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Follow VPR's statehouse coverage, featuring Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel in our Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

Hands Off: The Logistics Of The Hand-Held Cell Phone Ban

Toby Talbot
As of October 1, the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving will be outlawed.

On October 1, Vermont’s new cell phone law goes into effect. This will prohibit the use of hand-held electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle. While some people have wondered if they’d need to trade in their vehicle for one that is compliant with the new law, there are other options.

We speak with Deputy Transportation Secretary Sue Minter and Glen Button, Department of Motor Vehicles director of enforcement and safety, about what the law allows and disallows and about the technology that is available to drivers so they can continue to use a cell phone while driving.

What does the law prohibit?

The law bans the use of handheld electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle while on a Vermont highway. This does NOT apply to hands-free use.

What happens if I break this law?

Violation of this law is considered a traffic violation, and you can be fined between $100 and $200 for the first violation. Second violation incurs a fine between $250 and $500.

Can I turn my phone on/off?

So long as the phone is mounted securely (on the dash, in its cradle, etc.), you won’t be violating this law by turning on (or off) your phone while driving.

What if I need to make an emergency call?

You won’t be penalized for making calls to emergency services or to law enforcement in the event of an emergency.

So, what CAN I use to make calls once this law is in effect?

There are a lot of hands-free electronic devices that allow you to make/receive calls without taking your hands off the wheel. Here’s a list of electronic devices/equipment that you will still be able to use while driving after Oct. 1:

  1. Wired headsets
  2. Built-in Bluetooth technology in your car
  3. FM transmitters
  4. AUX Kits
  5. Bluetooth Head Unit
  6. Speakerphones

And Remember...

Stay clear of construction zones. In addition to the fine, you could receive two points added to your license if you’re found violating this law within a work zone.

(Sources: Vermont DMV and Vermont Highway Safety)

Also on the program, we discuss the role men play in preventing sexual violence in our communities. An annual walk this weekend commemorates Laura Kate Winterbottom, a Vermont woman who was assaulted and murdered 8 years ago. Some UVM fraternities and a men’s group are going to be marching. We hear from Alexander Morgart, a junior at the University of Vermont and one of the leaders of a group called 1 in 4.

Broadcast live on Thursday, September 11 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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