Maine will become the 20th state in the nation to enact a hands-free driving law when the measure goes into effect on Sept. 19, reports Fosters Daily Democrat.
The state’s new law bans talking, texting or using a handheld device while driving — even while temporarily stopped at a stoplight or in stalled traffic. The legislation passed both the House and Senate in early June, and was signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills on June 29, according to the report.
As the law is soon to take effect, a number of police departments across the state are taking time to educate the public on exactly what it means, reports News Center Maine.
Maine already has a law that prohibits texting while driving, including instant messaging and sending emails. The state also has another law that bans drivers under the age of 18 from using any mobile telephone or handheld electronic device.
The difference is that as of Sept. 19 all drivers over 18 will only be allowed to use cellphones in hands-free mode.
For a first violation, motorists will face minimum fines of $50 and $250 for subsequent offenses.
Distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives in 2017 alone, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.