Vt. considering banning texting while driving

Should you be allowed to text while driving? The Vermont legislature this week hopes to pass a ban on the practice, following the footsteps of 19 other states.

Certain states differentiate between texting and talking on phones, but currently it’s legal to speak and text on cellular phone in Vermont.

New York, Oregon, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Washington, the Virgin Islands and Washington DC have already all banned handheld cell phone use while driving.

A poll of Castleton State College students shows most support making texting while driving illegal. Out of 40 students, 32 said they favor the ban while only eight believe that it should be left alone.

“As long as you text at red lights and stop signs its OK,” says Cleavland Burwell. Other students, like Nick Minarik, believe that “there’s no way to enforce it,” but that the form of communication should be illegal when driving.

At the far end of the spectrum, Kyle Bonin says it’s a no-brainer.

“It’s worse than drunk driving,” he said.

Student Nick Bent and others agreed that the ban is a good idea, “but I’m not saying I don’t do it.”

Although legislation could come soon, the chancellor of the Vermont State College system is urging state schools to not wait for state legislation and immediately ban texting and hand-held cellular phone use for all people on college business or driving college vehicles .

In a system-wide e-mail last week, Chancellor Tim Donovan said it will likely be made a system-wide policy after the March 18 Board of Trustees meeting.

“Given the concern that the presidents and I have regarding this subject, I want to share the change with you in advance and ask that you adopt it now in practice even as it is not yet in policy,” Donovan wrote in the e-mail. “On a personal note, I would ask that you join me in adopting it in your personal driving as well.”

And if you’re curious whether such a law change will have a positive impact, one national agency that has studied the issue believes it will.

The National Safety Council reports that communicating on phones causes 28 percent of all traffic collisions in the country.

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