Court Clarifies Requirements For Distracted Driving Finding

Aug 23, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement officials don't have to show what specifically distracted a driver who caused a fatal chain-reaction crash.

Thomas Palmer testified that he "looked up'' to see a car stopped in the road before the crash on U.S. Route 1 in Woolwich in August 2015. His truck smashed into a car that was forced into a van, which collided with an SUV. A passenger in the van died.

The trial judge who convicted Palmer of two driving violations concluded he was distracted.

Palmer's lawyer argued that the contention he was distracted was not supported by any facts pointing to what activity was distracting him.

An attorney from The Bicycle Coalition of Maine says the ruling prevents law enforcement's hands from being tied in distracted driving cases.