U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is commending Maine Governor Paul LePage for signing a strong new law that prohibits texting while driving. 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 DOT has launched a dedicated website, Distraction.gov, to provide the public with a comprehensive source of information on distracted driving. The DOT 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., to increase seatbelt use and curb drunk driving.