accident lawyers understand that our state has some pretty relaxed distracted driving laws. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, only drivers in the state who are under the age of 18 are prohibited from talking on a hand-held cell phone at the wheel. All drivers are prohibited from text messaging while driving. Current laws state there are 9 states banning all drivers from using hand-held cell phones and another 35 that ban drivers from texting at the wheel. Recent studies conclude that a distraction is a distraction, meaning that hands-free devices are just as dangerous as hand-held devices. The NTSB is looking to ban all of these dangerous activities.

“The data is clear; the time to act is now. How many more lives will be lost before we, as a society, change our attitudes about the deadliness of distractions?” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.

According to CNN, a nationwide ban may not go over well with lawmakers, drivers and residents of the United States. Experts predict that elected legislators will have a tough time bringing up concerns about this ban in fear of upsetting constituents. Many believe that it would be tough to ban something that is already a part of nearly everyone’s daily routine.

Studies conclude that talking on a cell phone makes someone nearly five times more likely to get into a serious traffic accidents. In fact, talking on a cell phone gives a driver the same reaction time as a driver who is legally drunk. Still, a majority of drivers admit to engaging in the dangerous behavior.

As we head into the New Year, drivers are asked to behave in the spirit of Maine’s distracted driving laws. Although most of the drivers on our roadways aren’t banned from talking on a hand-held phone, we’re still asking driving to curb the distractions to increase road safety for everyone. Hands-free devices are no safer than hand-held devices and nothing is as safe as focused, distraction-free driving.

Contact the Maine injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates if you orsloved one has been injured in a distracted driving-related car accident in Portland, Bangor or in any of the surrounding areas. Call 1-800-804-2004 to make a appointment to speak to an attorney about your case.

Additional Resources:

Is 2012 the year to hang up the phone?, by Bob Greene, CNN

More Blog Entries:

Officers Crackdown on Texting Teens to Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in Maine, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, December 8, 2011

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Focuses on Car Accidents in Bangor and Elsewhere, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, November 12, 2011

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