What doctors recommend and what Maine is doing

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To help your young driver:

AAA and other groups sponsor “Get Out Alive” announcements, safety speakers, defensive driving and pre-driver classes. To find out more, call AAA’s Get Out Alive project coordinator Rayette Hudon at 780-6988. Five-hour defensive driving classes begin in September and continue through the school year.

There will be a Web page for “Get Out Alive” in the coming weeks.

Another source: Maine Bureau of Highway Safety: http://www.maine.gov/dps/bhs/

Maine was ranked second in the nation in youth-related fatal crashes in a report released by two doctor-led groups, which made recommendations in their report.

Doctors recommend: Prior to receiving a driver’s license, all drivers under age 18 must have parental certification of 30 to 50 practice hours of behind-the-wheel training with an adult over 21, with at least 10 hours of night driving.

Maine response: Maine requires 35 hours of practice with a licensed driver 20 years of age or older. There is no requirement that a certain number of hours be at night.

Doctors recommend: New driver holds a learner’s permit for at least six months.

Maine response: Already required.

Doctors recommend: Drivers under 18 cannot drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Maine response: For first six months, young drivers can’t drive between midnight and 5 a.m.

Doctors recommend: No more than one passenger under the age of 18.

Maine response: For first six months, new drivers can have no passengers except immediate family members or others over 18.

Doctors recommend: Drivers under 18 must wear seat belts.

Maine response: By law, all drivers must wear seat belts.

Doctors recommend: Drivers under 21 who are caught for any alcohol-related violation lose their license until they turn 21.

Maine response: Anyone under 21 caught for an alcohol-related violation has their license suspended for one year. If the under-21 driver has an under-age passenger when the violation happened, he or she faces an additional six-month suspension.

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Sources: End Needless Death on Our Roadways and the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma; Maine Secretary of State’s Office

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