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Maine New Resident Guide

Welcome to Maine! As a new driver to this state you will need to be aware of our unique traffic laws and regulations. Here's what you need to keep in mind while driving in Maine. Some of these rules may be the same as what you're already used to, but others will be drastically different!

Licensing and Residency Requirements



  • A person must apply for a driver's license within 30 days of becoming a resident of Maine.
  • Once you have established residency in Maine, you have 30 days to convert your registrations and titles (if any) to Maine.
  • Maine law requires you to notify the Secretary of State within 10 days of any change in your name or address.


Graduated Licensing Program



Learner's Permit

Requirements

  • Must be 15 years old;
  • Must have completed approved driver education course;
  • Must pass written test and vision exam.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • Allows the individual to operate a vehicle when accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 20 years of age and has held a valid license for two years.
  • Prohibited from using a cellular phone while operating with a permit.

Probationary/Intermediate License

Requirements

  • Must be 16
  • Must have held permit for at least 6 months;
  • Must have accumulated at least 70 hours, 10 of which must be at night, of parental/guardian supervised driving;
  • Must pass road test.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • Unless supervised by a driver at least 20 years old who has held a license for at least 2 years, teens may not:
    • Transport any passengers, except immediate family, during the first 270 days of licensure
    • Drive unsupervised between midnight and 5 AM;
  • May not operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile telephone.

Unrestricted License

Requirements

  • Must have held an intermediate license for 270 days from the date the license was originally issued;
  • If violated probationary restrictions, license will be suspended and restrictions will be extended for an additional 270 days. Restriction may extend beyond person's 18th birthday;
  • It appears that after completing the restriction period, you are eligible for an unrestricted license.


Violation Point Counts

The amount of points that go against your driver's license for specific types of violations.



8 Point Violations

  • Operating After Suspension - Traffic Infraction

6 Point Violations

  • Driving Wrong Side
  • Driving Wrong Way
  • Exceeding Posted Speed by at Least 15 Miles Per Hour But Less Than 30 Miles Per Hour
  • Illegal Transportation Liquor - Minor
  • Illegal Transportation Drug - Minor
  • Improper or Erratic Lane Change
  • Improper Passing
  • Leaving Scene of an Accident (Property Damage)
  • Misrepresentation of Identity or Other Facts to Obtain Alcohol
  • Operating Beyond Restriction
  • Operating With Improper License
  • Operating Without Corrective Lenses
  • Operating Left on Curve
  • Pass Within 100 Feet of Intersection
  • Pass on Curve or Hill
  • Pass on Right
  • Pass Wrong Side
  • Other Improper Pass
  • Violation - Do Not Pass
  • Violation of Instruction Permit
  • Operating Motorcycle Beyond Restriction

4 Point Violations

  • Exceeding Posted Speed by Less Than 15 Miles Per Hour
  • Excessive Acceleration
  • Failure to Keep Right
  • Failure to Return to the Right
  • Fail to Yield to Emergency Vehicle
  • Fail to Yield - No Sign
  • Fail to Yield to Pedestrian
  • Fail to Yield - Sign
  • Fail to Give Way to Other Vehicle
  • Fail to Obey Stop Sign
  • Fail to Stop at Red Light
  • Fail to Yield Right of Way
  • Imprudent Driving
  • Imprudent Speed
  • Operating a Motor Vehicle With Obstructed View
  • Operating Without a License (traffic infraction)
  • Red Light Violation

2 Point Violations

  • Crossover Violation
  • Displaying a Blue Light
  • Displaying a Red Light
  • Failure to Dim Headlights
  • Fail to Signal
  • Fail to Obey Traffic Island
  • Failure to Obey Railroad Grade Crossing
  • Failure to Maintain Control of Vehicle
  • Failure to Reduce Speed on a Grade or Curve
  • Follow Too Close
  • Illegal Left Turn
  • Illegal Right Turn
  • Illegal U-Turn
  • Impeding the Flow of Traffic
  • Improper Turn
  • Lane Conviction
  • Littering
  • Obstructing the Flow of Traffic
  • Obstructing Traffic
  • Operating Motor Vehicle Without Tail Lights
  • Operating Without Lights
  • Other Moving Violation
  • Speed Under Posted Minimum
  • Squealing Tires
  • Trailer Without Lights
  • Trucks Traveling Less Than 150 Feet Apart

How Long Points Stay on Record

  • Points for a conviction or adjudication will be erased from a driver's record when the conviction or adjudication becomes one year old.
  • The violation free credit system awards one point for each calendar year free of convictions or suspensions. One is permitted to accumulate up to four violation free credit points.

