As of Tuesday, texting while driving is illegal in Vermont.
Vermont governor, Jim Douglas, signed the law allowing the ban on June 1st at Montpelier High School, making his state the 25th to have such legislation.
In addition to a ban on texting while behind the wheel, the new law also bars 16- and 17-year-old drivers from using cell phones or other electronic devices AT ALL, when they’re driving.
Governor Douglas said that texting causes a dramatic reduction in a driver’s reaction time, and that when someone is moving at 65 mph, a driver’s eyes are removed from the road for 500 feet per message.
Under the new measure, anyone caught reading or sending text messages while operating a motor vehicle will be slapped with a $100 fine for the first offense, and $250 for each subsequent offense within a two-year period.
Last week, the Kentucky state Senate passed a bill that would ban drivers in the Bluegrass State from sending text messages while driving. Specifically, the measure would prohibit drivers in Kentucky from writing, sending, or reading text messages when their vehicle is moving.
According to The Insurance Journal, the bill is written to become enforceable in stages. For the rest of this year, violators will merely receive a warning, but beginning in 2011, first time offenders would pay a fine of $25 plus court costs, while repeat offenses would earn people a $50 fine plus court costs.
The bill’s lead sponsor, Denise Harper Angel (D – Louisville) said the proposal would save lives by deterring reckless driving, while opponents of the measure questioned how it would be enforced by police officers.
The bill cleared the Senate with a 27-6 vote and has been sent to the House for their review and approval.