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Introduced by Representatives Koch of Barre Town, Canfield of Fair Haven, Chen of Mendon, Donahue of Northfield, Errecart of Shelburne, Fallar of Tinmouth, Fisher of Lincoln, Frank of Underhill, Haas of Rochester, Kupersmith of S. Burlington, McFaun of Barre Town, Pillsbury of Brattleboro, Randall of Troy, Sweaney of Windsor and Turner of Milton

Referred to Committee on


Subject:  Motor vehicles; operation; distracted driving

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to prohibit those activities when operating a motor vehicle which constitute distracted driving.


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  23 V.S.A. § 1095a is added to read:


(a)  A person shall not operate a motor vehicle while distracted, as defined by this section.

(b)  “Distracted driving” means operating a motor vehicle while engaged in any activity involving the use of one or both of the driver’s hands if the activity is not necessary for the operation of the vehicle or any of its installed accessories, including reading, writing, performing personal grooming, smoking, consuming any food or nonalcoholic beverage, playing a musical instrument, interacting with pets or unsecured cargo, using personal communications technologies, except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, or engaging in any other activity which causes the operator to be distracted from the primary mission of driving.

(c)  The operator of a motor vehicle shall not use a cellular telephone while the vehicle is in motion on a highway, except to place an emergency 911 call.  This prohibition shall not apply to hands-free operation of the telephone.

(d)  It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of violating this section that the distracted driving was caused by reacting to a bona fide emergency.

(e)  The commissioner of the department of public safety shall adopt rules which implement the provisions of this section.

(f)  A person in violation of the provisions of this section shall be subject to a penalty of not less than $300.00 nor more than $600.00.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont