Vermont considers cell phone bill

| 1/28/2004

A bill in the Vermont Senate would prohibit drivers’ use of hand-held cell phones.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, would permit only “hands-free” devices in moving vehicles.

Ayer told the Burlington Free Press she crafted S199 after talking with constituents who have seen too many drivers paying too little attention to the road when chatting on phones.

“It’s become the way we do business,” Ayer said. “The least they can do is keep both hands on the wheel.”

Sen. Gary Gossens, D-Addison, the bill’s co-sponsor, told the newspaper he has noticed more and more drivers in Vermont weaving along the road as they use cell phones.

“I can’t imagine anything more dangerous,” Gossens said. “Sooner or later we’re going to have to do something.”

There are no statistics in the state showing how many accidents have been caused by cell-phone use, the Free Press reported.

AAA opposes laws restricting cell-phone use by drivers. The automotive association recommends that drivers avoid “emotional or complicated phone conversations.” AAA cites the safety benefits of a cell phone in the vehicle and the lack of statistics showing the risk of cell-phone use in its reasoning for opposing the bans.

The bill has been forwarded to the Senate Committee on Transportation.