Maine and Delaware Consider Restricting Drivers’ Cell Phone Use

January 16, 2009

The states of Maine and Delaware are considering limits on how drivers use cell phones.

A Delaware lawmaker is trying again to pass legislation barring the use of handheld cell phones while driving.

Rep. Joe Miro says he’s not interested in a complete ban on using phones while driving, but he says a handsfree device should be a requirement.

The Pike Creek Republican is proposing a $50 fine for drivers who send text messages or e-mails, or speak on a handheld cell while driving.

State Police claim cell phone use led to 214 crashes in 2007, with that number climbing to 252 last year.

In Maine, proposed restrictions on cell phone use by motorists may be gaining traction both on the state and local levels.

Four bills already filed in the newly seated Legislature would limit the use of cell phones by motorists. And in Bangor, the city’s government operations committee is preparing to discuss a possible ban on use of phones by drivers.

The National Safety Council recently recommended a nationwide ban.

The Maine Department of Public Safety plans to be involved in the discussion. Spokesman Stephen McCausland wouldn’t go into specifics, but said “the basic thing we advocate for drivers is to drive.”

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