Breaking News
More () »

The dangers of distracted driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. As part of a statewide campaign, law enforcement agencies in Maine will be on the lookout for distracted drivers.

MAINE, Maine — The Maine State Police Department is reminding drivers of the dangers of distracted driving

Sgt. Daniel Hanson said distracted drivers are on the rise in Maine, and no text or phone call is worth your life or someone else's.

As part of a statewide campaign, law enforcement agencies in Maine will be on the lookout for distracted drivers beginning this week.

Violating Maine's distracted-driving laws can be costly. A first offense is a $50 fine, but subsequent violations are $250.

"Distracted driving is a huge issue here in the state of Maine and in the country as a whole. Back in 2020, 3,100 people [in the U.S.] lost their lives associated with distracted driving crashes," Hanson said. "Here in Maine, we expect approximately 45 people will die as a result of distracted driving crashes this year."

He said crashes in Maine are up 30 percent so far this year. 

"With that startling number, we expect that number could rise to over 45 death," Hanson said.

According to the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes. 

The agency said each year in Maine, distracted driving results in more than 3,446 crashes, more than 535 injuries, and approximately 45 deaths. 

"In that brief moment, you don't know what's happening. When you look down, when you are focused on your phone or focused on another task, there can be a hazard approaching you on the roadway that you are not going to be able to respond to," Hanson said.

"It is well known that distracted driving has become a national issue, and Holden PD is doing its part by enforcing the law. The main goal here is not to write tickets, but to reduce/eliminate crashes caused by distracted drivers," Holden Police Lt. Eddie Benjamin told NEWS CENTER Maine.

Here are several tips from AAA for a safe driving experience:

  • Ask your passenger to be your "designated texter" (allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages).
  • Ask your passenger to be on the lookout for other drivers who may not be paying attention.
  • Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
  • Activate your phone's "do not disturb" feature, or put your phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.

The Department of Public Safety's Bureau of Highway Safety also urges drivers to focus on the road and nothing else when behind the wheel.  

More NEWS CENTER Maine Stories

Before You Leave, Check This Out