Distracted Driving Awareness Month


AUGUSTA - The Bureau of Highway Safety wants residents of the Pine Tree State to pay attention while driving.


"I think it's important because we say it every day," said Colonel Robert A. Williams, Chief of Maine State Police.


33 people have died in car crashes this year.  That's 13 more than this time last year.


"We have more fatalities this year, than we did last year," said Director of the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, Lauren Stewart.
"That's very concerning to us."


Kayleigh Oberg, a student at Winthrop High School, knows that while the temptation is real, it's best to just say no.


"I am not saying that the temptation is not there," said Kayleigh.  "I just don't do it because it is not there."


Winthrop High School Principal Keith Morin said, "With the advent of social media, high school students feel that they have to let people know where they are all the time."


Almost half of all teens and kids in America claim that they have seen their parents talking on the phone while driving.  Meaning that it occurs at all ages. 


"It's really not just a thing with young people.  I see it with people of all ages," said Colonel Robert A. Williams.  "We really need to get the message out because I have seen people of ages of up to 60 and 70 years old doing that."


To make the consequences of driving while text messaging real, there was even a driving simulator available after the conference.


"With my friends sometimes I have to remind them not to text and drive," said Kayleigh.  "When they don't stop, you just have to reach over and grab their phone.  Thankfully that never really happens."


Although the world is at your fingertips, just remember you can text when you get off the road.


Patrick Thomas


Patrick is a Southern boy at heart and was raised in Gadsden, Alabama, an hour northeast of Birmingham, AL. He is a General Assignment Reporter for ABC 7/FOX 22, having joined the news team in March 2014 and has a passion for getting to know the issues that affect the lives of Bangor and Maine residents. He is from small town America too so don’t be afraid to approach him with story ideas and questions. His passion for Broadcast News began at a young age and is now living out his dream.

He is not a stranger to the northeast! He graduated from Boston University’s Masters Program in Broadcast Journalism in December. During his time at BU, he did everything from doing Play-by-Play for Women’s Hockey games to reporting on the Boston Marathon Bombings and the 50th Anniversary of the John F. Kennedy Assassination. Patrick held internships with Newton News, ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, AL and Comcast Sportsnet New England. He was voted Best Newcomer to WTBU Sports and was the budget editor for a student run news site called Boston University News Service that won two awards from the Online News Association for their Marathon Bombing Coverage.

Before attending Boston University, Patrick attended Birmingham-Southern College where he played four years of college football. In his free time, he loves to exercise and is a football fanatic. He loves his Auburn Tigers football! War Eagle!!! He also loves the Atlanta Braves. If you ever see him out in Bangor, feel free to ask him about football strategy. He loves talking X’s and O’s.

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