Vermont law bans handheld devices while driving

Hands off or pay up! Photo by Jeramey Jannene

Hands off or pay up!
Photo by Jeramey Jannene

Effective October 1, 2014 any motorist driving in the State of Vermont who is caught with a handheld device in their hands while driving can be pulled over by a Vermont law enforcement officer and be subject to a fine of between $100-$250 for the first violation and $250-$500 for a subsequent violation within two years.

There is no issuance of points for a violation of this law.

This law not only subjects motorists to fines, but also gives grounds for a Vermont police officer to initiate a stop based solely on their witnessing a motorist with a handheld device in their hands.  This “reasonable and articulable suspicion” required for a traffic stop as defined in the United Supreme Court case of Terry v. Ohio can subject motorists to a wide range of other potential charges, if a police officer finds sufficient evidence to support an expansion of the stop, a more extensive investigation including a potential search of the vehicle can arise, all as a result of using you handheld device while driving.

The bottom line, Vermont police now have another arrow in their quiver to stop motorists and charge them with traffic violations or crimes.  So when you cross  over the Vermont boarder, keep your hands off that mobile device, that text message or phone call is not worth the penalty.

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