Traffic Safety Laws in Maine
In the state of Maine all passengers of a vehicle must wear seat belts unless:
- The passenger is older than 18 years old and there are more people in the vehicle than seat belts.
- The driver or passenger has a disability or other medical condition that makes it unsafe or impossible to wear a seat belt (in which case the driver or passenger must have documentation from a physician).
- The driver is a mail carrier and in the process of delivering mail.
Note that taxicab and limousine drivers aren't responsible for making sure passengers wear seat belts.
Child Car Seat Laws
Title 29-A of the Maine Revised Statutes also handles child safety seat laws. All children who are:
- Under 3 years old must ride in a rear-facing car seat. Children should continue to use a rear-facing seat until they exceed the weight or height manufacturers limits.
- Children who exceed the rear-facing weight or height limitations must be in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
- Children who exceed the height limitations on a front-facing car seat may transition to a booster seat.
If you're in the market for one, you can shop for a car seat online at any time. Before ordering, be sure to read our article on How To Buy a Child Safety Seat.
Electronic Devices and Texts
As of September 2019, all cell phone and hand-held electronic device usage is completely prohibited while you're operating your vehicle. To be able to use your phone to make a call, you MUST have a hands-free accessory that allows you to keep both of your hands on the wheel.
The hands-free option does NOT apply to drivers who hold a learner's permit and intermediate license and those under 18 years old. If you need to use your phone, you must pull over and completely stop your car.
Texting while driving is banned for all Maine motorists, regardless of age.
If you are under 15 years old and the passenger of a motorcycle or attached side car, or are the driver of an off-road motorcycle, you must wear protective headgear.
You must also wear protective headgear if you are using a learner's permit or are within 1 year of obtaining a motorcycle license.
For more information, refer to Title 29-A, 2083 of the Maine Revised Statutes.
All ATV riders under 18 years old, whether they are operators or passengers, must wear protective headgear.
The Maine ATV Laws and Rules thoroughly outlines all ATV-related safety laws.
Per Title 29-A, 2323 of the Maine Revised Statutes, all bicycle riders under 16 years old on public roadways and public bikeways must wear helmets.
For more information about bicycle safety laws, refer to Title 29-A, 2084 of the Maine Revised Statutes.
As stated in Title 29-A, 2067 of the Maine Revised Statutes, you must use your headlights:
- The period between sunset to sunrise.
- Whenever weather and other atmospheric conditions make it difficult to clearly see people and other vehicles 1,000 feet away.
- Whenever you use your windshield wipers.
For more information about headlights, such as location requirements and exemptions, refer to Title 29-A, 1904 of the Maine Revised Statutes.
Unattended Motor Vehicles
When you leave your motor vehicle unattended, it's best to:
- Turn off the engine.
- Lock the ignition.
- Set the brakes.
- Remove the key.
Title 29-A, 2068 of the Maine Revised Statutes provides more information about parking legally in Maine.
Unattended Children and Pets
Avoid leaving children and pets unattended in your vehicle. Besides the health risks of cold or hot weather, leaving them puts them at risk for kidnapping and tampering with the vehicle's controls.
If you witness a child or pet unattended in another motor vehicle and feel immediate danger is present, call 911 and await instructions.
Reporting Unsafe and/or Drunk Drivers
To report an unsafe and/or drunk driver, call 911. If you are reporting an unsafe driver that's not an immediate danger, contact the BMV or your local law enforcement agency. The Maine State Police even provide the option to report crime online.
More Safety Law Info
Thirsty for more safety law information? Check out: