State handheld device ban to go into affect next month

VERMONT — Law enforcement agencies and interest groups like AARP Vermont are reminding drivers to get ready for a new law that will restrict use of cell phones and other handheld devices in vehicles traveling on Vermont roads. The new law will go into force Oct. 1.
It is already illegal for any driver to text while driving or to use a portable electronic or computing device in a work zone, and for drivers under age 18 to use a handheld device anywhere. At the beginning of next month that ban will be extended to all drivers everywhere in Vermont. Here’s what you need to know:
•  The ban applies to portable electronic devices including cellphones, PDAs, laptops or tablets and MP3 players, but not CB radios.
•  An officer can stop any driver with a device in hand.
•  Devices may be used if securely mounted in the vehicle, but not on the windshield, where it can be reached to activate or deactivate hands-free use through a speaker or Bluetooth device.
•  Phones may be used for necessary communication with emergency personnel.
•  Penalties range from $100 to $200 for a first violation and $250 to $500 for each additional violation within two years.

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