VPR: House Strongly Backs Ban On Hand Held Devices For Drivers

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Listen and read in full at Vermont Public Radio
February 13, 2014
Bob Kinzel

It was a debate where dozens of House members wanted to be heard, and over the course of the 90 minute discussion, arguments were raised both for and against the bill. The vote on the legislation was 130 to 11.

Gov. Peter Shumlin opposes the legislation because he says “you can’t legislate common sense.” Barre Town Rep. Tom Koch supports the bill because he says it’s a matter of highway safety. He says the governor is half right.

“Mr. Speaker, there are those who might say that you cannot legislate common sense and frankly I agree,” said Koch. “But you can penalize somebody for placing others in danger because you failed to exercise common sense and that’s what this bill does.”

Studies were cited that compared the distractions associated with holding a cell phone to that of driving intoxicated. Moretown Rep. Maxine Grad urged members of the House to support the bill.

“Hand held cell phone use – like drunk and drugged driving – poses a significant threat that cries out for strong public policy and leadership,” said Grad.
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