State Slips in Highway Safety Ranking 02/08/2010 10:27 AM ET
"The non-profit group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, says Maine's traffic safety laws need improvement.
Maine has slipped in an annual ranking on highway safety. The state was ranked as having good traffic safety laws last year by the non-profit Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. But this year, the group says Maine's laws need improvement.
While Maine has adopted some of the 15 highway safety laws that are figured into the national advocacy group's ranking, the state hasn't enacted a ban on texting, or helmet requirements for motorcyclists.
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says laws can only accomplish so much. "Parents, peers, our role, law enforcement -- we're doing, I think, as much as we can reasonably expect these institutions and individuals to do," he told Capitol News Service. "The driver has to play the critical role, and that will not change if you put in a stricter policy."
Sen. Dennis Damon, a Democrat from Trenton who co-chairs the Legislature's Transportation Committee, says the group fails to address what he see as a major safety issue, the deterioration of roads. Rep. Doug Thomas, a Ripley Republican who also serves on the committee, says the group's safety goals are laudable, but he says rural states have to craft laws to meet their particular needs."