June 3, 2011 | Washington, DC
Friday, June 3, 2011
Contact: Karen Aldana
WASHINGTON –- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today applauded Maine Governor Paul LePage for signing a strong new law that prohibits texting while driving. The law makes Maine the 33rd state to prohibit texting behind the wheel. Under the new law, which takes effect in September 2011, violators will face a minimum fine of $100.
"Distracted driving kills thousands of people every year on our roads and injures hundreds of thousands more," said Secretary LaHood. "By signing this tough texting ban into law today, Governor LePage has taken a crucial step to improve safety and save lives on Maine roads."
With the addition of Maine, 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have now banned text messaging by all drivers. Eight states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands have prohibited all hand-held cell phone use while driving.
In 2009, Secretary LaHood launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend of dangerous distracted driving behavior in America. The U.S. DOT has launched a dedicated website, Distraction.gov, to provide the public with a comprehensive source of information on distracted driving. The Department has also hosted two national summits devoted to the issue, crafted sample legislation which states can use to adopt distracted driving laws, and initiated pilot law enforcement programs in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y., modeled after the Department's successful efforts to increase seatbelt use and curb drunk driving.
In November, the Department of Transportation announced "Faces of Distracted Driving," a video series featuring people from across the country who have been injured or lost loved ones in distracted driving crashes. To watch videos from the "Faces of Distracted Driving" series and learn more about the U.S. Department of Transportation's campaign against distracted driving, visit www.distraction.gov.