woman on cellphone while driving

Maine Texting and Driving Law & Maine Distracted Driving Law

Maine’s texting while driving laws went into effect in 2019 when Governor Janet Mills signed An Act to Prohibit the Use of Handheld Devices and Phones While Driving (LD 165). The law tightened state rules which prohibit texting while driving that has been in place since 2011. A distracted while driving law is also in place in the state of Maine. You can learn about both below.

What is Maine’s texting while driving law?

Under Maine’s law on text messaging, you are not allowed to text while operating a motor vehicle on a public way. The use of the handheld electronic device is defined as “reading or manually composing electronic communications,” including instant messaging, text messaging, and email. (Title 29-A Section 2119).

What are the penalties in Maine for being caught texting while driving?

If you are charged with violating Maine’s law of texting while driving, you may receive a fine of no less than $250 for your first offense. If you are a repeat offender you may be charged with no less than a 30-day license suspension.

What if I’m at a stoplight? Can I text?

You may not text while temporarily stopped at a traffic light, a construction site, stop sign or any other temporary stop on a public way.

Is there more to the Maine texting law?

According to the Maine State Legislature, it is illegal for you to use, manipulate, talk into or interact with a handheld device or mobile telephone while operating your motor vehicle in a public way (Title 29-A Section 2121).

I’ve been injured in a car accident by a driver who was texting while driving. What do I do?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident by a driver who you believe was texting while driving, you need to contact an attorney. In addition to contacting the authorities, your insurance company, and getting the contact information of the driver who caused the accident, an attorney can help you get a settlement to cover the costs of your injuries and the costs of damage to your car.

What are the Maine laws about distracted driving?

Maine has a law about distracted driving under which it is illegal to engage in any activity that is not necessary to the operation of the vehicle, and impairs, or is reasonably expected to impair, your ability to safely operate the vehicle. Failure to maintain your vehicle is a traffic infraction. (Title 29-A Section 2118).

Can I use GPS while I’m driving?

Yes, GPS can be active while driving, but if you need to change an address, for example, it is required by law that you pull over to the side of the road.

Can I answer my phone while driving?

Yes, you can answer your phone while driving but you must use the hands-free option. You are not to hold the phone to operate it. If the phone is affixed to the vehicle you may use your hand to swipe, push or tap a button to answer.

What if my phone is in my pocket or on the seat next to me? Can I use it “hands-free?”

Yes, you can use your phone if it is in your pocket, cup holder, bag, or seat, but you cannot use your hands to tap, swipe or push a button on the phone unless it’s affixed to your vehicle.

Are there any age-related restrictions to Maine’s texting and distracted driving laws?

Yes, if you are under the age of 18, or have your learner’s permit only, you are not permitted to contact emergency personnel (like police officers or other emergency personnel) via handheld device while operating a motor vehicle (you are permitted to do so if over the age of 18, see below).

Exceptions to Maine’s texting and distracted driving laws

  • My job requires that I operate a commercially owned vehicle and I need to use my phone for work, is this allowed?

The use of a mobile telephone or a handheld electronic device is allowed within your scope of employment “as permitted under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.” (via Maine Legislature). This exception also applies if you are a school bus driver.

  • What if I need to text while driving in the case of an emergency?

You are permitted to contact emergency personnel like police officers or other emergency personnel. If you are under the age of 18 or operating a vehicle with a permit you are not granted this exception.

What else do I need to know about texting while driving?

There are a number of good resources that cover more scenarios:

I’ve been injured in a car accident by a driver who I believe was distracted while driving. What do I do?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident by a driver who you believe was driving distracted, you need to contact an attorney. In addition to contacting the authorities, your insurance company, and getting the contact information of the driver who caused the accident, an attorney can help you get a settlement to cover the costs of your injuries and the costs of damage to your car.

Contact Mann Law for a free consultation. Learn more about Mann Law, a female-run law firm.

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Christiana E. Mann Christiana “Chrissy” Mann has specialized in civil litigation for 21+ years as a savvy and creative litigator, and she’s regarded as a fair, compassionate, and zealous advocate on behalf of her clients.