Did Phil Scott break the law this morning, or just bend it?

The official Phil Scott Twitter account sent this out today.

That’s some dedication there, being out on a chilly October morning, waving the signs just a few feet away from interstate freeway traffic…

… hm.

In many places, it’s illegal for candidates to stand that close to the freeway. Looks like Phil’s most enthusiastic companion is only a few feet from the right of way, and the candidate himself is about ten feet off the pavement.

But is it illegal for Team Scott to be standing in that particular location? Unclear.

Many states prohibit pedestrian traffic on freeways. (And, although the Scott brigade is technically adjacent to the exit ramp, they’re right at the bottom of it. The freeway travel lanes are very close by.) Hitchhikers are generally prohibited from getting any closer than the very top of an onramp.

There is no federal statute covering the question. It’s left to the states. And within each state, the law can vary by location: it can be okay in some areas and not in others. You have to watch for the oft-ignored signs as you enter or exit the freeway. (There’s one in the background of the Team Scott photo, but it can’t be read.)

So I can’t say for sure it’s illegal. I can assert that it’s unwise and potentially dangerous, not only for the pedestrians but for drivers potentially distracted by a bunch of sign-wavers including one of the state’s best-known politicians.

You’d think a race car driver might be a little more aware of highway safety. I guess when you’re in the final days of a close campaign, it’s tough to pass up the visibility of a perch along I-89 during rush hour.

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12 thoughts on “Did Phil Scott break the law this morning, or just bend it?

  1. James Mason

    My understanding is that short section of road (which abuts the Jolley station) is still considered State Highway, and they would be within the public right-of-way where they are pictured.

    The actual interstate on-ramp starts about 15-20 feet behind them. It’s a bit of a dangerous intersection, but no worse than the politicians that stand across the street from the foot of 189 in South Burlington.

    Reply
  2. Thump McDougal

    Walters, people read your blog to see entertaining stupidity.

    This Phil Scott hobby horse you’re riding fills the bill for stupidity, but it’s boring.

    Reply
  3. g2-4defad001ff5faec21d31d0bd81192f6

    Well, either he did or didn’t commit a violation, but at least he hasn’t stated an intent to attack the Vermont Constitution, as Sue Minter has – and yes, be fore you say “but she hasn’t!” she has. I’ll also pass on industrial wind and the carbon tax. As for this attack by you, it’s clumsy, fumbling chickenshit. You can do better.

    Reply
  4. Jimmy Fordham

    Guess you know who the Phil (milquetoast) Scott supporters are! LOL! Must be upset that the newspapers are endorsing Sue Minter. Guess they’re sweating the election. Not so much as a shoo-in as they thought huh?

    Reply
  5. BP

    Or,suppose just for the sake of argument what the reaction would be if this group-same number of people standing in the same spot, but with different signs-say they were signs against a gas pipeline or BLM,against police brutality.

    Reply
  6. walter carpenter

    “Or just a hitchhiker standing in that same spot.”

    As a hitchhiker for many years, in many states that is technically on the highway and, if you were not a gubernatorial candidate, you’d be inside a police cruiser as soon as one got there. Vermont used to be the same way. I am not sure now. As for laying in the middle of an interstate highway for Phil, be careful as he would be the one to run you over.

    Reply

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