MONTPELIER – Travelers entering the state of Vermont will no longer be able to retain their mobile devices thanks to a new law passed this week by legislators encouraged by the success of the previous ban on using electronic devices while driving. Under the old law, which saw a complete end to the practice of using cell phones while in a motor vehicle, Vermont residents were prohibited from even glancing at a screen, even at red lights or while parked. Now, the ban has gone a step further.
Cubbyholes currently line the border as drivers pull over and place their phones and other devices in the secure, open, wooden grids. Anyone leaving a device while entering the state will be able to retrieve their items on the way back out, provided they exit the state by the same road.
“This is not so very different from what a lot of places do,” said Representative Lou Dyte of Swanson. “Many venues have a no phone policy, and people seem to go along with it. We just think, as a state, this is going to actually be better for our residents.”
Multiple studies have shown the damage that can be done by over-reliance on electronic devices, both socially and cognitively, and the consequences are worse for children and teens.
“I expect people will be upset at first,” Dyte admitted, “but in the long run I think we’re going to have a happier, healthier population. And it’s a huge weight off of the state itself, now that we don’t have to try to figure out how to provide cell service to most of Vermont.”
The Winooski is unsure how Vermonters are reacting to the news, because we normally get our news on our phone, which has now been confiscated.