Brandon police targeting drivers using cell phones

BRANDON —Brandon police set out to enforce the construction zone speed limit around the downtown Brandon culvert project last month, but they ended up ticketed even more drivers for using their cell phones than for speeding.
Brandon Police Chief Chris Brickell said that over four separate enforcement days in January, Brandon police issued 43 citations to drivers who were observed violating Vermont’s Hands Free Cell Phone Law.
“There would have been more,” Brickell said, “because when we had people stopped and were issuing tickets, we saw people driving by who were using their phones, but we couldn’t stop them.”
Vermont’s Hands Free Cell Phone Law went into effect in October 2014 and made it illegal for drivers to use their phones to make calls or text while driving unless they use Bluetooth or another form of hands-free technology. The phone must also be secured somewhere on the dashboard in order to be used.
“Most cars are equipped with Bluetooth options so you can use your phone hands free,” Brickell said. “We have had violators tell us they were looking for directions on their GPS, looking for the nearest daycare facility, even checking for the lowest gas prices … all while driving. Driving a motor vehicle is not a multitasking function. It requires your attention focused on the road, especially when you might meet someone else on the road who is texting and crossing into your lane.”
There is a minimum $100 fine for the first calling or texting offense, and two points on your license if it’s in a work zone. For a second offense within a two-year period, the fine jumps to $250 to $500, plus five points on your license if it’s in a construction zone.

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