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August 8, 2017

VT Law Enforcement Joint Statement



August 8, 2017


Commissioner of Public Safety Thomas D. Anderson; Colonel Matthew Birmingham, Director of the Vermont State Police; Colchester Police Chief and President of the Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police Jen Morrison; Orange County Sheriff and President of the Vermont Sheriff’s Association Bill Bohnyak; and the Director of DMV’s Enforcement and Safety Division, Colonel Jake Elovita, issued the following statement regarding the recent fatal crashes on Vermont’s highways:


Over the past few days, there have been five motor vehicle crashes across Vermont resulting in eight fatalities.  Two of these crashes occurred on our interstates and three occurred on secondary roadways.  Each of these deaths is a tragedy for the victim’s families and for Vermont. 


While the cause of these crashes is still under investigation, we do know that seven of the eight people who died were not wearing seatbelts.  Statistically, a person wearing a seatbelt is 50% to 70% more likely to survive a crash than an unbelted person.  It’s simple:  Buckling up may save your and your loved one’s life.  It is the single most important thing you can do when getting into a car.  If you are the driver of a vehicle, insist on seat belts for all occupants. 


In addition to wearing seat belts, each driver in Vermont has a responsibility not to place others on the road at risk of death or serious bodily injury.  The greatest threats to highway safety continue to be drivers impaired by drugs and alcohol, drivers using their phones or other hand held devices, and drivers who speed.   Law enforcement can write more and more tickets and make more and more arrests but ultimately highway safety comes down to driver responsibility. 


Law enforcement cares deeply about the safety of our communities. Traffic safety and reducing injuries and fatal crashes on Vermont’s highways has been and will continue to be a top priority not only for the State Police but for all law enforcement in Vermont.   In the wake of these recent crashes, law enforcement in Vermont will be coordinating to increase police visibility on our highways.  We will also be exploring ways to increase our messaging on the importance of driver responsibility and safety.


Together, all Vermonters can do their part to make our highways safer and to prevent the types of tragedies we have seen over the past few days.  Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility.