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December 30, 2008
Contact: Matthew Dunlap

Secretary of State Urges Drivers to Use Caution As They Greet the New Year

AUGUSTA —With plans being made to celebrate the calendar's annual rollover to 2009, staff at Maine 's Bureau of Motor Vehicles are urging their neighbors to be wary of more dangerous types of rollovers. “Plan accordingly for weather, the areas you plan to travel to, and if you think you need one, arrange for a designated driver,” said Matt Dunlap, Maine 's Secretary of State. The New Year holiday is a favorite one for gathering with friends and families and reflecting on the year gone by as the new year is ushered in with great celebration.

Dunlap noted that while Maine law enforcement agencies will be stepping up efforts on enforcement and assistance over the New Year holiday, safe driving really depends on the drivers. “We can't put on your seatbelt for you, and can't control the weather. Police patrols can enforce all Maine laws, but have no discretion over the laws of physics,” he said. Drivers should be especially watchful for pedestrians, especially in inclement weather, he said. Even while driving at in-town speeds of no more than 30 miles per hour, it can take over 113 feet to come to a complete stop in clear conditions. “At night, it may be hard to stop in time to keep from hitting someone,” Dunlap cautioned.

“Of course, these are important steps throughout the year,” Dunlap noted. “But with increased traffic and more people out and about, this is a good time to refresh our thinking about these things. Maine drivers are more than our customers. They are our family, friends and neighbors, and we want to serve you all through 2009.”

Maine issues credentials to over 1,050,000 motor vehicle operators. On average, some 72,000 Maine drivers lose their driving privileges for various violations of Maine law. Motor vehicle crashes claim dozens of lives and leave many victims with long-term or permanent injuries. “Working together and taking responsibility for our own driving, we can make this holiday a very boring one for our on-duty emergency personnel,” said Dunlap. “I know that we would all prefer that.”