New Driving Laws Hit Maine 

A slew of new driving laws are rolling out for Mainers.

“When you’re making this many changes this quickly, it is going to have some growing pains to say the least,” said Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.

One law will increase the fines for texting while driving and others mean driving schools will no longer issue learner’s permits, and new drivers will need 70 total hours of driving practice.

Dunlap says the changes are to curb the number of fake ID’s in the state.

“Now because of some security concerns, national security concerns, not security concerns vis-a-vis the schools per-say, we are administering those written tests now, not the schools,” said Dunlap.

Driving schools like Bair’s in Bangor say part of the law is great, and will keep drivers more safe, but other parts will make getting a permit more difficult.

“Now they’ll have to take time to go to DMV, take a number, wait in line. They’re either going to miss school, the parents are going to miss work, they could be there for hours,” said Felicia Lizotte with Bair’s Driving School.

But Dunlap says having driving schools send their students information sooner will do the opposite.

“They have to forward that information up front so we can get it all entered into the system so when the new driver comes into our office to take their written test, they’re already in the system and it speeds things along for the customer,” said Dunlap.

Felicia Lizotte has taught driving for more than ten years and supports doubling the practice time.

“We love that because most parents aren’t truthful on it anyway. That’s why kids are failing their road test two to three to four times. The more practice these kids get in, just the better chance that they’re going to have on the road,” said Lizotte.

Lizotte says some parents have complained about the time it will take to get their kids the required hours, but she has a message for them:

“If a child only had 35 hours and a child has 70 hours, which one would you trust your child to go with?”