Maine Targets Distracted Drivers
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UPDATED: Mar 25, 2020
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The statistics are staggering. Drivers who attempt to text or use their cell phone while driving put not only themselves but everyone else on the roadways in danger. A stat form the American Automobile Association states that 46% of teens surveyed admitted to texting while driving. Texting is a fairly new phenomenon, having gained rapidly in popularity since the turn of the century. However, most cell phone packages now include unlimited texting and people of every age group have adopted this quick method of communication.
The state of Maine and the Maine Bureau of Insurance took steps in 2011 to discourage drivers from this type of distracted driving. Maine has plenty of company, 33 other states in the country also have some type of texting while driving law on the books. Maine’s approach is to charge at least $100 in fines each time a person is caught behind the wheel sending or checking texts. Maine doesn’t stop with just texting; teen drivers in this state aren’t allowed to use their cell phones at all while driving. Good news for believers in this law came early this year as results showed the lowest number of car accident fatalities in Maine since the 1950’s.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has complied information that demonstrates there were almost 5,500 driving distraction collisions in 2009. At least 20% of that number including some type of cell phone usage. Many figures believe that texting while driving is even more dangerous than drunk driving. This may be while Maine had an unanimous vote to past this bill last summer.
The decrease in fatal accidents since the implementation of this law may also translate into better Maine car insurance premiums. Maine already enjoys premiums that are way below the national average. However, car insurance companies base their costs on the accident claims they receive. The fewer claims an auto insurance company has to process the more that money is changed into direct savings for the consumers. This can be especially good news for parents of teenagers whose inexperience make car insurance rates jump significantly.
Many companies and organizations have put together campaigns to educate the public, especially young people, about the dangers of distracted driving. Cell phone giant, AT&T, has a Texting Can Wait campaign including a short documentary titled “The Last Text” that has snippets of people who have been victims of distracted drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a website called www.distraction.gov and pop sensation, Justin Bieber, has even been spreading the work to prevent this problem.