Senate Passes Texting Ban

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(Host) It could soon be illegal in Vermont to text while driving a car. That’s because the Vermont Senate has given its unanimous approval to legislation that bans the activity.

The bill includes a ‘primary enforcement’ provision, which means that a police officer has the authority to stop a driver for a possible violation of the law.

Adult drivers would face a $100 fine for a first offense and junior operators would lose their licenses for a month.

Washington senator Phil Scott is vice chairman of the Senate Transportation committee. He urged his colleagues to support the bill:

(Scott) "Texting in and of itself has become an epidemic. Texting while driving follows suit and is getting much more prevalent and has proven tragically deadly in far too many instances. One witness that we had before us – it was a sheriff – offered that texting while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk or impaired."

(Host) Scott says the bill deliberately doesn’t address the use of cell phones while driving.  He says there’s much more controversy over that issue and he says his committee decided to single out texting, so that the measure might become law in several weeks:

(Scott) "To get it to pass and on the governor’s desk and pass the law by Town Meeting Day, it’s really that important….And if we can expedite this bill and save one more life we will be doing a valuable service to not only the traveling public of this state but to the cyclists, runners and pedestrians as well, all of whom are innocent victims."

(Host) The House is backing a more comprehensive highway safety bill that includes the texting ban, it prohibits the use of hand held cell phones by drivers and it calls for the primary enforcement of Vermont’s seatbelt law.

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