Download this document in MS Word format
BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

AutoFill Template

S.133

Introduced by   Committee on Transportation

Date:

Subject:  Motor vehicles; junior operator’s license; learner’s permit; cellular telephones; hand-held electronic device

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to:

(1)  Require that a person applying for a junior operator's license operate with a learner's permit for at least six months.

(2)  Repeal the provision of the junior operator’s law which authorizes the commissioner of motor vehicles to recall a learner’s permit or junior operator’s license for 90 days following a single speeding violation resulting in a

three-point assessment, and provide that a recall take place when a total of five points have been accumulated.

(3)  Provide that a junior operator may not transport siblings and

stepbrothers and stepsisters during the first 30 days of operation, and that during the following 60 days, siblings and stepbrothers and stepsisters may be transported with written permission from a parent or guardian, and the signature has been witnessed.

(4)  Prohibit persons under the age of 18 who are operating a motor vehicle on a highway from using a hand-held electronic device.

(5)  Provide that primary enforcement of the safety belt law applies to persons under 18 years of age.

AN ACT RELATING TO THE OPERATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE BY JUNIOR OPERATORS AND PRIMARY SAFETY BELT ENFORCEMENT

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

Sec. 1.  23 V.S.A. § 607(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A junior operator's license may be issued initially only to persons who:

(1)  are 16 and 17 years of age;

(2)  have passed the driver examination required in subchapter 2 of this chapter and a driver education and training course approved by the commissioner of motor vehicles and the commissioner of education;

(3)  have:

(A)  possessed and operated with a learner's permit for not less than one year six months;

(B)  submitted on a form provided by the department of motor vehicles which is approved by the commissioner, and certified by the operator's licensed parent or guardian, licensed or certified driver education instructor, or licensed person at least 25 years of age that there has been:

(i)  at least 40 hours practice behind the wheel, at least 10 of which shall be nighttime driving; and that the operator was accompanied by their licensed parent or guardian, licensed or certified driver education instructor, or licensed person at least 25 years of age, riding beside the operator; and

(ii)  have maintained a driving record without a learner's permit suspension, revocation, or recall for six consecutive months prior to licensure.

Sec. 2.  23 V.S.A. § 607a(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A learner’s permit or junior operator’s license shall contain an admonition that it is recallable and that the later procurement of an operator’s license is conditional on the establishment of a record which is satisfactory to the commissioner and showing compliance with the motor vehicle laws of this and other states.  The commissioner may recall any license issued to a minor whenever he or she is satisfied, from information provided by a credible person and upon investigation, that the operator is mentally or physically unfit or, because of his or her habits or record as to accidents or convictions, is unsafe to be trusted with the operation of motor vehicles.  On recommendation of a diversion or reparative board, the commissioner may recall the learner’s permit or junior operator’s license of a person in a diversion or reparative program for up to 30 days.  The commissioner shall also recall any learner’s permit or junior operator’s license for 90 days following a single speeding violation resulting in a three-point assessment or when a total of six five points has been accumulated, or when an operator is convicted for a violation of section 678 of this title.  When a learner’s permit or junior operator’s license is so recalled, it shall be reinstated upon expiration of a specific term, and, if required by the commissioner, when the person has passed a reexamination approved by the commissioner.

Sec. 3.  23 V.S.A. § 614(a) is amended to read:

(a)  An operator’s license shall entitle the holder to operate a registered motor vehicle with the consent of the owner whether employed to do so or not.  A junior operator’s license shall entitle the holder to operate a registered motor vehicle, with the consent of the owner, but shall not entitle him or her to operate a motor vehicle in the course of his or her employment or for direct or indirect compensation for one year following issuance of the license.  A junior operator’s license shall not entitle the holder to carry passengers for hire.  During the first three months 30 days of operation, the holder of a junior operator’s license is restricted to driving alone, or with a licensed parent or guardian, licensed or certified driver education instructor or licensed person at least 25 years of age.  During the following three months 60 days, a junior operator may additionally transport family members brothers, sisters, stepbrothers, and stepsisters, provided that written permission signed by a parent or guardian, and witnessed, is present in the vehicle.  After 90 days, a junior operator may transport the above family members without permission.  No person operating with a junior operator’s license shall transport more passengers than there are safety belts unless he or she is operating a vehicle that has not been manufactured with a federally approved safety belt system.