Any person whose driving record shows an accumulation of 12 demerit points for convictions or adjudications within a one year period may have his or her license, permit or privilege to operate suspended for a period up to 15 days. A warning will be issued at 6 points.



Insurance Requirements



  • Maine law requires every vehicle owner or operator to carry liability insurance, uninsured motorists, and medical payments coverage. To satisfy the financial responsibility law in Maine, you must buy a minimum of:
    • $50,000 liability for the injury to or death of any one person;
    • $100,000 liability for one accident resulting in injury to or death of more than one person;
    • $25,000 liability for property damage.
  • A combined single limit (that combines bodily injury and property damage liability) of $125,000 is also acceptable.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury of $50/100 or combined single limit of $100,000 and a minimum of $2,000 for medical payments coverage is also required.
  • You cannot register your vehicle without proof that you have this minimum amount of insurance.


Headlight Laws



You must dim your headlights from high to low beam when you are within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle or within 300 feet of a vehicle traveling ahead of you.

You must use your headlights:

  • Whenever the light is too dim for you to see 1000 feet ahead
  • At any time when windshield wipers are in constant use
  • When driving anytime from half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise

There is no specific law allowing or prohibiting headlight flashing.



Implied Consent Laws



Criminal

  • First offense - Not less than 96 hours and not less than $600
  • Second offense (within 10 years) - Not less than 12 days and not less than $900
  • Third offense (within 10 years) - Not less than 40 days and not less than $1,400
  • Fourth offense (within 10 years) - Not less than 6 months, 20 days and not less than $2,500

Administrative

  • First refusal - Suspension - 275 days
  • Second refusal - Suspension - 18 months (mandatory)
  • Third refusal - Suspension - 4 years (mandatory)
  • Fourth refusal - Suspension - 6 years (mandatory)
  • Probable cause to believe that death has occurred or will occur as a result of an accident - Suspension - 1 year.
  • Persons Under 21: A person under 21 who refuses to submit to a chemical test where there is probable cause that they were driving with "any amount of alcohol in the blood" is subject to the following licensing action:
    • First refusal -Suspension - 18 months
    • Second or subsequent refusal -Suspension - 30 months
  • Refusal in negligent death case: Any person who negligently operates a motor vehicle in a manner as to cause the death of a person who subsequently fails to submit to a chemical test shall have his/her license suspended for 3 years.


DUI Penalties



Under .15 BAC

First offense

  • Up to $500 fine
  • 90 day license suspension

Second offense (within 10 years)

  • 7 - 12 months imprisonment
  • $700 - $2,000
  • 3 year license suspension

Third offense (within 10 years)

  • 30 days - 12 months
  • $1,100 - $2,000 fine
  • 6 year license suspension

Fourth offense (within 10 years)

  • 6 months - 5 years imprisonment
  • $2,100 - $5,000
  • 6 year license suspension

.15 BAC or greater

First offense

  • 48 hours - 12 months imprisonment
  • $600 - $2,000 fine

Other

Community service

  • May be ordered as condition of probation

Child endangerment

  • Additional 180 days license suspension

Ignition interlock

  • Reinstatement of license possible if device installed for sufficient time


Open Container Law



The Open Container Law prohibits possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of any motor vehicle, by any occupant of the vehicle, on any public highway or right of way, whether or not the vehicle is in motion.



Red Light Violation Fines



  • $131.00 fine.
  • Red light cameras are prohibited.


Construction Zone Penalties



Speeding violations are subject to two times the original fine, whether or not workers are present.



Turn Signal Information



Signal your intention to turn or change lanes at least 100 feet in advance.



Hazard Light Information



Hazard light use is only permitted to indicate the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard.



Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws



  • Maine has no state law regarding right of way for a funeral procession.
  • Funeral processions are not required to allow sufficient space between vehicles so as to enable any other vehicle to enter and occupy such space without danger.


