The VBPC urges you to phone or email your senators and Gov. Shumlin today.

Please express your strong support for reinstating language in legislative bill S.314 that will ban the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving.

This provision was supported by the House but cut from S.314 yesterday by the Senate. Although texting by motorists is currently banned in Vermont, it’s unenforceable because law enforcement officers can’t determine if someone is texting or doing something else with an electronic device.

The language was added to S.314 to cut down on distractions and help drivers pay more attention to the act of driving. Law enforcement officers will be in a better position to catch violators before harm is caused to vulnerable roadway users, including bicyclists and pedestrians.

The ban is supported by an overwhelming majority of Vermonters and by most legislators.

Gov. Shumlin is opposed to banning motorists from using hand-held devices.

As concerned bicyclists and pedestrians, let’s tell Gov. Shumlin that the safety of all Vt’s roadway users should come first.

When contacting your senators and the governor, please include a phrase such as "Ban hand-held electronics" in the subject line. Include your full name and town of residence. State why this is important to you in your own words. Be polite. Mention that you are a registered voter. Find your senators by going to http://www.leg.state.vt.us/legdir/FindMyMember.cfm.

Email the governor’s office at governorvt@state.vt.us.

Phone the governor’s office by calling 802-828-3333. See the relevant section (page 15) of S.314 at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/bills/Senate/S-314.pdf.

Thank you for taking this step to help eliminate needless injuries and deaths on Vermont’s roads.

Nancy Schulz is executive director for the Vt. Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition.