New Bill Would Make All Hands-On Cell Phone Use By Drivers Illegal In Maine
Distracted driving in Maine is unquestionably a problem, and lawmakers in Maine want to join other states across the country in stiffening laws and penalties when it comes to drivers who have cell phones in their hand while behind the wheel.
According to the Portland Press Herald, laws are already on the books that make texting and driving illegal. But that law is very specific and binding for police because it does make using social media apps like Facebook or Instagram, maps or GPS services, or streaming music services like Spotify illegal while a driver is holding a phone and driving a vehicle.
So lawmakers want to revisit the issue and follow some of the lead put forth by other states, including New Hampshire, which have banned all hands-on cell phone use while operating a vehicle. That would include calls, (drivers could still use bluetooth to make and receive calls), texting and all social media and streaming apps. Initial fines would be $75 per violation and would elevate to $500 and a license suspension for habitual offenders.
A law calling for these restrictions once passed through the Maine legislation but was vetoed by then-Governor Paul LePage. A survey conducted last year by the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety found that roughly 6% of Maine drivers are using handheld devices at any given time while behind the wheel.