NEWS RELEASE from the Maine Department of Public Safety
from Spokesman Steve McCausland - 626-3811
FOR MORE INFO – LAUREN STEWART, DIRECTOR OF HIGHWAY SAFETY – 626-3840
Governor Paul R. LePage, along with the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety and State Police, today unveiled a new public awareness campaign against distracted driving. The centerpiece of the campaign is signage on several large commercial trucks that travel in Maine, with the message, “One Text or Call, Can Wreck it All”. So far 16 trucks have the signage on their cargo sections and the Bureau of Highway Safety intends to add to that number.
“What better way to remind Maine drivers than to reach them while they are actually driving on Maine roads,” said Lauren Stewart, Director of the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety. “The Bureau has made the reduction of distracted driving one of its main priorities. It’s a great way to reinforce the message that we want you to ‘Survive Your Drive.’”
Governor LePage praised the effort and the Maine based trucking firms who are taking part in the safety campaign. He said he has seen the trucks in his travels around the state. “I commend our Maine-based distributors for stepping up with their trucks and partnering with the State on this important campaign,” said Governor LePage. “Last year, according to the Department of Transportation, 3,111 car crashes in Maine were caused by distracted driving. One crash is too many. Mainers can count on my administration to move forward with this message and to enforce our laws.”
In addition to the signage, the Bureau has allocated funding to the State Police for several special enforcement efforts, which will begin this month. All of the funding to combat distracted driving comes from federal highway safety grants and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In all over $600,000 in federal money is being used to conduct the safety and public awareness effort.
The Chief of the State Police, Colonel Robert Williams, said troopers will be looking for distracted drivers utilizing several unconventional methods such as troopers standing on highway overpasses, at street intersections and patrolling in non-traditional patrol vehicles, including trucks. Williams said, “Distracted drivers are everywhere and not paying attention to their driving. State Police plan to send the message -- no distractions and no excuses.”