Maine to ban texting

Mobile phone use while driving is common, but dangerous. Due to the number of accidents that are related to cell phone use while driving, some jurisdictions have made the use of a cell phone while driving illegal. Others have enacted laws to ban handheld mobile phone use, but allow use of a handsfree device. In some cases restrictions are only directed to minors or those who are newly qualified license holders.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage signed a new law that prohibits texting while driving. The law makes Maine the 33rd state to prohibit texting behind the wheel. Under the new law, which takes effect in September, violators will face a minimum fine of $100.

With the addition of Maine, 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have now banned text messaging by all drivers. Eight states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have prohibited all hand-held cell phone use while driving.

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign.

If you provide either cell phones or vehicles to your employees, lay down the law: No sending or reading text messages if you’re driving as part of your job. It’s illegal in 30 states.

Reinforce safety by placing a policy in your employee handbook. When you hand out cell phones or company cars, make employees acknowledge they understand the rules by having them sign a copy of your no-texting policy. Accidents involving a driver being distracted by talking on a mobile phone have begun to be prosecuted as negligence similar to speeding.