Bill introduced in Vermont could result in jail time for cellphone owners under 21

Bill introduced in Vermont could result in jail time for cellphone owners under 21
There are some things you cannot legally do in the U.S. until you are 21 years of age or older. You cannot insert a coin into a slot machine and pull the arm. By the same token, you cannot buy marijuana in a state where it is legal to buy weed unless you're 21. According to CNET, if a bill introduced in Vermont's legislature by state Senator John Rodgers (D) passes, you will have to be 21 to use or possess a cellphone in the state.

Pointing out how the use of cellphones by teens has lead to fatal car crashes and even bullying, Rodgers says that those under 21 "are not developmentally mature enough" to safely use a cellphone. The bill specifically states that "The use of cell phones while driving is one of the leading killers of teenagers in the United States. Young people frequently use cell phones to bully and threaten other young people, activities that have been linked to many suicides." The bill even links the use of cellphones to terrorism by stating, "The Internet and social media, accessed primarily through cell phones, are used to radicalize and recruit terrorists, fascists, and other extremists. Cell phones have often been used by mass shooters of younger ages for research on previous shootings."

The author of the bill says that even he wouldn't vote for it and it was introduced to prove a point

No state has a law requiring a cellphone user to be a certain age. However, to crack down on the number of fatalities caused by distracted drivers, 38 states do not allow a teenager to use a cellphone while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Rodgers admits that his bill won't pass and says that he wouldn't vote for it himself. The reason why he introduced the bill was just to make a point about gun rights. The state senator is a strong supporter of the second amendment and he says that the Vermont legislature "seems bent on taking away our Second Amendment rights." And based on the wording of his bill, a cellphone seems to be more dangerous than a gun. The state legislature recently hiked the minimum smoking age from 18 to 21 and in Vermont, you must be 21 to own a firearm.

The Times Argus reports that the politician's little stunt annoyed Michelle Fay, the executive director of Voices for Vermont's Children. The organization works to promote policies that enhance the lives of children in the state. Fay called the bill a reach pointing out that most calls handled by teen drivers are from their parents and that these parents rely on their kids' handsets to get in touch with them during the course of a day. She says banning cellphones for those under 21 doesn't make sense since children can access the internet from a computer. Noting that it already is against the law in the state to text and drive, Fay says that "for teenagers, people in their car is a bigger distraction than cellphones."

"There are so many critical issues impacting the lives of working families in Vermont today, from increasing minimum wage to implementing equitable family and medical leave insurance programs to establishing an office of child advocate," Fay said. "We urge the Legislature to focus on the important work at hand instead of getting tied up in hollow diversions."

The penalties mentioned in the bill call for a fine of $1,000 and as much as one year in prison for anyone under 21 years old caught with a cellphone in their possession. Under the proposed legislation, the act of illegally possessing a cellphone would be considered a misdemeanor.



1. Subie

Posts: 2442; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

So John Rogers is wasting valuable legislative time introducing a bill that he knows won't pass. More importantly is that he doesn't believe in it as he himself wouldn't vote for it. All to make a point on a separate topic... If I was a constituant in his riding, he just lost my vote.

12. mcdanielvzw

Posts: 54; Member since: Nov 10, 2016

How does spending 4 years to impeach someone vs actually hearing legislature affect you? Just curious. Out of many bills I've heard/read, this at least has a point.

19. Seatech21

Posts: 74; Member since: Jan 01, 2018

Cause all of the other politicians are sweet little angels who ALWAYS do the right thing are a sheep dude! He supports your right and mine to bear arms he’s got my vote! Let’s hope some drug induced maniac doesn’t break into your home you liberal and “oops” you don’t have protection and he slaughters you and your family! Good luck with that you communists!

20. Subie

Posts: 2442; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

I am not opposed to the right to bear arms nor am I a liberal. You are over reaching in what you think my post was about. What I am opposed to is elected politicians introducing bills that they don't even believe in. That's waste! You seem to have anger management issues based on the fact that you felt the need to attack me by name calling in two posts now. You didn't even try to engage me with civil discussion before flying off the handle. And because of that I have no desire to further converse with you in this thread. Cheers.

2. inFla

Posts: 216; Member since: Aug 17, 2018

Everyone in the Vermont Legislature that votes against it gets a new iPhone.

3. Rocket

Posts: 731; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Lets face it texting and driving is getting out of control in the country and the law makers needs to start doing their jobs. Banning everyone under 21 from cell phone use is stupid of course but as a user you need to known when is the best time to use your phone and using it while driving is not the best time, Peace!

10. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1603; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Law makers already made it illegal to text and drive in many states. I'm in Minnesota and it's illegal to touch my phone while driving, legally I'm expected to operate it hands free via voice commands and utilize bluetooth if I want to talk on the phone.

4. CDexterWard

Posts: 130; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

The point about under 21 year olds not being mature enough to handle cell phones does have some small amount of merit. But rather than try to draft some useful, thoughtful legislation that could maybe have a meaningful impact without flat out denying cell phones to kids, he dumps this garbage in the pipeline and wastes time and maybe taxpayer $$$ to “make a point.”

5. MsPooks

Posts: 308; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

"If it saves even one life, it's worth it!"

6. Magic84

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 06, 2019

Trump 2020

7. rouyal

Posts: 1598; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

I made this point while the Covington kids were going about on their gun ban tour. I haven't looked at statistics, but I'm sure young people texting and driving kill more than from a mass shooting. But they won't protest that.

16. Vancetastic

Posts: 1873; Member since: May 17, 2017

One doesn't make the other ok.

8. Immortal1

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 13, 2019

Do it

9. RoryBreaker

Posts: 296; Member since: Oct 11, 2015

The larger problem is that it is far too easy to get and keep a drivers license in America. There are really no serious driving skills taught here and that's what leads to more accidents and traffic than anything else. Biggest pet peeve is that nobody seems to know that the left lane on interstate traffic is for passing only. So stupid driving behind 3 cars in 3 lanes next to each other all driving the same speed...SMH

15. Vancetastic

Posts: 1873; Member since: May 17, 2017

This is possibly the dumbest thing I've ever read. Let's start arming grade schoolers. That'll show those bullies!

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless