28 Years Ago, a New Law Changed Driving in Maine Forever
If you lived in Maine in the early 1990s, you probably remember a time when the state’s roads were like the wild west. Back then, adults were not required to wear seatbelts. Adults could just hop in their car, truck, or minivan (they were a big thing back then), and drive down the road.
In fact, it may surprise some people that, until the early 1980s, children were not required to be in car seats or booster seats. Actually, the lack of a child car seat law nearly affected me in a big way. Scroll down for that story.
According to the KJ, on December 27, 1995, a new law went into effect that required everyone who was 18 or older to wear a seatbelt.
The article, which came from a December 1995 edition of the newspaper, explains that the law was just an update to a previous seatbelt law. That law required all children who were at least four years old to wear a seatbelt. An early 1980s law required that children under the age of four to be strapped into a proper seat.
The Maine Legislature website quotes LD 165 as saying:
This bill requires the use of safety seat belts by motor 4,' vehicle operators and passengers 4 years of age or older.
The article seems to indicate that the law passed by the narrowest margins. In November of 1995, the voters approved the law 51.1% to 48.9%.
Most millennials and members of generation Z probably think that we have always had laws requiring people to buckle their seatbelts. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, prior to the early 1980s, there weren't even laws in Maine requiring babies and small children to be buckled up.
When I was an infant, I was involved in a low-speed crash in Aroostook County. According to my mother, we had been driving through the downtown of my hometown when we were struck by another vehicle. When she told me the story, my mother explained that she reached out to make sure I did not “slide off the seat”. I asked her what she meant. She told me that I was in my baby carrier and that the baby carrier was sitting in the front passenger seat. Yes, I was in a car carrier, but the car carrier was not strapped into the seat! Fortunately, it really wasn't much more than a fender-bender.
Most popular girl names in the '00s in Maine
Gallery Credit: Stacker
Most popular boy names in the '00s in Maine
Gallery Credit: Stacker