Vermont Ban on Cell Phones While Driving Set to Pass

By Steph Machado

Published 05/07 2014 02:44PM

Updated 05/07 2014 06:14PM

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Get ready to put down your cell phones while behind the wheel.

The Vermont Legislature has come up with a compromise on a controversial hand-held device ban. The bill that passed the House was originally stalled in the Senate, but the House added the ban to a motor vehicles bill.

Wednesday afternoon a committee came up with a compromise. State Sen. Dick Mazza (D-Chittenden/Grand Isle) says the ban on hand-held devices will go into effect October 1, rather than July 1, to give the state time to put up road signs and educate the public about the new law.

The first offense for using a hand-held electronic device while driving will be $100. There will be no points on your license, contrary to the House's original proposal of two points. Further offenses would have greater fines.

There will still be points on your license for using a device in a work zone or under the age of 18, which is the current law.

Hands-free cell phone use will be allowed.

The compromise is expected to pass the House and Senate by Thursday, and be signed by the Governor.

The Governor did not support the stand-alone cell phone bill, nor did Senate Judiciary chair Dick Sears (D-Bennington). Sears was the only member of the conference committee who did not sign on the compromise.

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