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Whether you are visiting Maine for the first time or whether it has been awhile since your last visit, it's always a good idea to brush up on a few things you should know about a few Maine laws that might affect you.


Sales tax is 5 percent
Lodging tax is 7 percent

Motor vehicles


For road and travel conditions, call 511 or (866) 282-7578.

Seat belts are required for all ages.

Children weighing less than 40 pounds must be secured in an approved child safety seat. Children younger than 8 and weighing 40-79 pounds must be secured in an approved child booster seat. Children under 12 weighing less than 100 pounds must be secured in the back seat of a vehicle whenever possible if the vehicle has a front-seat, passenger-side airbag.

Headlights must be in use when the windshield wipers are in use.

Right turn on red permissible, unless otherwise noted.

Motorists must stop for pedestrians already in the crosswalk, regardless of which side of the street the pedestrian and motorist are on. (This does not mean pedestrians may walk across the street whenever they want.)

Open containers of alcohol are prohibited in motor vehicles.

For motorists 21 or older, driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or above is illegal.

For motorists under 21, driving with a blood-alcohol content above 0.00 percent is illegal.

The Maine Tourism Association operates visitors centers on I-95 north- (Mile 169) and southbound (Mile 172) in Hampden.

For commercial motorists, driving with a blood-alcohol of 0.04 percent or above is illegal.

Motorcyclists under the age of 15 must wear an approved helmet.

Bicyclists and passengers in a bicycle seat or trailer who are under the age of 16 must wear a bicycle helmet.

You may enter the state with a maximum of 1 gallon of whiskey, 1 gallon of spirits -- wine or liquor -- and one case of beer.

Radar detectors and mobile radio scanners are legal.

Speeding fines double in all work zones.

Motor vehicle crashes that result in damge of at least $1,000, death or personal injury must be reported immediately to local police, the county sheriff or state police.

In case of an emergency, you can call the Maine State Police on your cellular phone by dialing 911.


Smoking is prohibited in restaurants, bars and in buildings open to the public.

Fireworks are illegal, except for sparklers and caps.

Portland Head Light photo 2000, Ryan R. Robbins. All rights reserved.