Sec. 4.  23 V.S.A. § 614(c) is added to read:

(c)  A person under the age of 18 who is operating a motor vehicle shall not use any hand-held electronic device while the vehicle is in motion on a highway.

Sec. 5.  23 V.S.A. § 1258 is amended to read:

§ 1258.  CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEMS; PERSONS UNDER AGE 16 18

(a)  No person shall operate a motor vehicle, other than a type I school bus, in this state upon a public highway unless every occupant under age 16 18 is properly restrained in a federally-approved child passenger restraining system as defined in 49 C.F.R. § 571.213 (1993) or a federally-approved safety belt, as follows:

(1)  all children under the age of one, and all children weighing less than 20 pounds, regardless of age, shall be restrained in a rear-facing position, properly secured in a federally-approved child passenger restraining system, which shall not be installed in front of an active air bag;

(2)  a child weighing more than 20 pounds, and who is one year of age or older and under the age of eight years, shall be restrained in a child passenger restraining system; and

(3)  a child eight through 15 17 years of age shall be restrained in a safety belt system or a child passenger restraining system.

(b)  A person shall not be adjudicated in violation of this section if:

(1)  the motor vehicle is regularly used to transport passengers for hire except a motor vehicle owned or operated by a child care facility;

(2)  the motor vehicle was manufactured without safety belts; or

(3)  the person has been ordered by an enforcement officer, a firefighter, or an authorized civil authority to evacuate persons from a stricken area.

(c)  The penalty for violation of this section shall be as follows:

(1)  $25.00 for a first violation;

(2)  $50.00 for a second violation;

(3)  $100.00 for third and subsequent violations.

Sec. 6.  23 V.S.A. § 1259 is amended to read:

§ 1259.  SAFETY BELTS; PERSONS AGE 16 18 AND OVER

(a)  The operator of a motor vehicle shall be guilty of a violation of this section if any person required to be restrained under this section 18 years of age and older is occupying a seating position which has been manufactured with a federally-approved safety belt system and is not restrained by the safety belt system while the motor vehicle is in motion on a public highway.

(b)  A person is required to be restrained in a safety belt system unless:

(1)  the person is a rural mail carrier of the United States Postal Service operating a motor vehicle in the performance of employment;

(2)  the person is a driver or passenger frequently stopping and leaving the motor vehicle or delivering property from the motor vehicle, if the speed of the motor vehicle between stops does not exceed 15 miles per hour;

(3)  the person is the operator of any farm tractor;

(4)  the person is a member of the emergency personnel of an emergency motor vehicle and finds it necessary to be unrestrained in order to perform his or her duties;

(5)  the motor vehicle the person is occupying is a bus or taxi;

(6)  the person is required to be restrained under section 1258 of this title; or

(7)  the person has been ordered by an enforcement officer, a firefighter, or an authorized civil authority to evacuate persons from a stricken area.

(c)  Noncompliance with the provisions of this section shall not be admissible as evidence in any civil proceeding.

(d)  Failure to wear a safety belt in violation of this section shall not constitute negligence or contributory negligence in any civil proceeding or criminal action, nor be entered as evidence to bar prosecution of a criminal offense.

(e)  This section may be enforced only if a law enforcement officer has detained the operator of a motor vehicle for a suspected violation of another traffic offense.  An operator shall not be subject to the penalty established in this section unless the operator is required to pay a penalty for the primary offense.

(f)  The penalty for violation of this section shall be as follows:

(1)  $25.00 for a first violation;

(2)  $50.00 for a second violation;

(3)  $100.00 for third and subsequent violations.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us