Lawmakers Agree to Ban Stoplight Texting | Off Message
Pin It

Friday, May 15, 2015

Lawmakers Agree to Ban Stoplight Texting

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 10:10 PM

click to enlarge Lt. Gov. Phil Scott confers Friday with John Bloomer, Senate secretary during Senate floor action. - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Terri Hallenbeck
  • Lt. Gov. Phil Scott confers Friday with John Bloomer, Senate secretary during Senate floor action.
A motor vehicle bill passed both the House and Senate easily this session, yet it was still lingering Friday as legislators were scrambling to adjourn for the year. The catch: whether drivers should be able to pick up their smartphones and text or check their email while stopped in traffic.

The Senate said no. The House, yes. Friday afternoon, the Senate won.

A House-Senate conference committee reached agreement on a change in the law that says as of July 1, drivers may not use hand-held electronic devices even while stopped in traffic, a loophole that slipped through last year’s hand-held cellphone ban.

“If we’re going to ban texting, why not do the whole thing?” said Sen. Dick Mazza (D-Grand Isle), chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “To me, it’s more dangerous at intersections to check your phone, because people are crossing the street.”

Drivers will be allowed to use devices if they pull completely off the road or if they are stopped in a drive-through or a parking lot, Mazza said. “If they want to text in the drive-through of McDonald’s and the car’s not moving, that’s fine,” he said.

House conferees unsuccessfully argued that it can be safer for drivers to have the option to check their phones at a stoplight rather than be tempted to check while driving.

Both chambers signed off on the agreement Friday night, sending the bill to Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Tags: , , ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

Did you appreciate this story?

Show us your ❤️ by becoming a Seven Days Super Reader.

About The Author

Terri Hallenbeck

Terri Hallenbeck

Terri Hallenbeck was a Seven Days staff writer covering politics, the Legislature and state issues from 2014 to 2017.

More by Terri Hallenbeck

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2018 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation