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Distracted driving is illegal in Maine, but people still do it

For many years, lawmakers and law enforcement were more concerned about young people using cell-phones in vehicles than other drivers. In Maine, the first distracted driving law on the books specifically addressed drivers under the age of 18 using mobile devices.

However, Maine lawmakers have since taken a stricter stance on distracted driving. It is against the law for anyone to text while driving in Maine, and the law specifically creates liability for drivers who text at the wheel and cause a crash. In other words, if you believe that you are the victim of a distracted driver, you may have the right to hold that person accountable in court.

Drivers often don't worry about violating traffic laws

Using mobile devices behind the wheel is a very common practice, and it is incredibly dangerous. There are many layers to this danger. The first and most obvious is that your eyes are not on the road. Beyond that, you may also have to take one or both hands off the wheel to use a mobile device. Finally, when your mind is focused on something other than the task of driving, the risk of a crash is likely higher.

In order to reduce the risk to people on the road, Maine law prohibits anyone from texting while driving. The law creates both signs and the potential for a license suspension for repeat offenders. People understand that this is the law, so they may make efforts to hide what they are actually doing. Many people assume that they can safely text while driving, while also believing the practice is generally dangerous.

Drivers may place their phones in their laps or even try using dictation programs to keep their hands on the wheel. Unfortunately, even using dictation programs requires that your mind and eyes focus on your phone instead of the road. While you may understand how dangerous texting at the wheel is, you can't do anything to stop the people you share the streets with from engaging in this dangerous practice.

Distracted driving crashes often result in injuries or even death

Like drunk driving, distracted driving can result in truly catastrophic accidents. Traveling a long distance without fully focusing on the road is incredibly dangerous. A driver engaged and texting might not notice a pedestrian or a child on a bike. They may also fail to notice traffic signals, resulting in a multiple vehicle collision.

Every kind of crash carries a risk of injury, and personal injury law allows those who wind up hurt through the poor decisions of others to seek compensation for their losses. If you experience a car crash caused by a distracted driver, you may have the right to file a civil lawsuit and seek financial relief for your medical costs, property damage, lost wages and other costs related to the crash.

You should not have to absorb the financial consequences of someone else's poor decision-making. Before you choose to simply move on after a distraction-related crash, you might want to explore whether you have grounds for a successful lawsuit.

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Terry Garmey & Associates
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Portland, ME 04101

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