Last Friday, June 3, Maine Governor Paul LePage signed a new law that prohibits texting behind the wheel. Under the new law, which takes effect in September 2011, violators will face a minimum fine of $100. The new law is designed to strengthen a 2009 Maine law that more generally prohibited distracted driving but was felt not insufficient to deal with the huge safety risk of texting while driving. In Nevada, a bill that bans any non-hands-free use of a cell phone while driving passed through the State Senate and Assembly on June 4th and is now awaiting the governor’s approval. Under the new law, the use of a cell phone while driving will be considered a primary offense, with offenses carrying progressively increasing fines. Anyone convicted of a third offense will have their driver’s license suspended for 6 months. 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. There is an ongoing national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend of dangerous distracted driving behavior in America. The U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) has launched a dedicated website, Distraction.gov, to provide the public with a comprehensive source of information on distracted driving. The Department has also hosted two national summits devoted to the issue, crafted sample legislation which states can use to adopt distracted driving laws, and initiated pilot law enforcement programs in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y., modeled after the Department’s successful efforts to increase seatbelt use and curb drunk driving. In addition, last November, the DOT announced “Faces of Distracted Driving,” a video series featuring people from across the country who have been injured or lost loved ones in distracted driving crashes. The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving auto accidents. For over 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and surrounding areas. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help. To learn more, watch our videos.