Is it illegal to text and drive in Maine?
What about using your phone to call?
To answer these questions, we’re going to take a look at everything you should know about the Maine texting and driving laws.
On top of that, we’ll also look at the penalties, other forms of distracted driving, how to avoid distractions, and much more.
With this, you’ll know what’s allowed and not allowed while you’re behind the wheel.
So let’s get started!
Texting and Driving Laws in Maine
Using your phone is considered to be one of the most common and dangerous driving distractions.
The reason for this is that it takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the steering wheel, and your mind off your driving tasks.
This is why, according to Maine’s law, you cannot:
- Use an electronic mobile device to text, read, and send messages or emails while operating a motor vehicle on a public highway
- Use an electronic mobile device to manipulate or talk to someone while operating a motor vehicle on a public highway
Keep in mind that Maine specifies these prohibitions when you’re on a public highway. This means that if you’re waiting at a stop sign or red light, you’re still NOT allowed to use your mobile device.
Texting and Driving Exemptions in Maine
You can only text and drive on a public highway if any of these instances occur:
- You are using your mobile device hands-free (NOTE: those who are below 18 and only have a learner’s permit are NOT allowed to use any mobile electronic devices, even if it’s hands-free).
- You are reporting a crime or an emergency
- You are a commercial or school bus driver and the use of a mobile device is needed to fulfill your duties
Texting and Driving Penalties in Maine
What happens if you’re caught texting and driving?
Maine’s penalties for these are:
- First offense: at least $250 in fines
- Second and subsequent offenses: $250+ fine and 30-day license suspension
If you are younger than18 and you hold a learner’s permit, getting caught texting while driving will also result in a traffic infraction.
Now, in Maine, the texting and driving law is primary enforcement. This means that traffic enforcement officers can pull you over if they see you using your phone while driving.
Other Forms of Distracted Driving in Maine
It’s important to note that there are secondary distracted driving laws in Maine.
This means that, though these actions are not illegal in and of themselves, you will be charged with distracted driving if it leads to another violation (i.e going over the speed limit, getting into an accident, careless driving, etc.)
So what are the other forms of distracted driving?
It is anything visual, manual, or cognitive that is not necessary to the operation of the vehicle.
- Visual distractions – anything that takes a driver’s eyes away from the road. Examples are accident scenes, scanning billboards, looking at a map, turning to talk to someone…
- Manual distractions – behaviors that take one or both hands off the steering wheel. Examples are putting on makeup, eating, drinking, reaching for something in your bag…
- Cognitive distractions – situations or behaviors that take your mind from driving. Examples are heated arguments over the phone or with a passenger, daydreaming, trying to handle rowdy children or pets…
As we said, these actions are not illegal. However, it can distract you, making you more prone to break other traffic laws. So it’s best to avoid these at all costs.
How to Avoid Distracted Driving
Let’s admit it — it’s hard to avoid distracted driving.
If so, here are some helpful tips that you can try out:
- Before driving, set your mobile device in hands-free mode and make sure that it is on speaker.
- If you don’t know how to get to your destination, set up your navigation app to guide you on where to go.
- Do not engage with anyone who will test your patience.
- If you are drowsy, pull over in a parking lot or a nearby accommodation so you can nap.
- To dial someone, pull over somewhere safe to place the number or use your phone’s voice assistant.
- Ask someone to help you keep the children or pets calm.
- If you’re hungry, make sure you eat before setting out.
These are just some of the ways you can avoid distracted driving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to know more? Here are some FAQs that can help.
Can you talk on the phone while driving in Maine?
You can talk on the phone while you’re driving in Maine. However, you can’t do this while you’re holding your phone – the phone should be placed on a stand or you must be using speaker phones.
That said, if you are below 18 years old or are holding a learner’s permit, then you CANNOT talk on the phone.
What are the top 3 driving distractions?
The 3 most common driving distractions are using your phone, eating and drinking (and no we don’t mean alcohol), and grooming. These actions are what almost all drivers take part in.
How can you tell if a driver is distracted?
Don’t want to get into an accident with a distracted driver?
Here are some signs that tell you if a driver is distracted:
- If they can’t maintain the same speed or if they are inconsistent with their speed
- If their posture while driving is bent down or if they’re looking anywhere other than the windshield
- If you notice them braking suddenly or if they break too frequently
- When they run a red light
- When they can’t stay in one lane
If you see these things happen, make sure to stay away from the vehicle so that you can avoid collisions. You can also honk lightly to help them regain focus on the road.
Can you wear earbuds while driving in Maine?
Maine doesn’t prohibit the use of earbuds while driving. You can even use earbuds or headphones when you answer calls.
However, since drivers can still get distracted when using earbuds (when they listen to loud music or talk with someone), we advise you to avoid using them if it prevents you from hearing or being more alert to your surroundings.
Is it illegal to eat and drive in Maine?
It’s not illegal to eat and drive in Maine. However, if this causes a violation or accident, then it will be charged as distracted driving. So while you won’t be penalized for doing these things, they should still be avoided to keep safe.
So that was everything you needed to know about the Maine texting and driving laws.
While Maine puts primary focus on cell phone use when it comes to dealing with distracted driving, know that all forms of distracted driving are dangerous.
So if you’re thinking about texting while driving or engaging in any other form of distracted driving — our advice?
It’s always better to practice safe driving.