Maine State Police have cited almost 1,100 drivers over the past six months for texting while driving and other distractions

“The largest percentage of drivers cited were for texting, but troopers have also summonsed motorists for eating, reading and putting on makeup,” State Police Chief Col. Robert Williams said in a news release. “Drivers have one obligation – to drive – and delay the distractions until they are not behind the wheel.”

State police have received $300,000 in federal grants to conduct increased enforcement looking for distracted drivers, Williams said. The money will pay for overtime to augment ongoing traffic enforcement, he said.

State police are using marked and unmarked cars in the effort, he said.

Of the 1,080 citations troopers issued since Sept. 1, 429 were for texting, the release said. Troopers also issued citations to commercial truck drivers for using hand-held cellphones while they drove. Unlike drivers of passenger cars, truckers are required by law to use hands-free cellular phones.

However, police have cited drivers for distracted driving if they are using a hand-held cellphone and also breaking some other traffic law, such as speeding.

The fine for distracted driving is $119, and for texting, a first offense is $310. The fine for a second offense is $610.

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