News | Distracted Driving

Our View: Lawbreaking motorists shouldn’t be able to hide in Maine

Portland Press Herald
April 20, 2017

Our cars and trucks are safer than ever. So why is the number of Americans dead or injured in crashes each year continuing to climb? We can’t ignore the facts anymore: Phone distraction is killing people on our roads, and as evidence mounts about the hazards of phone use by motorists, a renewed push to ban hand-held devices in motor vehicles in Maine deserves legislators’ support.

Nationwide, according to federal regulators, about 3,500 people were killed in distracted-driving crashes in 2015, around 10 percent of total traffic deaths. The same year, distracted driving was involved in 14 percent of all traffic accidents nationally.

The evidence keeps on piling up, including a report released earlier this month: Based on data from hundreds of thousands of drivers, Cambridge Mobile Telematics found that phone distraction had occurred during 52 percent of trips that resulted in an accident.

Texting while driving is making our roads less safe, and Maine’s current regulations don’t go far enough to discourage it. We can’t sit by while the problem gets worse – let’s move ahead with a proposal that will make it harder for the lawbreakers on our state’s roads to hide.

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