Is It Illegal to Drive While ‘Tired’ in Maine?
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of tired is "drained of strength and energy: fatigued often to the point of exhaustion". In the fast-paced world we all tend to live in, it can be very easy to spend a large portion of your day feeling exhausted. But could it really possibly be illegal to get behind the wheel of an automobile while feeling tired and operate it? If you're living in Maine, the answer is yes. With a few conditions to go along with it.
Driving While Fatigued in Maine is Against the Law
Maine is one of only a handful of states in the entire country that has laws on the books pertaining to driving while fatigued. There are a handful of factors that need to be considered if you're going to be held accountable for violation of the law. The first factor is how many consecutive hours you've been awake. If it's 24 straight hours or more and you get behind the wheel, you could be held liable. Additionally, a small loophole in the law states that if you're ability to operate a vehicle is so impaired because of fatigue that it makes you dangerous behind the wheel, the 24-hour rule doesn't need to apply.
What Are the Penalties for Driving While Fatigued?
The penalties for any violation of driving while fatigued are similar to distracted driving in Maine. A minimum $500 fine is imposed as well as a suspension of driver's license for 150 days. More substantial penalties, including jail time, could be faced by any violator if they're found to be fatigued and excessively speeding, have a passenger 21 years or younger, or if they attempt to elude the police.
Don't Become a Repeat Offender
Like other Maine laws about severe driving violations, repeat offenders of the driving while fatigued law in Maine will face stiffer penalties. The minimum fines increase by hundreds of dollars per violation, and the amount of time a license is suspended increases, as well as minimum jail time. Get some rest or don't get behind the wheel.