Safety officials are working to outlaw the use of phones while driving

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Safety officials in Maine are working to outlaw the use of phones while driving.

They're also trying to change the way people think about texting and driving.

"The end result is essentially the same outcome. You're putting your life and potentially other people's on the highway in danger," said Pat Moody of AAA Northern New England.

Don't drive intoxicated and don't drive intexticated. That message from state highway safety leaders. Police, lawmakers, and other officials all involved in the campaign launched by Triple-A came together in Augusta to push for hands free driving.

"I've spoken to loved ones that have lost people. It's devastating. It's one thing that you need to, sometimes, it's a collateral tragedy that people live with when they lose a loved one to a car crash with something senseless like because someone was texting," said Bill King, York County Sheriff.

Statistics show an alarming number of accidents linked to distracted driving. It's not just texting. It's anything done on a phone. That was highlighted at a public hearing in front of the Transportation Committee following the press conference.

"In 2009 we passed the distracted driving, 2011 we passed the no nexting, and then last session, the 128th, we passed a bill in both parties, but we couldn't overcome the veto by the then governor. So I'm very optimistic this time this might work, and we might get the same type of support," said State Senator Bill Diamond (D - Cumberland).

Everyone was in support of the bill which would ban the use of phones while driving, but officials say it's going to take people making changes behind the wheel every day.

"It's going to take good laws, it's going to take strong enforcement, and it's going to take people inside the car saying, 'hey, don't do that. It's not safe. You're putting my life in danger, you're putting your life in danger," said Moody.