Video: What you need to know about Vermont’s ban on hand-held cellphone use while driving

Beginning Oct. 1, police can stop any driver they see holding a cellphone in their hand while driving. The law, which was signed Thursday by Gov. Peter Shumlin, requires drivers to use hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth, when talking on their cellphones while driving.

VTDigger videographer Cory Dawson and assignment editor Tom Brown produced this short video to explain what the law will mean to Vermont drivers. Special thanks to Lt. Garry Scott of the Vermont State Police for explaining the new rules.

The law is the same as an existing one that bans the use of hand-held cellphones in work zones. Beginning Oct. 1, drivers can be stopped and fined up to $200 for a first offense. No points are assessed against one’s driver’s license for a first offense. Steeper fines and points are assessed for subsequent offense within a two-year period.

Tom Brown

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  • Brilliant, police have a problem proving that drivers might be texting, so instead, let’s just nail everyone whether they are being safe and responsible or just an idiot. After all, it makes so much sense to penalize everyone because some people are idiots. Bravo. Glad to know my tax dollars are being out to good use.

    Maybe the simplest solution to this, is to just have local police use the data “lawfully collected” by the NSA. Then, there is no ambiguity. If someone was texting, they get busted. After all, that would be one more vital tool for police to use in battling the deadly scourge of terrorism and cell phone use behind the wheel.

    It just seems so simple, if drivers have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear…

    • Jason Wells

      “After all, it makes so much sense to penalize everyone because some people are idiots”

      Why are we bothering with this garbage and why does everyone want new laws so bad? In case supporters of this have forgotten distracted driving is already illegal. Drive like an idiot and you should get a ticket regardless of weather or not its from a cell phone or eating a hamburger.

      Now that everyone is sooo much safer when will the police start getting serious about tailgating? I get tailgated many many times a day quite often so close that I cant even see the person behind me. Its actually pretty rare that I see a person driving like a dolt because they are on their phone.

    • Marian McFarland

      Not even a genius can drive and use a cell phone responsibly! It just can’t be done and it has been proven in CT so take heed an obey this new law.

  • Easy to to adhere to the law: Drive now, text later. Oh, and drive now, talk later. Walk now, talk later and cycle now, talk later. Easy. So stick to the law and be safe.

  • Liz Edsell

    Thanks for this very helpful update and video digger team.

    I hope the new law succeeds in making our roadways safer. Is there any mention specifically about using hand held smart phones for directions while driving? It seems like that will be illegal but I’d be interested to know whether there was any specific mention of that.

  • John Barton

    He listened to Vermonters who wanted this law, huh? All 3 of them?

    Best case scenario it give cops another reason to pull you over, more likely it gets a lot of people in trouble for doing something that’s not a danger.

    Many states have made laws against texting while driving. What happens when they pass them? Accidents from texting while driving go down. Total accidents? Perfectly flat. Accidents from all causes of distractions? Perfectly flat.

    People didn’t suddenly say “oh god I’ve got a phone, something I can distract myself with!” Distractable drivers will get distracted, all you’re doing is punishing the rest of us.

  • Here’s what motorists should do: Drive now, talk later.
    Oh, and walkers should walk now, talk later.
    Same with cyclists.
    And, above all, make that all-important phone call from home before getting into your car.

  • Jerry Keenan

    I have not read the law BUT…….I am willing to bet that the cops exempted themselves from the regulation!

    Drive around Burlington at any time and note the number of BPD guys glued to a phone probably talking to their girlfriend. If it is that dangerous, why isn’t it an issue THEIR COMMAND STAFF have addressed?

    Do as I say not as I do, I guess.

    • Jason Wells

      Jerry, You would have won with that bet Police are exempted from the law.

  • What will they ban next….radio’s in vehicles??? smoking while driving???

    Why can’t they seem to ban Crying Babies in car seats??? We all know that is the ultimate distraction.

    Why dont they ‘innovate’ and require all hand held tellecom devices to be embedded, or mounted on a holder in the vehicle, on speakerphone???

    Wait till you see Roger Pion’s reaction to getting a ticket for using a cellphone while driving his tractor through a construction zone. !!!

    Just asking for a pun aren’t they?

    • Jason Wells

      Sorry to let you know James they have already banned smoking in your car if there are children in it. Even if you have the window down and are getting no smoke in your car bang 100 dollar ticket. The ban even covers ecigs. I dont smoke anymore but when I did and my kids were in the car I made sure I held my cig near the window and blew the smoke out that is now illegal.

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