We have learned from studies of the past decades that distracted driving here in the United States is a huge problem. Distracted driving is responsible for hundreds of accidents a year across the country. In some cases, these accidents are serious or fatal.
It’s not just because of our phones, either. Most of us have seen other drivers shave, do their hair (or do their makeup) or read (I knew a woman who read her scripts would drive to work) while they were on the road . And yes, of course, the main reason we get distracted when we are behind the wheel.
As a result, Maine police began cracking down on distracted driving. Many actively seek out people who play on their phones when they should be careful with driving.
Several weeks ago I took a last minute trip to a nearby convenience store to get lottery tickets. Since I knew I would still need at least an hour before I could have dinner, I also grabbed a bag of peanuts. I jumped in the car and drove home. About thirty seconds after exiting the parking lot, I spotted blue lights behind me. I quickly stopped, thinking he was going to walk past. No. He was stopping me. Because the vehicle I was driving had a headlight off, it wasn’t a huge surprise that I got pulled over.
The officer approached the driver’s window and asked if I knew why he was stopping. With my mouth full of peanuts, I explained that I thought it was because of the lighthouse. He explained that was one of the reasons and that he thought he saw me on my phone when I walked past him. I told him I wasn’t on my phone and motioned over the phone, still in its holder on my belt (yes, I’m that kind of dumbass).
For a second, I didn’t understand why he thought I had used my phone. Then it hit me! What he thought was me holding my phone, it was actually me eating a handful of peanuts. It was a bigger bag of peanuts so before exiting the convenience store parking lot, I poured some in my hand and put the rest of the bag in the console between the seats.
My mouth still partly filled with peanuts, I tried to explain that they were peanuts. The poor cop looked at me and said “what?” I choked the rest of the nuts and tried again. This time he got it.
He took my license and my insurance certificate and went to his cruiser to do the necessary checks. He came back a few minutes later, told me to fix the light, and told me to have a good night’s sleep.
We are lucky to have such good cops in Augusta!
This is where someone says: “But, technically, eating counts as a distraction while driving!”
The non-telephone portion of Maine’s distracted driving law says:
defines distracted driving as operating a motor vehicle while engaging in an activity “which is not necessary for the operation of the vehicle” and “which actually interferes with, or could reasonably be expected to interfere with, the ability of the person to operate the vehicle. person to operate the vehicle safely. “When combined with other factors established by § 2118, distracted driving can contribute to the inability to maintain control of a motor vehicle, which is a traffic violation.
Thus, it appears that the non-telephone portion is at the discretion of the arrested agent.
Read the entire law HERE.