MONTPELIER – As the house begins to prepare bills for the 2019 legislative session, some Vermont reps are discussing a new bill that would remove much of the scenery visible from state highways. The move comes after several accidents caused by, what the drivers have described as, “beautiful views.” According to Vermont State Police, over a dozen traffic incidents over the past few months have been attributed to the natural wonder of the state’s distracting landscape.
Recent studies have suggested that staring sideways out of the car at snowy mountains and autumn foliage while driving is just as dangerous as texting. “We’re seeing a real increase in the number of accidents due to scenery,” says VT State Trooper Pat Downs. “Ever since we banned electronic devices, people have been looking out the windows more, and they like what they see. They like it a little more than the road I guess. We’re recommending the removal or blockage of all pleasing views along the interstates, as well as other major highways.”
Drivers continue to look out of their windows despite continued warnings from law enforcement, but officers say they are not surprised, as drivers continue to use phones while driving, even with new laws prohibiting this behavior.
“The worst is when they combine the two activities,” says Downs. “When drivers are using their phones to take selfies of the scenery going 80 mph, it can be very dangerous.”
Vermont drivers, when surveyed, all agreed that the behavior was very risky for other drivers, but that they individually knew what they were doing and felt very safe photographing landscapes while speeding.
Image Credits: Doug Kerr.