School Bus Laws



Requirements

  • Vehicles are required to stop unless traveling in a lane separated by curbing or another physical barrier from the lane that the bus is in, or on a limited access highway where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway with the school bus stopped in a loading zone.

Penalties

  • Failure to stop and remain stopped when required will result in a $250 minimum fine for a first offense.


Bicyclist Passing Distance



A 3-foot minimum passing distance is required.



Motorcycle Laws



Licensing

  • Operation of a motorcycle, motor-drive cycle, or moped requires a special endorsement on a license.
  • A person must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a motorcycle instruction permit.
  • An instruction permit applicant must pass a vision test and a knowledge test related specifically to the safe operation of a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle or moped. An applicant must complete a motorcycle driver education program.
  • An instruction permit holder may operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle or moped only during daylight hours and they must wear a helmet. The permit does not allow the holder to carry a passenger or ride out of state. Effective September 17, 2013, the restriction on nighttime driving by instruction permit holders is repealed.

Protective Gear

  • Protective headgear is required for all riders under 18 and passengers of operators under 18, and operators with a learner's permit or within 1 year of successfully completing a driving test.

Headlights

  • Daytime headlight use is required.

Sharing the Road

  • Lane splitting is not authorized.
  • Two motorcycles may travel side-by-side in a single lane.


Using the Shoulder to Pass



You may not drive off the roadway to pass on the right.



Passing Laws



Do not pass:

  • When approaching or upon a hill or curve;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel.

When being passed:

  • Give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle;
  • The overtaking vehicle may signal by honking its horn;
  • Do not increase the speed of your vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.


Speed Limits



  • 45 mph on all other public ways.
    • The State is authorized to increase or decrease the above speed limits. However, no posted speed limit can exceed:
      • 75 mph on the Interstate Highway System from the City of Old Town to the Town of Houlton,
      • 65 mph for the Maine Turnpike and interstate or divided controlled-access highways, or
      • 60 mph for all other roads.
  • 25 mph in business or residential districts.
  • 15 mph when passing a school during recess or when the students are going to or leaving the school.


Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws



Safety Belts

  • Occupants 18 years or older must wear safety belts.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for belt law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $50.

Child Seats

  • Children who are less than 40 pounds must be in a child safety seat.
  • Children who are 40 - 80 pounds and less than 18 years must be in a safety system that elevates the child so that an adult seat belt fits properly;
  • Children who are 8 - 17 years, or less than 18 years and more than 4'9" must be restrained, and may use an adult safety bel;t
  • Children who are 11 years and younger and less than 100 pounds must be in rear seat if available;
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for child seat law violations;
  • The fine for a first offense is $50.


Emergency Vehicle Laws



Move Over

  • When you see any of these vehicles displaying flashing lights while stopped on or adjacent to the roadway:
    • Emergency vehicle
    • Wrecker
  • You must do the following:
    • Pass in a lane not adjacent to that of the stationary vehicle, if possible, or
    • If passing in a nonadjacent lane is impossible or unsafe, pass at a careful, prudent, reasonable, and safe speed.

Following

  • Do not follow within 500 feet of a fire apparatus traveling in response to a fire alarm, or within 150 feet of any other emergency vehicle that its using its emergency light.

Collision Procedures

  • Stop at the scene or as close as possible, and remain at the scene until all requirements are fulfilled.
  • Notify the nearest police department immediately if the accident has resulted in injury, death, or property damage of $1,000 or more. If the driver is unable to make the report, any other occupant of the vehicle who is able to must do so.
  • You must provide the following information to any other person involved in the accident, or any police officer at the scene of the crash:
    • Driver's name and address;
    • Vehicle registration number;
    • Show driver's license upon request;
    • Evidence of liability insurance or financial responsibility upon request.
  • Provide reasonable assistance to any injured person.
  • Unattended vehicle or property:
    • If you have collided with a vehicle that is unattended, locate and notify the operator or owner of the name and address of the driver, registration number of the vehicle, and circumstances of the accident. If requested, you must show evidence of liability insurance or financial responsibility.
    • If you are unable to do so, leave a written notice providing this information and a statement of the circumstances.


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