September 20, 2017
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Comments for: Secretary of State proposes stricter changes to teen driving laws

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  • Dan Troop

    “On the penalty side, Summers wants to increase the minimum fine for texting while driving from $100 to $350, and increase the suspension periods for traffic infractions imposed to drivers who have juvenile provisional licenses.”

    I’m not sure increasing fines is the answer. Why not simply make it a violation for anyone operating a motor vehicle on a provisional license to even have a cell phone on while driving. If it’s not on in the first place then there is no incentive to text. If they are caught operating their cell phone while they are driving their license is immediately suspended for one year.

    • Anonymous

      License suspension seems to mean nothing to anyone any more… Jail might get the message out!

      • Anonymous

        How much will it cost to keep people in jail verses  a fine  ?

        • Anonymous

          How much is a burial these days?   Or a long hospital stay?

        • poormaniac

          How about we jail them and have them pay for it !

          • Anonymous

            an if they can’t or won’t pay what will you do ?

          • poormaniac

            Put them to work , chain gangs come to mind.

          • Anonymous

            ok that soud good but you still half to pay for them while they are in prison

          • poormaniac

            I’d take the pay away as restitution first to the victims and secondly to the state.

  • Anonymous

    None of these ideas seem unreasonable to me.  I’m usually against more laws,  but this is important.  Practice, practice, practice.

  • Anonymous

    This doesn’t happen very often but I am in total agreement with Secretary of State Summers on this one. Well almost. I don’t think he goes far enough when it comes to texting while driving. How about the first offense is 15 days in jail as well as a fine. A message needs to be sent and unfortunately the penalty needs to be so severe that it gets people’s attention.

    • Anonymous

      I am in agreement that a stiff penalty and message needs to be sent but I have a very hard time accepting jail time. I have a 15 year old daughter with her permit and very anxious to receive her license next fall. I have been hoping that these new proposed changes would go into effect ASAP and apply to her; we are considering adopting these proposed changes ourselves to be assured her driving skills are the best they can be. As far as penalties go on top of the suggested fine, I would promote loss of license for 90 days with a credit for community service to partially offset; I also would promote loss of cell phone / texting services (I think this would be the most devastating penalty). Jail time could have additional ramifications; a student struggling academically put in jail for 2 weeks could promote a downward spiral that could cause long term issues.

      • Anonymous

        If you think a child losing a cell phone/texting services is devastating what do you call it when that same child is placed in a black body bag and transported to either a funeral home or morgue?

    • Anonymous

       We certainly don’t want kids in jail. 

  • Anonymous

    No one should be making calls unless pulled off the road.All the warnings they give no one listens.Adults are doing the same as the teens. Adults and teens put them in their laps so the police dont see them.thats why you see everyone with their heads in their laps and not on the road.I do not drive and talk.If you know you are talking to someone while they are driving just hang up.Tell them to call when they ge5t to their destination or pull over.It will be just as much your fault if someone gets hurt while texting you if You know about it.how would you feel? THINK people!

  • Anonymous

    its about time

  • Anonymous

    I think that parental responsibility plays an important role in all of this.  I truly agree with the Maine Secretary of State’s movement and interest given to this dramatic problem.  However, there will always be those who are just coming to their lifelong driving age, will unfortunately still make the mistakes as pointed out in the article.  The proposals are excellent!  On the cell phone usage in a vehicle, what is said so often are vehicles are private “things” according to law, and if someone is driving and talking to a passenger, his or her attention is diverted just the same as using a cell phone and the law enforcement agencies cannot touch that driver; or even smoking in the vehicle when a child is under the age of 8 years old.  Just like cellphone usage, or if the driver is operating a CD, the radio or doing something else.  States, individually, can impose restrictions on cell phones (and have already) but law enforcement still has an outlying big problem! 

    • Anonymous

      No points to argue there,  well put.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for that! 

  • kcjonez

    Charlie isn’t too concerned about the youth vote for his senate race I guess.  

  • I do not know about the fines . Being real about a serious problem is a start. Get these kids off the road if they do not obey the law. It is getting so texting is killing more people than drunk drivers do. How about make the punishment the same.

    • Anonymous

      What about all people that don’t obey the laws get them off the road

  • Anonymous

    Take the cell phones, give them low powered cars, and no one in the cars other than parents untill 21 years of age!!
    An accident while proved to be using cell phone… Jail Time…

    • Harry H Snyder III

      Let me get this right;

      You believe the threat of jail time will stop teens from driving poorly when the threat of death does not?

