The Holden Police Department took to social media this week, to urge folks to stop texting and driving. They cited some troubling statistics on the Holden Maine Police Department Facebook Page:

"In less than one year, the Holden Police officers have stopped 867 cars and issued 238 tickets for cell-phone use and/or distracted driving. PLEASE don't be the reason you or someone else dies in a car crash!"

Holden Police Chief, Chris Greeley, says the Holden Police Department was able to increase its patrols for specific driving infractions this year because it secured some significant grant money from the Bureau of Highway Safety.

Confused young man
KatarzynaBialasiewicz
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"We've been able to increase our patrols for specific things like OUI enforcement, speeding details, seatbelt details, and distracted driving enforcement. And we have just been stopping hundreds and hundreds of cars and just writing all kinds of tickets for these very flagrant violations."

Careless driver using his mobile phone whilst driving a car
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Chief Greeley says the number of folks using cell phones while they drive has just been shocking.

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Smederevac
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"The cell phone thing is probably the most annoying because no matter what we do to get the message out that you cannot use your cell phone while you're driving, people continue to use their cell phones while they're driving. It's just like every day, all day long."

Greeley says using the hands-free stands and blue tooth are not against the law, but even with those options, folks just flagrantly disregard the danger and the law.

woman driving car by highway in foggy time using navigation on her phone
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"We're seeing people texting. I was walking along Route 1A today, for exercise, and I saw today two girls taking a selfie while one of the girls was driving. We see commercial drivers on their phones. A certain delivery company, which I won't name, we've gotten two of their drivers for using cell phones. And that's like a big thing for them. They're on duty as a commercial driver and they're not supposed to be using their phone."

Tero Vesalainen
Tero Vesalainen
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He says you can try it yourself, just to see how bad the problem still is, despite the fact that the Distracted Driving Law has gone into effect; the next time you're at a stop sign or stop light, look to either side of you and it's likely someone will be texting or talking on their phone in an illegal manner.

"And the fines are big!" says Greeley.

According to the website Drivinglaws.org:

"Penalties. For a first texting ticket, the motorist is looking at a minimum $250 fine. For a second or subsequent texting violation within a three-year period, the driver faces at least $500 in fines and mandatory license suspension. The license suspension periods are 30 days for second offenses, 60 days for a third offense, and 90 days for a fourth or subsequent offense within three years."

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Greeley says a lot of folks speculate that much of that has to do with how addicted we have become to our phones.

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humonia
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"They're so addicted and so married to their phones that they just cannot help themselves. If it's not while they're driving, it's certainly when they come to a red light, and they're sitting at an intersection for 60 seconds. They just have to look to the right, check that thing out, pick it up and open that thing up, whatever they do."

Chief Greeley says the data they released online was just from the last 11 months, and just for the cell phone infractions. He said that at its peak, about 40,000 cars travel along Route 1A during the summer. The number of tickets he and his Department have issued in just under a year, adding in OUI infractions, seatbelt infractions, and speeding tickets is close to 2,000.

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Greeley says the main concern, more so than getting a ticket, should be that they're putting lives in danger on an already notoriously treacherous stretch of road.

A police office on the side of the road as he writes a ticket.
aijohn784
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"It's the possibility of being involved in a motor vehicle accident that they could be liable for, civilly and criminally. Not to mention the possibility of taking somebody's life because they are distracted by their cell phone. That's our concern is the possibility of increased accidents. We have enough of them, as you know. "

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Please be safe out there. Don't drive distracted. Put your phone down.

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