Maine Transportation Committee Fails to Pass Cellphone & Helmet Bills
Two bills recently submitted to the Maine State Legislature's Transportation Committee have been defeated, again.
For at least the second time, "An Act To Require Motorcyclists To Wear Helmets" and "An
Act To Prohibit Handheld Mobile Telephone While Operating A Motor Vehicle" both received "ought not to pass" conclusions by the committee. Representative Paulette Beaudoin, a democrat from Biddeford presented the two bills to the committee.
Yesterday, members of different motorcycle clubs said that requiring them to wear helmets infringed on their personal freedoms. In the past, members of the insurance and medical professions presented data indicating that bikers in traffic accidents who were not wearing a helmet incurred greater injuries and expense than those that were wearing a helmet.
In a poll taken here on the I-95 website, 78% of the respondents said "no" to a mandatory motorcycle helmet law.
The bill submitted to ban cell phone use while driving met resistance from a variety of people including Representative Robert Nutting of Oakland, who said, "Anything that you do while driving takes away from your concentration. I don't think that talking on a cell phone takes away from that more than anything else. I think that this is going too far".
Also, the bill would have exempted doctors along with certain state and local agencies. Since the bill was submitted other professions and agencies had contacted the committee about being added to the list. Representative Wayne Parry of Arundel said, "We're opening Pandora's box with this bill. If we pass this bill, there will be continual bills every year that add one more group to be exempted. We can't legislate good driving, good behavior and common sense".
In another poll taken here at the I-95 website, 85% of the respondents said "yes", ban the use of cellphones and other handheld devices while driving.
When the bill was first submitted, a representative from AAA of New England said that 90 percent of people fear distracted driving as much as they fear those who drive drunk. The AAA spokesperson said that talking on a cell phone while driving is every bit as distracting as texting.
Representative Paulette Beaudoin said of the failure to pass yesterday, "Oh well, maybe someone else will have better luck with them in the future.