      • Guest

        Didn’t you just post that “kids are hard-wired to take risks”?  
        If there’s one constant with youths of either gender, it’s that they have NO fear of death: they’re ‘invincible’!
        It used to be that a minor facing the wrath of your parents making sure you didn’t drive after messing up was a more meaningful deterrent than the threat of death.

        • Harry H Snyder III

          I don’t get your point.  Yes they are hardwired to take risks.  Jail, parental wrath, death are all risks.  …and yeah they are all unhappy about consequences….after the fact.

          • Guest

            My question was: Which is the better deterrent, death of which they have no fear? Or the fear of loosing an important privilege at the hands of responsible angry parents?  I venture the latter because that’s the only thing that matters to them.

            Who’s unhappy with a fatal decision after death? No one knows!   

            That’s my (elusive) point.

  • Anonymous

    So you can get married and have kids at 18, but need a supervisor to drive them somewhere, get real, they can go to war and die, but can not drive, give me a break.  No argument on the texting.  Talking on a hands free device is no difference then talking to someone in the car.

  • Anonymous

    Most young drivers are doing fine with 35 hours of driving. Why penalize them, because a few misfits abuse their driving privilege? Keep the current rules.

    • Harry H Snyder III

      Education/instruction  is not a “punishment.”

  • Anonymous

    Wow…so much support for this stuff. I disagree.Either we decide that a 16 year old is old enough to drive and we license them after an appropriate driving class, or we decide they are not old enough and make them wait two more years til they are 18. I think this nit-picking regulation of new drivers is ridiculous.
    From what I have seen in the news reports, most of the fatal accidents are from the 18 to 21 year olds–not the 16 and 17 year olds. Perhaps a driving class should be required of any new licensee, regardless of age.

    • Anonymous

      Yes i was thinking the same thing about new drivers too .

  • Anonymous

    More nanny stateism.  I got my license at 15.  None of this b.s. existed then and somehow I survived.  There always was and always will be jerks on the road of various ages.  Let the parents decide if the kid is mature enough to get a license and hold them responsible for their kids.

    • Anonymous

      Let the parents decide if their teen is mature enough? I think that is one of the reasons why people drive so badly these days. Mom and dad tailgate, so will junior, mom and dad runs every red light so will junior, mom and dad talk on the phone while driving so will junior. People don’t seem to realize it’s not so much what they tell their kids but their actions that impress kids. Then lets not forget people think their kid never does anything wrong, it’s always some other kids fault when theirs gets in trouble.

      • Anonymous

        Soooo, let’s have the state take more of our freedom of choice and give us a cookie cutter “solution” instead?  This kind of thinking is why we are sl0wly being turned into a useless socialist country.  Stop giving up your freedoms were illusions of security!

        • Anonymous

          Nope not saying that at all. I’m saying since parents
          are biased about their children and maybe not the
          best judge of their childrens maturity.
          Every car who comes screaming down an
          on ramp, not looking, not yielding, texting and
          on a phone, 98% are teens and people in their
          20’s. Sooo, tell me this is not a new problem
          did anyone think for one moment maybe we shouldn’t
          drive and text, maybe we should follow rules and
          signs, maybe I suck at driving and not paying attention and should stop? No

        • poormaniac

          How about we just encourage the cops to do their jobs.  Open your eyes to see how many people actually break various motor vehicle laws.

        • Harry H Snyder III

          SOCIALISM  is an economic system. The word for a government which removes freedoms from some, but not all, groups is “fascist.”

          • Anonymous

            I’m pretty sure that in the 1930’s there was a group called National “Socialists” who liked to remove rights.  You may have heard of one of their star politicians, little guy named Adolph.

          • Harry H Snyder III

            Read again.  “socialism” is an economic system.  China calls itself “the people’s Republic”(just like us) unfortunately that doesn’t make it so.

        • Anonymous

          Nope not saying that. Just saying by the way
          teens and people in their 20’s drive maybe their
          parents should have taken a refresher course
          before taking their kids out on the road

    • Yawningattrolls

      This is exactly why the State needs to make these decisions, not all parents are responsible enough to do anything more than indulge their children’s claim to a perceived entitlement – when instead it is a privilege granted by the state.  I have seen too many immature teenagers (and even at some 18) who are literally a danger to society when they hit the road.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting I was 15 and you could get a license. Instead of them keep changing the laws, or rules maybe you should wait till everyone turns 21 to get their license, why not 25. You can change it all you want, but there are always going to be violations.  Maybe we aught to have Charlie supervise all those teens who want a license.

