VTrans Portable Message Boards Are UP…Are Our Cell Phones DOWN?

Woodstock Early Bird drove the length of Route 4 from White River Junction to Woodstock this morning and we can report that, already, as promised by the Governor yesterday, along the Hartford portion of Route 4 through Quechee there are now at least four new portable message boards placed by VTrans that say things like:


Memorial Patience

The makeshift roadside memorial for Patience Hutt is on a curve where she died in Rt. 4 car crash.

We also saw at least two Vermont State Trooper vehicles along the length of the highway, including one posted in an “unmarked” vehicle at the intersection of Route 4 and Quechee Main Street (near the Fat Hat Factory intersection).  Hartford Police say they have made a commitment, with help from Vermont State Police, to more strictly enforce traffic laws along the Route 4 corridor.

Speaking of which, concerning our own responsibility to keep roads safe, for those of you who don’t know, Vermont already has a no cell phone texting law on its books:

Title 23: Motor Vehicles


23 V.S.A. § 1099. Texting prohibited

§ 1099. Texting prohibited

(a) As used in this section, “texting” means the reading or the manual composing or sending of electronic communications, including text messages, instant messages, or e-mails, using a portable electronic device as defined in subdivision 4(82) of this title, but shall not be construed to include use of a global positioning or navigation system.

(b) A person shall not engage in texting while operating a moving motor vehicle on a highway.

(c) A person who violates this section commits a traffic violation as defined in section 2302 of this title and shall be subject to a penalty of $100.00 upon adjudication of a first violation and $250.00 upon adjudication of a second or subsequent violation within any two-year period. (Added 2009, No. 150 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 1, 2010.)

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alison on June 8, 2013 at 10:16

    I do not see the issue of speed as the factor in these accidents, as much as I see the issue of inattentive drivers. We drive Route 4 everyday and the cars that we meet are on the yellow, double line or over. The vibration of the rumble strips would certainly get the attention of drivers that feel they own their side and mine.


  2. Posted by William Boardman on June 8, 2013 at 14:44

    Even though this statute doesn’t prohibit reading a book, magazine, or newspaper — or, arguably, even a kindle — it’s still not a real good idea, and may be covered in some other statute, though I wouldn’t know which one.

    Maps are even trickier….


  3. Posted by Janice on June 8, 2013 at 15:21

    I wonder how effective those signs will be, really. Rumble strips and actually fixing the road will help much more, but ultimately, driver inattention and excess speed are likely the real culprits. I don’t think nagging people about speeding has worked up till now. Giving them (especially drivers passing through, not familiar with area) the hard facts of how dangerous Route 4 is, might work better. Why not use those V-Trans signs (or yellow metal warning signs) to notify people of how many accidents or fatalities have happened on that stretch of road so far? Warning: Dangerous Road: (Number) Fatalities in the Past Year, something like that; posted near the exit ramps in Quechee, and at other key locations along the stretch to Rutland. V Trans could also create a small pamphlet or flyer as a handout at the Visitors’ Center in Quechee. Just a thought…


    • Totally agree! Post some fatality facts…speed warnings are far too commonplace.


      • Posted by Toni Richie on June 9, 2013 at 08:06

        Yeah! Put up a MacDonald’s-like sign that says “Since 1980, _#_ people have been killed or severely injured while traveling this road”, and then change the number as appropriate. Or perhaps a BurmaShave-type series of signs.


      • Posted by Don on June 9, 2013 at 14:26

        As I was on my way to quechee this afternoon I came across two bicyclist on 4 when I returned they were still peddling west forcing traffic in to the other lane When is this going to stop??After one of them gets hit???


  4. Posted by Bob Pear on June 8, 2013 at 17:43

    Bill, This statute may be the one that applies to those readers behind the wheel you refer to. I guess it would be up to the officer to determine what constitutes negligence:

    23 V.S.A. § 1091. Negligent operation; grossly negligent operation

    § 1091. Negligent operation; grossly negligent operation

    (a) Negligent operation.

    (1) A person who operates a motor vehicle on a public highway in a negligent manner shall be guilty of negligent operation.

    (2) The standard for a conviction for negligent operation in violation of this subsection shall be ordinary negligence, examining whether the person breached a duty to exercise ordinary care.

    (3) A person who violates this subsection shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both. If the person has been previously convicted of a violation of this subsection, the person shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $3,000.00, or both.


  5. Posted by Sheryl Trainor on June 8, 2013 at 20:42

    Where were the police last night when I was behind some MA*&^% who was constantly drifting over the center line from White River Jct to at least Quechee, when I turned off on Waterman Hill Rd?


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