Maine bill would exempt police from texting while driving ban

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine lawmakers are considering a bill that would exempt police, emergency medical personnel and firefighters from the state's ban on texting while driving.

The Legislature's Transportation Committee is holding a public hearing Tuesday on the proposal.

Maine's ban on texting while driving went into effect in September.

The bill under consideration is sponsored by House Speaker Robert Nutting, who submitted it at the request of law enforcement officers.

Nutting's spokesman tells MaineToday Media he isn't necessarily sold on the idea, but thinks it's worth consideration.

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Comments

Beth Ring's picture

texting while driving

No one should be driving and texting. I turn off my phone in the car. It is impossible to be safe driving at a high rate of speed and taking your eyes off the road to do ANYTHING! This is asking for trouble. When trouble happens there will be excuses & the public will be in the dark. After a couple years, and lost lives, we'll be reading an article about how police officers and EMTs are no longer allowed to text and drive. Save us the grief; NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING FOR ANYONE.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

You people don't understand

You see these people bounce. Just ask the Lewiston officer who was t-boned with his lights and siren going, the other driver didn't see him coming out of Bartlet St.Lets not forget the Auburn cop who got his clock cleaned at Court and Minot Ave. Not to mention the emt, who died in Turner after being hit broadside at a high rate of speed. Don't forget there is usually at least one person totally unsecured in any ambulance at any given time.
These are just a few examples of something not a lot of people think about. These are human beings. They are just as capable as any of us of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their bodies break just as easy as anyone.
Now these examples I mentioned may or may not have had anything to do with texting, just imagine what will happen if their allowed to text.
No one allowed to text should mean NO ONE, Their job is dangerous enough don't let it become deadly.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

For years, emergency

For years, emergency personnel operated with radios and dispatchers. Now comes the technology era and they want to use gadgets instead of people. Well gadgets are only as good as the people operating them and if they are distracted then not only are they endangering the lives of others and themselves but they are also more apt to make mistakes with the technology. The emergency personnel are no different from anyone else and should not be exempt from this law under any circumstances....just my opinion

JON M SHOEMAKER's picture

TEXTING WHILE DRIVING - EMERGENCY PERSONNEL

It's dangerous for all people who text. Emergency personnel shouldn't be exempt. There has to be a better way to convey the information than texting while driving.

Matt Johnson's picture

More to the story

The reason for this law, is that, as the current ban on texting is written; it is illegal for a police officer, firefighter, or medical personnel, to look at their computer while they are operating. As written now, to legally look at the information pertaining to the call, they would be required to get off the road, stop, then look at the call particulars. This takes up time that they will not be responding to the emergency.

Jason Theriault's picture

Exactly

That is what they should be doing. If the information cannot be communicated via dispatchers, then they need to pull over.

Brian Allen Small's picture

Too Bad That There Is Not

Its a shame that the Sun Journal could not add an ignore feature to a certain poster!

You know the blame the Lepage guy?!!

 's picture

then you would be safe in

then you would be safe in your fantasy that your god lepage can do no wrong. And then you'd wonder why the state is going down the tubes.

Tim McClure's picture

Double Standard

This is shameful to say the least.

SCOTT THISTLE's picture
staff

good questions, good comments

A lot of good questions and comments on this story. I too was surprised this AP report did not tell us why they need to be exempt from this law? As it has been shown it can be as dangerous as driving under the influence and I can't honestly think of any reason why these emergency responders would need to be texting while on the job. If anyone knows the rationale behind this bill please let us know. Clearly the points made here, like - shouldn't they be setting the good example -- make a lot of sense, while this exemption, so far does not.

Jason Theriault's picture

WHY?

I would like to hear why they should be exempt.

 's picture

Another stupid republican

Another stupid republican idea, from the crook Nutting, no less. Guess this is payback for not arresting him for stealing a million bucks from MaineCare. Anyway, all emergency personal have radios installed, why do they ever NEED phones in their vehicles?

GARY SAVARD's picture

I'm not necessarily sold on

I'm not necessarily sold on the idea either. What's good for one is good for the other. Emergency personnel, police, etc. have sufficient on board equipment to satisfy their public safety needs without resorting to text messaging. Exempting this group from the new law is basically telling the public that these groups of people are so much better at multi-tasking than the rest of us that they are above the law they supported when it was introduced for consideration in the first place. More crapola from Big Brother...Do what we say, not what we do.

Steve Bulger's picture

Why an exemption?

I would love to hear from the individuals exempted by this legislation as to how they are less likely than anyone else to be involved in a distracted driving accident. Do these individuals have superhuman abilities that allow them to drive and text at the same time? This smacks of another "do-as-I-say, not-as-I do" so popular among government officials.

GARY SAVARD's picture

Steve, I didn't even see your

Steve, I didn't even see your post until I hit the save button. Obviously, you had the same reaction to this bill that I did.

Heather Sullivan's picture

Not only...

Not only that, but what about setting the example for the rest of us? I agre with you Steve, "Do these individuals have superhuman abilities that allow them to drive and text at the same time?"....They can become just as distracted as anyone else and cause an accident. I don't think that this is right!

Bob Woodbury's picture

Maybe...

...we could also exempt drivers who have had their license over 50 years as well. All that experience.

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