Flip through these cards for everything you need to know about Vermont’s new law banning the use of hand-held cellphones while driving. The law, which goes into effect Wednesday, Oct.1, was an attempt, in part, to help police enforce an earlier ban on texting while driving. Many drivers who were cited for texting while driving claimed they were simply making a call, police said. The law essentially applies an existing law banning the use of these devices in a work zone to all driving situations.
Beginning Oct. 1, Vermonters will no longer be able to hold their cellphones and other electronic devices while driving. The Legislature passed the ban on hand-held devices in May after reaching a compromise with Gov. Peter Shumlin. Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use hand-held or hands-free devices at all. The bill was overwhelmingly approved by the House but bogged down in the Senate Judiciary Committee over broader concerns about distracted driving. It was revived as part of a highway bill and was passed shortly before adjournment.
Drivers cannot use cellphones, iPods, MP3 players or any other hand-held electronic device while driving. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have banned the use of hand-held cellphones while driving, but the language of those laws varies.
Yes. S.314 makes driving while using a hand-held device a primary offense, in which an officer has cause to pull a driver over. Drivers can use their phones while legally parked and out of traffic.
Yes. Drivers can use their cellphones or electronic devices as long as they are connected to hands-free systems. It is the act of holding the device while driving that is prohibited. The law allows drivers to use their hands to activate the device, so long as it is securely mounted. The holder cannot be affixed to the windshield.
Click here for a list of approved devices.
Yes. The law allows drivers to communicate with law enforcement and emergency officials in an emergency situation. Drivers may also use hand-held devices while their vehicle is legally parked and out of traffic.
The fine for a first offense is not less than $100 and not more than $200. The fine for a second offense within a two-year period is not less than $250 and not more than $500. No points are charged against a driver’s license for offenses that occur outside a work zone. Police say the law might force drivers to think about other forms of distracted driving, including trumpet-playing while driving.
Yes. The law does not apply to two-way or citizen’s-band radios or equipment used by amateur radio operators in accordance with existing law. CDL drivers, such as those who operate tractor trailers, are already prohibited by federal law from using cellphones while driving. Washington state, Oregon, Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey also have an exemption for amateur radio operators.