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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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Maine Officials Cite Dangers of 'Intexticated Driving'

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Monday, May 1, 2023   

State leaders in Maine are calling attention to the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads and highways due to distracted driving.

The soundscape of texts and phone calls, the monitoring of GPS maps and even eating in the car are causing drivers to take their eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel.

Shenna Bellows, Secretary of State, said parents especially play an important role in teaching their children the dangers of what she calls "intexticated driving."

"Be a good role model. Put down that phone," Bellows urged. "You wouldn't risk their lives by drinking while driving so don't take that risk texting while driving."

It's against the law to text and drive in Maine. Bellows pointed out multiple violations can lead to the suspension of a license, but more importantly could cost people their lives. More than 3,000 citations are issued annually in Maine; about eight drivers per day.

Studies show mobile phone users receive on average more than sixty alerts every day and most are viewed within minutes, which can be especially risky while behind the wheel. Bellows recommended people put safety first and wait to respond to what are most likely unimportant messages.

"You can silence notifications," Bellows suggested. "You can set up automated messages that say, 'I'm driving. I'll see your message when I get there.'"

Bellows added such a simple step can save lives. The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows more than 3,500 people were killed due to distracted driving in 2021. About one in five of those killed were walking or riding their bikes.


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