    • Harry H Snyder III

      Back in the Seventies the humorous quip on this subject was “make the speed limit 21, and the age to get a license 55”

    • Anonymous

      No, maybe the parent, uncles, aunts, grandparents will want to see these kids grow up, and they could pitch in…?

  • Anonymous

    They talk about improving the education programs for drivers. We should start teaching driving skills from a very young age, much like we teach language skills from a very young age. By the time they are old enough to drive all of the basic good driving traits will be instinctual. We should also do what they do in Finland and basically train every driver to be a rally car driver.

  • Anonymous

    how about requiring old fogies once they hit eighty to take bi-annual road tests. They are more of a menace than young people. These teens need to get to work and school. Let’s not make it ridiculously tough to get a license.

    • Anonymous

      I’m glad the elderly drive slow, follow the speed limits or slower, stop when the light turns yellow, makes a complete stop at stop signs and actually look and yield getting on the interstate,  don’t TAILGATE but I have a hard time seeing how they are a menace. Only people who speed, run red lights, don’t yield (cause they over slept from partying the night before and are late for work) seem to think the elderly are a problem.  I’ve seen plenty of young people, more as a matter of fact do the same things as the elderly and worse.You might change your mind about that when you get old, if you do, if your lucky…..

    • Harry H Snyder III

      Actually if you look at the statistics they are about the same (nationwide) but here in Maine (some say the oldest state in the union) elders seem to do a couple of points better than teens at staying alive.  Here’s another; big rigs are involved (nationwide) in the same precentage of fatalities as teens and older drivers.  Maybe they should get the same consequences? 

      When this subject arises (and it arises often…. everywhere… ) I can’t help feeling that State regulators pick teens out of these three groups because they have less ability to fight the system effectively.

      I hope I’m wrong.

      • Guest

        Ahh, but according to a History Channel show I saw just yesterday titled ‘The history of trucking in America”, (nationally) big rigs are only found at fault in 12% of fatal crashes involving 2 or more vehicles.

        “We speak in generalities, but live in the details”.

        • Harry H Snyder III

          You bring up an interesting point.  Since cops dislike teenagers (in general) and see truckers as “workers” is there a prejudice in “findings?”
          “We speak in generalities, but live in the details”.

          • Guest

            I’m really not one for ‘generalized’ unsubstantiated  conspiracy theories.

            I was hoping that neither were you.

          • Harry H Snyder III

            Yes you are, but only when those ” unsubstantiated  conspiracy theories” fit your beliefs.  Teenagers are treated differently from adults by police.  That is a fact.

          • Guest

            I am? In what substantiated way?
            I believe in the roots of stereotypes, the occasional inept and corrupt public officials (and people, etc etc), and that every joke has a basis in truth, but I’ve never been a Birther guy. Only the paranoid believers in spooks do that.
            I may be a jerk, but can you substantiate, through my 1500 comments here, that I am a conspiracy theorist? NO!! I won’t even mind if you hit the ‘follow’ button to prove it.

            Grasping for straws is beneath you.

    • Anonymous

      Here is the thing, you can be a poor driver at any age.

      If, as a society we are truly interested in road safety, we need to retest after the initial license.

      Why not do it on a periodic schedule that is easy to remember: ten year anniversaries from your very first license.  Thus, start at age 16?   Then at age 26 you get another written, vision, and road test.  Same at ages 36, 46, 56, 66, 76, 86, 96, 106, etc.  You fail, you have 30 days to study up, get retrained, get new eyeglasses so you might pass again.

      People can be a menace on the road at any age: drinking problems, arrogance, inexperience, simple lack of knowledge.

      Expensive, you say?  Factor the cost of hospital bills, rehab, police, ambulance, fire, road workers, etc.  Not to mention deaths.   What is THAT cost?

      Within a generation or two, the culture behind the wheel would change, and people would stop thinking they could *drive just fine after a few…* and other presumptions.

      If we are truly serious about road safety….

      • Guest

        With a couple of minor exceptions, I like how you think!

  • jimbobhol

    When parents don’t teach personal responsibly to there children,  there’s no law written on a piece of paper that will. 

  • The guy is running for senate.

    This just an Attention Gettter!

    • Anonymous

      I dislike almost everything Charlie Summer stands for–except these common sense rules which I support wholeheartedly.

      To be fair, he put these ideas out to the public way before Olympia Snowe ever sneezed. (see first linked story above, dated Nov. 6, 2011)

      Why the BDN is reprinting that article now, practically word for word?? Another question…

      • Anonymous

        What is it about Secretary Summers you dislike? His on-going service to this great country in the Naval Reserves? His service to Senator Olympia Snowe, one of the few Republicans even Democrats can love? His years running the SBA in New England, helping small businesses prosper? His hard work ethic established in his youth in the hotel industry? I expect it has nothing to do with his lovely family, right?

        Or is it that R after his name? If that is the case, please consider that it is hypocritical for anyone on the left to preach about “diversity” while maintaining zero tolerance for Republicans, especially conservative ones.

        • Anonymous

          Yep, all those.   Except maybe his family, who I do not know…

          Seriously, I have voted for Repubs in my time, no more.  

          Same as I have voted for Dems in my time, no more.  

          A pox upon both their houses!

          As to Charlie, his Tea Party slavishness is a start, to dislike him. 

          Add in his work at Voter Supression…I am (positively) surprised at the common sense of his work on young drivers’ responsibilities.

  • Anonymous

    All this is, is a $$$$$$ maker for the state of Maine, not for the lives of these kids

  • LLS

    I thought it was democrats who liked to over legislate? A one year permit requirement is punitive for responsible kids who need a licence to work in summer or at after school jobs or join the military reserve , etc. (I guess an 18 year old can go die in Iraq but has to drive around with mommie for a year before he/she can get a Maine licence?) You’ll punish all kids for a minority of mostly young male show offs  who abuse their driving privileges? No wonder young people are leaving Maine! How about cheaper drivers ed in Maine instead? Or public education: If kids work for their own car, they usually don’t want to wreck it. Why not exemptions for kids who work or join the military?

    • Anonymous

      Lots of young ladies driving off the road or wrapping themselves around trees too…

  • Harry H Snyder III

    There is obviously a limit on the “concern” people have for teenagers.  It is OK to propose fines, and more restrictions, but miss the modifications which cost society a bit more money, even if they  yield real results.

     Now don’t get all upset, I’m no big fan of wasting taxpayer dollars, but in the cases of young drivers. I’m willing to give school based driver training a whirl.  When driver’s education is taught in a school setting, for credit, by a certified teacher the outcome can be impressive.
       
     The curriculum should be two years, and should start in the eighth grade.  The first year should be totally classroom based, and no junior license should issue without a satisfactory grade on the written and memorized section of the course. My school graded PASS/FAIL. You could also pass all the written work, and fail for attitude.

    The second part of the course should begin when students attain the State mandated age to operate a vehicle under supervision.  In my high school students all started in grade 9.  The State issued a ‘learner’s permit’  which allowed students taking the course a to drive under supervision if they were under age. This action did not change the age of  full licensure.
     
     The sad truth is nothing will totally eliminate teenage driving deaths.  School based driver training will give students the tools and ability to recognize dangerous situations and avoid them.
     
    One more item, adolescents are hard-wired to take risks, it is what they did for adult society before we were “civilized.” That behavior will not be changed by fines, or harsh punishment. The risk-taking behavior can only be mitigated by a long-term program of instilling responsibility.  That is the parent’s job.

    • Guest

      Well said.

  • Anonymous

    The driving experience hours mandated truly matter not.  There is no way to know how many hours they have truly driven as the information is recorded by the parent/student and they can write anything they want for number of hours.  

    I wish there was a foolproof way to stop people from both texting and driving and drinking and driving but there is not.  As far as I am concerned set the fine for texting to whatever you want – I am of the mind that if it deters any teen from picking up the phone while driving it is a good thing.

    • Anonymous

      There is a foolproof way to stop texting and driving, but the people that haven’t been affected by tragedy will not hear of it. These devices could be made so the texting function would not operate if in motion. I would not recommend holding your breath while waiting for this to happen. I suspect there could be a lot of money behind the telecommunications lobby.

  • Anonymous

    More big brother. Fines are regressive and serve to embitter people. Simply take their license away for a time each time longer if they don’t get it.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously…what difference does this make?  When the penalties for driving under suspension are barely inconvenient, why bother?

    Kids know when their parents make empty threats…EVERYONE knows it when the state does.

  • Yawningattrolls

    I personally do not see the reason for any teenager to obtain a license or permit until they are eighteen.  Most teenagers who drive do so for convenience or in the case of Waldo County to tear around looking for a party at 2 am in the morning.  Think of the savings in gas, insurance premiums, and lives; driving should be left to responsible adults, not immature or spoiled children.

  • Anonymous

    Summers proposing the same solution every hack has ever proposed…more laws..more fines…why not bump the minimum driving hours up to 30,000,000 and then increase the fines to 100 trillion?  More laws more fines…rinse and repeat…solves all the worlds problems…insanity… all of it…

  • Hopefully this would result in better teen insurance rates – that on top of the improved safety would be worthwhile.

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