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Maine anti-distracted driving effort involves messages on big rigs

The state is teaming up with three trucking firms to place messages on the side of 16 commercial trucks that warn drivers of the dangers of distracted driving.

The Associated Press

8/6/2014

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine officials rolled out a new initiative on Tuesday aimed at preventing drivers from using their cellphones on the road.

The state is teaming up with three trucking firms to place messages on the side of 16 commercial trucks that warn drivers of the dangers of distracted driving.

Among the signs on the trucks is one that says "one text or call could wreck it all." Officials said that more trucks will be included in the effort in the future.

Gov. Paul LePage said that 8,000 crashes and 41 deaths have been caused by distracted driving in Maine over the last three years. He pledged that if he's re-elected, he will work to strengthen the state's law against distracted driving.

"This is just irresponsible behavior," the Republican governor said. "We have to bring it to everyone's attention and I think these trucks are a start."

Texting while driving is banned in Maine, but it's legal to use a hand-held cellphone to make calls. Since the law allows people to dial a phone number, it can be difficult for law enforcement to determine if a driver is illegally texting on the road, said Maine State Police Chief, Col. Robert Williams.

Williams said that police are using several new tactics to try to cut down on distracted driving, including standing at intersections and on highway overpasses to view cars from above.


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