Berkeley Elias / Staff Photographer

Jenasa Staples, Staff Writer

A new distracted driving law is going into effect Sept. 19 with the hope to protect Maine drivers.

The new law will be for “hands free” driving. If police officers see hands anywhere besides the wheel, they will have the right to pull drivers over. Using GPS on a phone is still allowed as long as it is mounted on the dashboard. If the driver needs to change the address of where they are going, they will need to pull over to navigate their phone.

USM police officer Richard Disney said that hands free not only means discontinuing the use of devices while driving but it means discontinuing any distracting behavior, including combing hair or drinking coffee.

“I’ve been a cop for 30 years and I’ve seen a lot of accidents caused by distracted driving,” said Disney.

This new law encourages people to pull over rather than texting while driving. According to the (CDC), roughly nine people a day in the United States are killed by distracted driving and one thousand people are injured.

Disney claims Bluetooth is not considered distracted driving and will still be allowed. Disney said that he thinks it will be the right approach to the issue, but that it will need to be heavily enforced.

The repercussions for breaking this law are fines starting at fifty dollars and will increase for repeat offenders. The fine money will be used for funds towards transportation projects and services.



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