June 20, 2018
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Motorists run afoul of distracted driver law

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Maine motorists continue to violate the state’s distracted driver law, which targets motorists engaged in activities not necessary to the operation of the vehicle, including talking and texting on cell phones, despite the law having been in effect for four months now.

In his latest edition of Communicator, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland this week cites two recent cases of distracted driving.

In one case, state police Trooper Kyle Willette cited a man for failing to maintain control of his car while driving up Interstate 95 from Bangor. The man, McCausland said, was “swerving all over the road as he talked on his cell phone.” The driver “also had a small dog loose in the car, which he was trying to control.”

The other case involved a Bangor man who was cited after texting while driving from Augusta to Waterville, where he was pulled over, McCausland said. Trooper Sean Kinney reported that several motorists called in to report that the man’s SUV was weaving around Augusta.

“Kinney attempted to stop the vehicle two miles shy of Kennedy Memorial Drive, but the driver showed no response to the trooper’s blue lights until he pulled into a parking lot. Kinney said the driver was busy texting,” McCausland said. That driver was summoned for reading while operating a motor vehicle.

Under the new law, which took effect on Sept. 12, 2009, a driver who commits infractions such as running a red light or stop sign can be ticketed for those violations and also cited for distracted driving if a police officer believes that to be the underlying cause.

The fine for a single traffic infraction under the new state law can range up to $500 with the surcharges and fees added to the original ticket amount, according to news reports published in the Bangor Daily News last year.

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