Hands Free: It’s the Law October 1

Home » City » Hands Free: It’s the Law October 1

Thursday September 25, 2014

New Law Requiring All Use of Portable Electronic Devices While Driving be Hands-Free

The South Burlington Police Department would like to remind the public that October 1, 2014 a ban on the use of handheld portable electronic devices, while operating a motor vehicle in Vermont, will go into effect. Portable electronic device is defined as a portable electronic or computing device, including a cellular telephone, personal digital assistant (PDA), or laptop computer. Portable electronic device does not include a two-way or Citizens Band radio.

Hands-free cell phone use will be allowed and operators may activate or deactivate the device as long as the device is in a cradle or otherwise securely mounted in the vehicle and the cradle or other accessory for secure mounting is not affixed to the windshield. There is also an exception when use of a portable electronic device is necessary to communicate with law enforcement or emergency service personnel under emergency circumstances.

A first violation for driving while using a hand-held device carries a fine of $100 to $200. A second or subsequent violation in any two year period carries a fine of $250 to $500. No points will be assessed.  

There will still be points assessed for using a device in a work zone or if under the age of 18, which is the current law. Work zone violations will be assessed two points for a first conviction and five points for a second or subsequent conviction. Junior operators will be assessed two points for each conviction. 

The penalty for texting while driving still carries a fine of $230 and assessed points.

Additional information is available under the Vermont Motor Vehicle Law, Title 23, Sections 1095b and 1099.