We’ve Had One Year Of Hands Free Driving In Maine. Has It Worked?
It was on 9/19/19 that Maine finally adopted it's hands-free driving law. We've had a 'distracted driving' law on the books for quite some time, loosely aimed at trying to stop people from texting and driving, but before that, we kept falling short of a law that required people to put their phones down and pay attention to the road.
Granted, I know literally tons of people that have hands-free devices of some kind or other in their cars. Or my wife's car for instance, has bluetooth capability, so the phone comes right in over the radio. But other than that, I definitely don't see hoards of cars pulled over by the side of the road taking and making phone calls.
The law was some eight years in the making, according to WGME - TV13, and the state has issued plenty of tickets for it, no doubt. But at the end of the day, is it really changing much? Like most things these days, I imagine the answer is yes, and no. A short drive anywhere will reveal that it hasn't changed a lot.
I still see tons of people openly, unabashedly even, yakking away with their phone glued to the side of their face, and plenty of daredevils with one eye one the road, one hand on the wheel, and one thumb on their stupid keyboard. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 3000 people a year die from distracted driving.
On the rare occasion I've heard someone complaining that they got a ticket for texting, I am quick to praise the officer for giving them a ticket...right to their face. I will never apologize for wanting our roads to be safer. I understand if it was an issue like seat belts. You not wearing one only endangers you. Texting or talking isn't safe for anyone.
So as Maine's hands-free law celebrates it's first birthday, I'd like to bake it a little cake. There is no conversation that can't wait ten minutes. Otherwise, pull over if you have to talk that bad. Unless it's an emergency, what could possibly be that important. Maybe in the long run it's better shut your mouth, and keep it in your pants! Your phone, that is.