Maine’s Hands-free Driving Law Takes Effect
So this is it. Thursday marks the first day you can no longer hold a cell phone while you drive a car. The law was passed a while back, but it -- as well as more than 500 other new laws -- went into effect Thursday.
Now, not all is lost. If you have the type of car with an "infotainment" system, you can still use your phone in the car by syncing it up to your car's audio system, making your phone hands-free. This will still be allowed under the new law. But pretty much all other forms of cell phone use will go right out the window.
And police will be out issuing tickets for the new law right away. there's no grace period or "phase-in" as it was put in the Portland Press Herald. And, if you think it's ok to get your phone out at a red light.... Nope. they'll get you there too.
Distracted driving is distracted driving. If you pause at a light because your looking at your phone, that means you're being distracted, according to the new law. This will be sure to cause some debate for police officers, as some folks will undoubtedly try to debate the point. But, if you do, you're still gonna get a ticket.
The first offense will be a $50 ticket. Each additional offense will carry a $150 fine. And again, law enforcement officials know it's going to be a rough rollout. They expect a lot of bounce-back, and a lot of folks claiming they didn't know. But I personally saw signs all over the highway when I was traveling to Portland this weekend. The word is out there.
I know I've slowly been getting myself accustomed to not looking at my phone. Every now and then, I sense it going off in my pocket, and have just been training myself to fight the urge to grab it. Hopefully, you've been doing the same. Because, starting today, you're gonna be in for a biiiiig surprise if you haven't.