The negative consequences of distracted driving concern us all. It is expected that this legislative session will see some attempts to further prohibit driver actions (or, if you will, distractions) that contribute to highway crashes. It is a concern that some of these proposed solutions will seek to carve out exceptions for various classes of drivers that may be unwarranted.

With one of our major missions being traffic safety, Maine’s law enforcement community is acutely aware of the problems caused by distracted driving.

Many agencies have moved to minimize the law enforcement community’s own contribution to this problem by implementing policies that govern staff activities while law enforcement vehicles are in operation on the highway.

These generally include shutting down screen and keyboard functionality of in-car computers; prohibiting text messaging with any device, and restricting cellphone usage to hands-free operation only.

Many of us in law enforcement feel strongly that our actions in controlling distracted driving within the ranks is a matter of “walking the talk” and not only provides a role model for other drivers but also amounts to a significant step in the personal protection of staff members and the public that they serve.

With this in mind, we certainly would not wish to see the law enforcement community included in general exceptions to any upcoming distracted-driving countermeasures adopted by the Legislature.

Furthermore, we feel that legislators must resist the urge to create exceptions for other special interests. To our knowledge, there is no known driver class that is immune to the dynamics of distraction.

We hope that you agree and that you communicate these sentiments to your legislative representatives accordingly.

Robert Schwartz

executive director, Maine Chiefs of Police Association

South Portland