AAA, Senator Diamond and Local Law Enforcement Remind Motorist About New Hands-Free Law

Safety Advocates Encourage “Passenger Pressure” & Activating “Do Not Disturb While Driving”

windham pd hands free law

Contact: Pat Moody 207/780-6916 or Cell 207/838-8957

AAA Northern New England, Senator Bill Diamond and local law enforcement will be “hitting the road” educate motorists prior to the September 19th “hands free” law change.  AAA and Senator Diamond will be partnering with local law enforcement in four communities throughout the state on Wednesday September 18th to help spread the word about Maine’s new law and encourage motorists to activate the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature of their smartphone. Maine’s new anti-distracted driving law requires that electronic devices used while driving be hands-free.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “about 3,000 people die and 400,000 are injured in the U.S. each year in crashes involving distracted driving.” Despite bans in 47 states, smartphone use behind the wheel is a common problem. New research released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that even though 97 percent of drivers say texting or emailing while driving is a serious or very serious threat to their safety, 45 percent admit to having read a text or email while driving in the past month and 35 percent admit to typing one.

A 2019 Maine Bureau of Highway Safety observational study found that 6.1% of Maine motorists are manipulating a cell phone while driving. Maine cell phone use rates were highest among those deemed to be under 25 years old and lowest among those judged to be 60 years old or older. The Maine results also indicated that there is a bigger distracted driving problem during the weekday than opposed to weekend travel.

A recent AAA survey revealed that passengers are persuasive and can be effective at discouraging intexticated driving. Respondents cited that children or a passenger asking a motorist to stop driving intexticated is an effective countermeasure to change driver behavior.

WHAT: AAA, Senator Diamond & Local Police officers will be reminding motorists of the new law effective date 9/19. Senator Diamond and others will be handing out factsheets and encouraging motorists to activate the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature of their smartphone.

WHO: Pat Moody, AAA Northern New England, Sen. Bill Diamond (law sponsor) and local law enforcement from Waterville Police Department, Augusta Police Department, Scarborough Police Department and Windham Police Department.

WHEN & WHERE: Wednesday September 18th

9:30-10:30 Waterville - Commons Drive Walmart Parking Lot

                12:00-1:00 Augusta - 201 Civic Center Drive Walmart Parking Lot

                2:30-3:30 Scarborough - 500 Gallery Blvd Walmart Parking Lot

                4:30-5:30 Windham - 30 Landing Rd Walmart Parking Lot

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides 60 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services.  Operating 19 offices throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, AAA Northern New England is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying corporation and a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.  Today, AAA members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing and buying programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip-planning services, and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available by visiting www.AAA.com.  For more information visit AAA.com/DontDriveDistracted.