State police use unmarked van to deter texting

AUGUSTA — Maine State Police have found an innovative way to observe drivers texting behind the wheel, Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland says.

Using an unmarked van, troopers cited 23 motorists on the Maine Turnpike recently during a four-hour period, McCausland said in a prepared statement Friday. Many were texting.

As one trooper drove the van, a second trooper sat in the back observing other drivers' activities as they passed. In addition to texting, drivers were eating, reading or using the phone, all affecting their operation.

It was the largest number of motorists cited by State Police for distracted driving since the no-texting law went into effect last fall, McCausland said.

Maine’s latest highway death has been attributed to texting.

Penobscot County deputies said Tracy McPhee, 44, of West Enfield, died late Wednesday night in Eddington when her car suddenly went off the road and slammed into a tree.

An examination of her cellphone showed she had been texting moments before the crash.

Maine’s highway death toll for the year stands at 21, compared to 14 deaths at this same time in 2011, according to the Bureau of Highway Safety.

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 's picture

Only texting?

I hope they are nailing people for driving with dogs in their laps too!

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Or in a carrier on their rooftop...

...a la Romney!

 's picture

when i lived in presque isle,

when i lived in presque isle, they did the same thing to catch people racing between mars hill and houlton, and mars hill and presque isle.
i can't believe that it is only march and there have been 21 highway deaths this year already. people: dig your heads out of yourselves, put away your toys, and pay attention to the world around you.

AL PELLETIER's picture


Of all places to take your eyes off the road,The Maine Turnpike. I applaud the good police work by the State Police, but I know how to make their job much simpler. (I'll say it again). Ban all cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle. We wouldn't need two cops and a van. One cop in a squad car could easily spot a driver with a cell phone attached to his or her head, then have it followed with a hefty fine.


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