Free Press: Vermont House passes cellphone ban

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May 8, 2014 No Comments ››

Read full article at the Burlington Free Press

May 7, 2014 | Nancy Remsen

[…] For Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, securing a ban on drivers use of cellphones has been a seven year odyssey.

She became concerned about drivers distracted by cell phone use when her daughters were beginning to drive. She said she saw research suggesting driving while using electronic devices was the number one health threat for youth.

Grad spearheaded a move to outlaw cellphone use by drivers in 2007. The House passed the ban, but the bill died in the Senate.

In 2009, the House appended the ban to a Senate bill, but it died again. Another try with a House-passed ban in 2010 also withered in the Senate.

Grad explained her perseverance despite striking out so many times. “This is about saving lives,” she said. And the use of cellphones by drivers “has gotten more and more prevalent with all ages.”

Grad pointed to the results of the annual Town Meeting Day survey — the Doyle poll on which “year after year, the results are unequivocal.” Banning cellphone use by drivers, she said, “really is the will of the people.”

Grad acknowledged that many Vermonters use their phones while driving even as they complain about other drivers distracted by their electronic devices. She thinks many Vermonters are waiting for the ban to help them break the habit. “I have heard a number of people say, when it becomes law, I will change my behavior.” […]